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Sea run Speckled Trout and Grey Trout Fishing Inshore Waters is discussed including links to where to go, baits and rigs, and other information on Flounder Fisheries.

Sea run Speckled Trout and Grey Trout Fishing: baits and rigs, and other info

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Sea Trout (Trout) can be caught on North Carolina's coast from early March, or earlier, to November, and later. November is perhaps the best speckled trout month inshore.

Sea Trout include two types: Speckled Trout and Gray Trout (Weakfish). Each type should be fished differently for best productivity. Also, game laws will be different for each type so please check with the "NC Recreational Coastal Waters Guide" to insure you have the right rules before you fish. Year 2005 has been a disappointment for many with others doing better. There is much hope for 2006.

Speckled Trout
Cynoscion nebulosus
NC State Record: 12 lbs. 4 oz. 1962
Citation Size: 4 lbs.

Specked trout, shown here, school and are easy to catch once located. Anglers often cast hours without a bite and then catch 20 an hour until they leave. Trout rove constantly but often congregate in favored holes. Favored trout holes will often be found where bait fish can be easily corralled without escape. False creek mouth are prime as is the mouth to sloughs. A deep hole between two shallower sections may be great. Deeper water will supply more oxygen and cooler water in addition to a place to school bait fish in warmer weather. Another good bet is the mouth of a small creek. All else being equal  look for saltier water if fishing in the sounds near a river. If there has been a lot of rain then the fish may hold is saltier areas away from the main river channels and other big flows. Sea trout and weakfish are sensitive, but not as sensitive, to tides and current as are some other recreational fish.


Gray Trout, Weakfish
Cynoscion regalis
NC State Record: 14 lbs. 14 oz. 1980
Citation Size: 6 lbs.

Weakfish, shown here, are less common in NC due to their natural range. Weakfish school but often do not congregate as significantly as do speckled trout. Weakfish are fished much like speckled trout except they like deeper waters and cooler waters. Both types of trout have delicate mouths. Weakfish actually derive their name from the weakness they show around the mouth area.

Trout tackle usually weigh from 1/4 ounce to 1/2 ounce. Light salt rods and surf rods will do and most freshwater rods work nicely. The most common line is probably 6 pound mono although I see a definite trend toward 10 pound fireline or similar. Sea trout have very good eye sight and the smaller lines, especially brown and water camo, help catch more fish. Use of less hardware items, swivels and the such, will also help catch more fish trout. An overly stiff rod may cause fish loss because of line size but very often due to trout's tender mouth.

Three popular baits:

Perhaps most common will be grubs on 1/4 to 1/2 Oz. jig heads in various colors. Weight will depend on the current. Jig bodies come in many styles that work. There are many productive colors. Many swear by ice type flake. Sizes 3 inches to 5 inches will be productive.
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Our fishing club favorite is Calcutta heads with 4 inch "Fin-S" bodies. This grub combo is effective throughout the season although other similar jig combos will probably work well. Note that you may experience frustration if there are a lot of crabs or pin fish around to bite off grub tails. These color combinations are those I see most commonly used and those the our fishing club always keeps on hand.

Throughout the season, but especially later, stick baits are productive. Several of the best are shown below although many others will work. There is no accepted best color so attempt to match the local baitfish. These stick baits may be more effective in the later season from October to November into December. Some very productive colors are below; our fishing club always keeps these in stock.

Fresh bait can be used very productively for trout. See how to find, catch, and keep baitfish.

Consider using a rubber net when stick baits such that the trout (and you) will suffer less when landing fish to be thrown back. Sea run trout have very delicate mouths. Setting the hook can be a trial between getting the hook properly set and ripping it out of the fish's mouth entirely.

Have fun with this wonderful resource. Enjoy catching them.

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Good Speckled Trout and Grey Trout Fishing Links
LinksFisheries and Wildlife by State
LinksMore good freshwater, saltwater, and trout fly fishing links
Travel site to your fly fishing destinationFlounder Recipes -- Recipes used often
Travel site to your fly fishing destination - Excellent travel site, the one we use
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