N. CAROLINA: Big Speckled Trout around Wrightsville Beach

It’s funny we had one of the coldest winters and this summer was the hottest on record. Not the best conditions known for good Speckled trout stocks but Speckled trout fishing has been great and should continue to be great till water gets cold. The last three weeks has been a rollercoaster of weather and the fishing has followed that rollercoaster too. Most days the Speckled trout fishing has been good to great with some bigger fish really starting to show.

The days we are throwing artificial lures like grubs and hard baits. The MirrOlure has been one of my (go too’s) this season and it has paid off well for me. The bigger trout seem to really like to 52M and 52MR this season. The colors of the 52 series that are working the best for me is: 11, 26, 51, 704, 808, CFPR, CH and HP. I fish the 52 series in water deaths of four to ten feet and sometimes deeper if there are lighter water currents. The days we are fishing in waters of two to five foot deep, I’ve had luck with the 17MR and Catch 2000jr. The colors that are working in the 17MR and Catch 2000jr are 11, 26, 808, CFPR, CH, EC and BCH.

I’ve seen a lot of trout hit grubs this season but most of the Specks have been smaller, so what do you do when you want to cast grubs. Try bigger grubs like the Gulp Ripple Mullet or a five and six inch Gulp Jerkshad. Another trick I’ll try sometimes to make bigger trout bite is make a double grub rig. When you work a double grub rig, you need to work it a bit faster so the grubs just don’t sink to the bottom. And always with any Speckled trout leaders use Fluorocarbon leader, trout have very good eye sight and this time of year the water can be very clear. I prefer Stren’s tinted Fluorocarbon leader in twenty pound in gunsmoke tint, this stuff works!

So you like instant gratification fishing, give live shrimp a try. I rig live shrimp a two different ways; in shallow water two to six feet I use a float rig. My float rigs consist of twenty pound Stren (gunsmoke tint) or Berkley Vanish fluorocarbon about twelve inches long and a number six treble hook for a live shrimp. When I fish deeper waters (five foot plus) or with stronger currents I use a light carolina rig. These rigs consist of a very small swivel, fourteen to twenty inches of fluorocarbon and a number one L42 Eagle claw hook. The sinker for this rig needs to be light 1/16oz or 1/8oz split shot and 1/8oz or 1/4oz egg sinkers should do the trick.

I’ve started to see some large schools of Redfish getting there act together over the last few weeks. The Reds are starting to show there winter trends and this can make for some very good Redfishing. When I fish for winter Redfish I use lots of Berkley Gulp! You can’t go wrong with scented lures when the water gets cold. Berkley Gulp Ripple Shad, 3″ Shrimp and five inch Jerkshad should do the trick. I rig all these baits with fairly light jig heads so the baits will not just sink to the bottom.

Seeing large schools of winter Reds is not hard but scaring a school is also easy to do. Here are few things that will help you catch more schooling Reds and help you not to make everyone around you mad at you! Long distance casting will catch you more fish! Try a 7’6″ spinning or casting rod but don’t go to heavy. If the lures are too heavy, the noise they make hitting the water can spoke the Reds. One thing I see a lot of anglers do is run there boat over the school, do all you can to not let this happen. If your boat is drifting towards the school, move before you spoke or run over the school! If you spoke the school you’re only going to hurt the fishing for you and the other anglers. If the school leaves your all out of luck!

In other fishing news; it’s boat show and fishing seminar season. Here is some of the shows I plan to speck at or appear at.

January 7th, 8th & 9th, 2011
– Raleigh Bass & Saltwater Fishing Expo NC State Fairgrounds – Raleigh, NC. www.ncboatshows.com This is a GREAT show, with over 160 booths offering everything from the latest lures, plastics, jigs, custom rods, apparel, knives, product sample booths, hard-tops, saltwater fishing guides, fresh water guides, cast nets, gaffs…..by far one of the best shows of its kind in the Carolina’s and Virginia. I will be there along with other Ranger and Pure Fishing pro staff members, as well as many others fresh and salt water pros! I’ll be there all three days and doing two different seminars on fishing MirrOlure’s and near shore light tackle King Mackerel Fishing.

January 29th 2011
– Saltwater Sportsman National Seminar Series. BRUNSWICK COMMUNITY COLLEGE-Odell Williamson Auditorium. www.nationalseminarseries.com I’ll be there with Penn Fishing tackle showing all the new Rods and Reels from Penn.

February 4th, 5th and 6th, 2011
– Raleigh Convention Center Boat Show – Raleigh, NC. www.raleighconvention.com/boatshow/ This is a great show with lots of the “top of the line” boats form around the world. I’ll be there with other Ranger Pro’s to show you all the great benefits to the Ranger Saltwater line of boats.

February 19th, 2010
– Cape Fear Christian Sportsman Fish Fest. www.capefearsportsmen.org/fishfest I don’t know what topics I’ll be speaking on yet, but as soon as I know I’ll let you know! For more info on the day, check out this link!

Fishing gear I use:
Speckled trout and Redfish: reels Penn Conquer 2000 and Battle 2000 spinning reels. *New Rod Line I’m using: Fenwick HMG series in sizes GS 70ML-F for Trout and GS 70M-MF for Redfish. Locally Intercoastal Angler carries the Fenwick line Line: Spiderwire Ultracast ten and fifth teen pound. Fluorocarbon leader material, Stren Tinted Fluorocarbon in tints Gunsmoke for clearer waters and Tannic for river or stained waters in twenty pound test.

Captain Jot Owens
Penn Reels Elite Staff

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