let’s face it, pound for pound Speckled Trout have one of the most violent head shakes out there. It takes good gear, a quick hook set, and the right bait to get these guys in the boat. Let’s talk about bait and lures. Shrimp and fin-fish are they’re main diet. So unless you’re fishing live bait you’ve got to be good enough or lucky enough to pull an adult trout off his natural food source. I normally fish artificial baits. Soft plastics on a Jig head are my weapons of choice. I try to match the hatch depending on what the fish are feeding on. For instance, the Matrix Shad Shrimp creole is an excellent choice mid to late summer when shrimp are plentiful. late winter to early spring I’m casting a green hornet or Avocado. As fall approaches I’ll swap over to a MirrOlure. However, If you’re just getting started nothing beats live shrimp or live croaker under a popping cork.
Time of year has a lot to do with my approach and tactic of the day. In the fall I’m going to be casting a MirrOlure most of the time when fishing on or near structure. The 17mr is my first choice. Most likely black back, white belly with an orange chin. The 17 is designed to run just under the surface. A slow retrieve with a slight pause an twitch routine usually gets it done for me. I find 90 percent of the time the strike come just after the twitch. A soft plastic also works great in the fall. The Matrix Shad Spartacus Vortex is a great bait for Reds along the grass lines. From my Kayak I’ll cruise the skinny water looking for tails and movement near pockets and points. Once I spot those tale-tale signs I’ll cast past him and slowly work it in to the strike zone. The Red strike is strong and hard. You need to use good tackle when going after Redfish. I use the DCT Barrier Island jig head with the wide gap 2/0 hook. This set up will land any big red you’re likely to run across.
In cold weather, Speckled Trout will be spending their time in the deep holes and bends along the rivers and bayous. In this situation trolling with a Vudo shrimp or Shrimp Creole Matrix Shad can be very effective. Also slowly working the points, ledges and drop off’s with a soft plastic should produce a strike. As the sun rises in the morning and Trout move to the shallows they will be hungry. In this situation it may take a slow bump bump and retrieve to entice the strike. I’ll vary my retrieve from slow to slower with pauses and twitches till I dial em in. As a rule I fish dark colors on dark days and murky water. I fish the light and bright colors on sunny days and in clear water. The Husky Jerk by Rapala is a great lure cold weather Trout. Find the deep water and you should be able to find the fish.
I haven’t mentioned Top Water baits yet. I love to fish top water baits. My favorite top water lure is the Rapala Skitter Walk black back with chrome sides. if you’re just getting started fishing top water baits remember this. Do not set the hook on the blow up. I know, it sounds funny. I can hear you asking me right now. Wild Bill, are you telling me not to set the hook when a trophy gator trout hits my top water lure? That’s exactly what I’m telling you. It’s the hardest thing to do. You’re seeing the swell of water heading right toward your bait and bam he hits it hard. With all the restraint you have you’ve got to freeze your hands right there. To be a successful top water fisherman you’ve got to wait till you feel the tug after the hit. Do this and you will be a great top water fisherman.
Spring time is my favorite time to be in the water. That’s right I said in the water. I start Wade fishing in March. As it warms up the fishing gets progressively better. During the month of May, Wade fishing is fantastic. The third week of last May was off the chain for me and my fishing buddies. Three out of five days we had a double limit by 9 AM. The bait of choice was the Matrix Shad Avocado and Green Hornet on a 1/4 oz DCT Barrier Island Jig head. By this time of the year the Trout have moved back out front and they are feeding up for the spawn. Early morning Wade fishing is fantastic.
Once June hits the water is warm and the predator fish move in. I don’t Wade much during the heat of summer but when I do it’s in shallow water. Two years ago I had a four foot bull shark come up within Rod length twice in two minutes. I decide to let him have that spot and called it a day. I still wade fish in the summer but closer to shorelines. I’ve found the trout will hangout in the gullies between sand bars. Look for sand bars running parallel to the shoreline and fish the gullies, you might just find a hook up. Fishing a Vudo shrimp about 18″ under a popping cork is a great way to get started in the morning. Fish are usually more aggressive right at day break.
WHERE I FISH
A common question I receive is where do you fish and what in the heck made you decide to fish that spot? Guess it’s a two part question. Some of my favorite spots date from way back and have always held fish. Others are new areas that I’ve always wanted to fish but just didn’t know how to approach Them. When I’m looking at a new area I’ll use technology like Google Earth and scan the area for points, holes, drop-offs, grass lines and natural tidal flows. Once I get on the water I’m looking for bait or fish activity. Speckled Trout don’t always strike the top of the water or bust bait like more aggressive game fish, but if the baits not there then I’m moving on. Structure is another very important part of the equation. old piers, concrete, oyster reefs and bridges will always hold fish. I look for the down current side and fish it first if possible. Timing is everything to me. I like to be fishing before the sunrises. I also like to fish a falling tide. That’s not always possible and sometimes you just have to give it a chance and see what happens.
WHAT I FISH IN
Our main Vessel is a USCG inspected 2015 Glasstream 24 foot center console light Offshore boat. Because of the Step-Hull design it’s one of the smoothest and driest rides on the water. Powered by a Suzuki 200 HP four stroke engine. I also use a Nucanoe Frontier Kayak that I’ve modified to fish the way I like to fish. With the kayak I can get skinny in a very stealthy way. In the Center Console I can hit the islands and near-shore reefs very quickly.
Simrad Go7 GOS, Fish Finder and Down Scan
Minn Kota 24 Volt Rip Tide I-Pilot Trolling Motor
Stereo Sound System
CobraVHF Radio, Ritchie Compass
Live Well and Insulated Fish Box
Dry Storage, Padded Seating and Porta-Potty
70 Gallon Fuel Capacity
All Required USCG Safety Equipment
WHAT I FISH FOR
Some of the Favorite Fish I Catch
Speckled Trout are found in grassy flats, bayous, and bays all over the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Catch Of The Day
Fall and Spring are great times to be charter fishing the reefs & barrier islands along the Mississippi Coast.
Fishing for Bull Reds on light tackle is some of the most exciting the Mississippi Gulf Coast has to offer.