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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When you read report of people catching sea trout from the pier on a float rig, are they just throwing the float out and hoping something eats it, or do you see schools of trout. I have not ever targeted specifically trout, but will be trying on the ocean and in the sounds in the early mornings using a popping cork, and hopefully live shrimp. Should i just keep it out there, or should I paddle (oh forgot that I will be in my kayak) around looking for a school of them. Do they normally hit on top of the water, or do they feed midway in the water column? Any ideas or experience would be appreciated.
 

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Hey SNCSurf,
I don't think you'll see schools of trout from a pier or even a boat, but you may get into some with "Live Shrimp." There is a difference between Fresh Shrimp and Live Shrimp. If you can find live shrimp, that is the way to go for sure. Specs will hit Mirro-lures, tandem grub rigs, tandem minnow rigs, shrimp and saltwater flies. Mostly in the middle column or near the bottom. Ocassionally, one will hit a topwater offering. I would suggest getting back in the marshes near feeding channels or out near an inlet near the shore. Anywhere that there is a shallow and deep water close together. Someone else may have more experience and know a lot more than me for sure, but that is my 2 cents.
 

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If they are in large numbers on the beach, and the conditions are right, you can see them from the pier. They are not usually that thick on the surf this time of year. They get that thick over there in December and January. You can see them this time of year if the surf is calm and the water is clear. But they will be little pods of them. Three or four together, five or six, but they are usually large. In the winter, you can throw a grub and watch a fish bite it. On the pier this time of year, there are days when a lot are caught, but there are more when it's only a couple.
 

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It's not nearly as hot at 2 am. Much quieter and the trout much more cooperative. By 7:30 am it should be time to switch to something else if you haven't already. Biologists say that once a trout gets up to 14" it switches it's diet from about 80% shrimp to 80% fish. Pinfish make pretty good baits as well as the usual finger mullett and small Pogies.they will chew on mud minnows and pigfish also. Best place to find trout at night...under lights.
 

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You should do well with that popping cork with a live shrimp under it - that's the hot ticket right now for specks 'cause the near shore waters are full of shrimp (lots of trawlers in close too). Only problem I have with live shrimp is EVERY thing that swims near the surf likes shrimp so you will need plenty.
 

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sncsurf,
At the great risk of POing some on this board, please I beseech you DO NOT RESORT TO USING LIVE SHRIMP FOR SPECKLED TROUT! It is not necessary. Remember back when you were six and your dad gave you a cane pole with a bobber and a worm on it. He threw it out for you and you sat there until the bobber went under then you jerked the fish in. It was great fun wasn't it until you got older and you decided you really wanted to pit your fishing skill against the fish. Live shrimp are for boiling and eating. Ok, you can fry them also. They ain't for feeding fish.

There are any number of artificial baits which you actually "work" that you can fish below a popping cork or float. Any shrimp imitation or curly tail grub.

As stated earlier your truly big trout eat fish. Please don't use live fish either, you are robbing yourself of the joy of casting out an artificial and working it along the current until you feel that slight little "tap" and you reel the line tight and that fish starts pulling. Man what a feeling. My two 8lb plus trout were both caught on a Mann's Shadow Minnow. I primarily fish with "paddle" tail soft plastics such as Bass Assasin/Saltwater Assasin Sea Shads. Other good ones are Cocahoe Minnows. In the surf a Mirrolure TT 808 or 52 M11 are hard to beat.

I extend an invitation to you to fish with me in the Swansboro area. Artificial bait only no trout smaller than 15" or larger than 24" can be kept and no more than 7.
 

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Some of us like to relax and fish. That means setting a line in a good looking area and fishing with live or at least "real" bait.. I don't always want to "work" at fishing. I think skill is involved in BOTH methods.... So I don't think anyone should come down on either method.. I also dont think that attitude is good for people just getting started in the sport. Reading a post like that is discouraging to someone new.
 
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Live shrimp will catch a lot of little 12" fish and a few bigger ones. Using minnows over 3" just about eliminates the little ones and allows you to have a bait that will catch worthwhile fish and as noted it doesn't get killed everytime a pinfish comes along. That being said I've used live shrimp to catch 2-4 lb fish in places where shrimp were fairly safe from anything but trout. That was in the surf from a pier at night under lights. I've had just about equal luck whether it was shrimp, baitfish or lures under those special conditions. Fishing from the beach or inside under lights I have had much better luck with lures. When the trout are pushing the shrimp up into the surf I've done better casting spoons. I believe it is just a matter of efficency that I've done better on them.Trade the treble for a single w/ bucktail when they are in big schools . Back to the treble when they are scattered. Those folks that tell you I caught 60 so and so's and none were keepers usually just haven't learned to target the bigger fish yet. It pains me to hear that but I realize it takes a little time for everything to come together where a person is targeting the breeders. Not everybody lives on the water and gets to play often.
 

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Hello Sinkerman,
Very well put and very diplomatic in your statement. I think that you and Sundrop have put this thread in proper perspective, for me at least. We all have different experiences on the water looking for Fish Utopia, and some work at it while others relax when fishing. One day an artificial will work on them and another day cut or live bait. I believe for the most part, those of us who have been around for some time agree to share our thoughts in an effort to educate one another. We continue to learn each day a little bit here and there. That is the essence of life - Learning. Anyone who knows it all has a very closed mind and discontinues the learning process. No one is always 100% right, and no one is always 100% wrong. No one should ever pull rank or step on another's toes cause it just isn't the neighborly thing to do. I like my Shrimp "steamed" and spiced, not boiled or fried. See, there are many ways you can offer advice to anyone. Tight Lines!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well I hate that this thread has caused controversy, but it has also provided some much needed know how, and that is appreciated. I saw above that Topsail Angler suggested, "You should do well with that popping cork with a live shrimp under it - that's the hot ticket right now for specks 'cause the near shore waters are full of shrimp (lots of trawlers in close too). ". I usually only get to fish @ Ocean Isle Beach in Southern NC. Last time I was out there I paddled my kayak out to follow a trawler. I didn't have any shrimp, but was trolling a Rapala Xrap. No luck on that, but I noticed that they were throwing out their bycatch and it seemed there were small specks floating in the water from the by catch. By small I mean 6 to 9". Maybe someone could advise me answers to a couple questions.

