Night Fishing for Specks - Go On Top When the Bite Slows
by Capt. Gary Ralston

Night feeding speckled trout chasing live shrimp skipping across the surface are exciting to watch and are usually easy to catch. At times their numbers can be quite large and their rapid popping and slurping while feeding can make the water appear as if someone is repeatedly tossing in handfuls of gravel.

Typically, plastic bait tails or double rigged jigs/worms are the number one choice of most night fishermen. Popular colors that will usually work anywhere on the coast are the standard: white, hot pink, red, and chartreuse.

At times, however, the specks are quite skillful at ignoring the artificial baits while feeding in a frenzy on the hapless shrimp and baitfish that float by in the current. If you should encounter this situation, the problem is your bait. It does not match the mental pattern the fish have for what they are feeding on and changing colors will likely not have much effect. They may also have become "trained" to ignore the same looking baits that bombard them night after night.

One thing that will usually get their attention, though, when they are feeding but ignoring underwater baits is to switch to a 3-1/2 inch, or so, topwater bait. The topwater will remain in the direction the fish are looking, which is up, and itís going to get a whole lot more eyeballs focused on it, especially if it rattles. The change in fish hook ups should be immediate and dramatic.

One little trick to supercharge a topwater, and really upset the other anglers around you, is to add a bucktail trailer with either a small single or treble hook at the end. Just tie about a 6 inch piece of monofilament line (15 to 20 lb. test is all you need) to the rear eye of the topwater, and the hook and bucktail to the other. Bucktail colors that work great are red, white, yellow and chartreuse. This also works extremely well on a spoon.

Night fishing is a sure way to beat the summer heat on the Gulf Coast, just don't forget the mosquito spray.

Gary Ralston is publisher of Gulf Coast Fisherman magazine. Gulf Coast Fisherman has been published for saltwater fishermen since 1976 and covers all states on the Gulf Coast.

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