Speckled trout action continues in nice weather

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By Capt. Jacob Frick

The weather could not have been more beautiful this past weekend. The winds were calm with air temperatures holding right around 70 degrees. It is kind of crazy to think it was snowing earlier in the week.
Looking at the 10-day onshore forecast, it looks as if we will be facing a wild roller coaster with the air temperatures. We are going to see some really warm days and then some really cold nights. The good news is the water temperatures should stay pretty steady in the mid-50s, which is great for speckled trout fishing. The unstable weather pattern may throw the bite off a bit, but fish should be more than willing to eat on most days. The weekend bite was pretty much what one can expect for this time of year.
The speckled trout were biting just about anything you threw at them. We began in the shallow creeks surrounding the Sunset Beach area Saturday, Nov. 16, using soft plastics and trying to locate a hungry school of speckled trout. Ross Furr, Cody Smith and Tony Smith have fished with me in the past and were familiar with my style of fishing. I had not lowered the trolling motor before Ross had a catch. Fish on!
We caught several speckled trout in that area, putting 11 keepers in the box. Our plan was eventually to head to the Little River, S.C., jetties to fish for some bigger trout. We found a school of redfish that were larger than the South Carolina slot, so we decided to stay in North Carolina waters. We fished several areas around Sunset Beach, Ocean Isle Beach and the Shallotte River that all produced fish. The best action was in the morning around the Sunset Beach area. The other areas produced lots of smaller fish with only a few fish making the keeper mark.
The technique we were using is almost like bass fishing. We were using light 1/8th-ounce jig heads paired with 4-inch Sea Shads by Bass Assassin. The colors that were working for us best on this trip were electric chicken and limetreuse ghost. Using the trolling motor to control our drift, we cast the light jigs perpendicular to the current as close to the grass as possible. The idea is to keep the line straight as possible, letting the lure tumble slowly across the bottom and jigging it with a one-two pausing motion. This method has proved itself year after year to be deadly on the speckled trout and redfish. I enjoy feeling the thump when a fish strikes, making this the method for me.
We did cheat a few times with live shrimp, but again I try my best to avoid using a float. Using a float takes the feel of the strike out of it. We simply put the live shrimp on the jig head, letting it tumble across the bottom until we felt the thump. This technique worked well, bringing all four inshore species to the boat: black drum, redfish, flounder and trout.
I had several outfits rigged with floats on the boat but we never had to use one of them this past weekend. The float rig is my last resort to put fish in the boat. There is no doubt that it works and it works great at the Little River jetties. If I were looking for a big one, that is where I would go: Little River jetties and float live shrimp down the rocks. However, if you are looking to stay on the move and love the thrill of the strike, try fishing soft plastics more often. If you really want to feel an aggressive strike, try fishing with a MirrOlure lure more often. Sometimes you will not get as many bites, but they will hit it like a freight train.
As always, the Ocean Isle Fishing Center carries the best lures that work in our area. The staff is very knowledgeable and willing to share information to get you pointed in the right direction. See ya on the water.
Capt. Jacob Frick, who has 10 years of knowledge and experience in guiding family, friends and clients in the backwater surrounding Ocean Isle Beach, is a fishing columnist for the Beacon. Call him at (803) 315-3310 or email jacob@oifc.com for additional information or questions about his columns.