Targeting spawning speckled trout
Speckled trout will be feeding over oyster shell beds and artificial inshore reefs in the next few weeks.
The next month is prime time to catch a limit of nice speckled trout in Alabama’s fertile coastal waters.
Speckled trout will spawn several times during the year, but the first full moon in May is probably the best time to catch big trout. The next full moon is May 10, so make sure all your gear is ready to go to take advantage of this trout bonanza.
A week ago, the trout were segregated into male and female groups. If you happened upon a group of males, you had to catch several trout to catch a legal 14-incher because the males are smaller. If you were lucky enough to find a group of females, there was very little measuring required.
The trout have moved out of their early spring haunts in deeper water and are heading for the shallows to feed up and get ready to spawn. The trout spawn is similar to the bass spawn in that both feed heavily before and after spawning. The fish use a great deal of energy during the spawning process and are ready to replenish their reserves after the spawn is complete.
The hungry trout will be hanging out on the oyster shell beds and inshore artificial reefs. Also, look for bird activity. The birds will likely be diving on bait that the trout have pushed to the surface. Toss a ¼-ounce jighead with a plastic lure under the birds and get ready to set the hook.
The great thing about catching trout this time of year is you don’t have to use live bait. Finfish imitation plastic lures on jigheads work like a champ. And if you’re fishing in lower light conditions, toss that top-water lure for a while and see if you can get the fish to hit on the surface. One tip about top-water fishing for trout is that specks have terrible aim when it comes to blasting a top-water lure. It may take three or four swipes before the fish actually nails the lure. So be patient. If the trout misses it, toss it right back into the same area.
Most of the time I’ll stick with 10-pound to 12-pound test line for trout. Fluorocarbon lines have made significant advances in flexibility in recent years, and I usually choose it over monofilament. I’ll usually use a fairly short leader of 20-pound fluorocarbon line to handle contact with oyster shells and barnacles. I stick with medium-action rods for trout to get the feel and hookset needed.
I know this will be hard to do, but if you’re lucky enough to hook a big trout, don’t get in a hurry. Speckled trout don’t have tough mouths like redfish, so don’t try to horse the fish to the boat. Make sure your drag is set correctly and take your time.
When you scoop that big fish into the net, then you can get excited. And the next few weeks provide the best opportunity for that kind of adrenalin-filled action.