Speckled Trout Are Late to the Party

Part of the What's Biting Series


“This has been the funniest year ever for spring trout fishing,” said Captain Lee Robinson. It may be a funny year, but I have yet to find a trout fisherman laughing at their tardiness.

inshore fishing Orange Beach Al

How late are they?

Let's just say if the speckled trout were in charge of the Mullet Toss this year, it would have taken place over Memorial Day weekend. Local guides and fisherman feel the trout are about 30 days late to their springtime locations.

Robinson has been steadily catching fish along the Intracoastal Waterway between The Wharf and LuLu's. "That is a great wintertime location, but we are still catching fish there. Usually by this time, the fish have moved on from there." But there are signs of improved speckled trout punctuality. Marty Kennedy, who was visiting from Daphne, caught a nice box of trout in Old River last Friday. Reports of speckled trout being caught are starting to come from the Gulf State Park Pier, Innerarity Point, Perdido Bay, and Wolf Bay.

Soon the action will heat up in our all of our local bays, inshore reefs, and along the beach. Speckled trout is without a doubt Alabama's most popular game fish, and the many different ways you can catch them is a huge part of their appeal.

While Robinson and Kennedy both enjoyed success on their recent trout trips, they each used different methods to catch their fish. Robinson concentrated on using live bait for his clients while Kennedy chose to throw lures. "There is nothing that beats live shrimp for trout. Just like most of us, it is a delicacy for them," said Robinson.

"I have been free lining the shrimp with a small split shot on a kale hook." Kale hooks are great for live bait. The wide hook gap and a simple technique of just reeling the line tight when you feel a strike almost always results in the fish being hooked in the corner of the mouth. That hook placement makes it much easier for the angler to unhook the fish (as opposed to a treble hook) and results in a healthier fish if released. Using live bait will almost always catch more fish than using artificial baits.

man fishing on the beach in Gulf Shores Al

But many anglers, such as Kennedy, are more interested in fooling the fish, as opposed to feeding them. "It's just a preference on how to catch fish. I like to throw small hard baits and move them very quickly, which allows me to cover a lot of water in a short amount of time.” By experimenting with various retrieval speeds, the trout will tell you how fast or slow they prefer the lure to be worked.

While the baits may have been different, both anglers were looking for the same underwater drop offs. As ambush feeders, trout love to hang in deep water and attack their prey as it arrives in the more shallow water. Use the current to help position the live bait, so it drifts from the deep water into the shallow areas.

The same goes for the lure: throw it into the deeper water and work it toward the shallow. The trout may be a little late, but we are now heading into a great time of the year to catch them in our area.

As always if you have questions on using live bait or which artificial lure to use, visit one of our local tackle shops, and they can provide you with great suggestions. Of course, our local guides are very proficient at catching trout on both live and artificial baits. There is nothing wrong with letting your captain know prior to your trip if you prefer one method over the other.

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Jim Cox
Jim Cox (1324 Posts)
Jim Cox is an avid inshore, offshore, and big game fisherman. He has twice qualified for the prestigious IGFA Offshore Championships in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. He is the past president of the Mobile…