1. How far back should you be when trolling? I was about 30 yrds back.

2. In this situation, I would assume that fish are targeting the shrimp, and then the food cycle starts w/ the bigger fish eating the smaller ones. Would minnows work as well as shrimp in this situation? Or would shrimp be the best bet. Seems like from the above discussion, bigger fish eat bigger bait, and more minnows than shrimp, 80% diet I think I saw.

3. If you have experience trolling behind a trawler w/ minnows, what type of minnows did you troll with. I have a cast net and will be able to toss it on shore for live bait, but would have to go back to the creek to get shrimp probably, as I don't seem to see too many in the surf.

Thanks again, and please keep the knowledge coming.
 

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I like to fish live shrimp/minnows and artificial. I don't discriminate against the fish. I have had some big trout on live shrimp, and I have had some big trout on lures. But it is a good feeling to watch that shrimp come to the top of the water and flutter, just before he gets nailed.
 

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Well I hate that this thread has caused controversy, but it has also provided some much needed know how, and that is appreciated.
Don't feel bad - no harm no foul. Some folks are more tactful than others when giving advice/opinions (I've learned the hard way myself and try to be more tactful, the flatness of this media makes it hard). It was all good info and you now have several directions to try.

Hope you catch 'em up.
 

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Wow! I knew some of you would have opinions but jeez. I did not mean to insult anyone who feels that using live shrimp is their best method for catching trout. Let me say this, live bait including shrimp is a legal way to catch trout. Now, I am only speaking about speckled trout or spotted sea trout. Read any "how to" story on catching this fish and they will start off talking about how trout are the top fished saltwater species in the southeast and gulf states. The reasons they give are the abundance and the fact they are so easy to catch.

Let me clue all of you in. Speckled trout are incredibly easy to catch. If I can catch'em than anyone can. OK, how many of you just said that I am a D.A. Read what I said...they are incredibily easy to catch. THE HARD PART IS LOCATING THEM. Once you have found a school of trout you can hammer them because they are so easy to catch. There is a reason that trout fisherman have been considered the most tight lipped group of fisherman about where they caught their fish. They will tell you what bait, what color, what weight and anything else you want to know. The will probably give you a couple of whatever they are catching them on. BUT THEY WILL NEVER TELL YOU WHERE THEY CAUGHT THEM. The only secret to catching trout is in locating them. Once you locate them they will eat just about any bait you put in front of them. I don't know how many times I have used up one bag of bait only to switch to anothe color and keep right on catching them.

Using live shrimp is not necessary. In the hands of an experienced accomplished trout fisherman it is not going to improve their catches 10%. In a novices hands yes it will increase your catches considerably, but only because the fish usually hooks itself. GULP shrimp in the hands of an experienced accomplished trout fisherman is not going to improve their catches 10%. In a novices hands it will considerably improve your catch because the fish will normally hit harder and hold on a fraction of a second longer. Using either in a spot where there are no trout WILL NOT magically cause you to catch trout. You have to fish where the trout are. I am not trying to insult any one here but I am also not going to make trout out to be something they are not...and that is hard to catch. To me they are the greatest fish in the world to catch, because I can and with just about any lure I want to use as long as they are there. No one can catch fish that are not there.
 

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speckhunter--Thanks for your clarification--My reply to your first post is that in real estate--it is location -location -location---Speckled trout fishing is locating- locating- locating. Find his hideouts and occasionally or frequently he will strike most anything properly presented to him including my beloved GUMMY WORMS.:) Anyway, they are my favorite fish to target and try to find.

Some more points to make here for the beginner trout fisherman--Let the trout hook himself and never try the Bill Dance hook setting act--Use a LIGHT drag on reel --never try to horse one in--and have a landing net handy. Their mouths are soft and easy to tear. Now go FIND them and CATCH your limits.
 
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SNCSURF, The reason behind my post isn't to make an argument. I know TA is right that shrimp are the hot ticket but the water temperature is in the 80's and and that is the time of year that released trout will have the hardest time recovering from any angler induced trauma. The shrimp that are moving in right now are smaller than what will be coming later when the water is cooler and you will catch a lot more small trout using shrimp. It don't take many big trout to scare off all the pinfish and other bait stealers. If you are in the right location that is not the real issue. There are a lot more small trout than bigger ones normally. If you use shrimp you will catch more small ones and the time you take with them, you could be spending trying to catch some that you don't need to release. It also results in more trout that make it to sexual maturity and get at least one spawn in. Once a trout gets a little older it starts producing many more eggs. You want to try and protect the older breeders to insure a rapid recovery if the winter is hard and there are a lot of fish killed. Once a fish reaches 30" I feel that it has done it's share of reproducing and it's time is short and if some one wants to take that fish home for supper it's not likely to make a big impact. Not many reach that size in NC waters anyway and some folks need a trophy worse than the species needs what's left of that fishes life. I think that if Speck Hunter and I were in charge of fishing regulations there would be a few more slot limits . We are not in charge so nobody has to deal with them. :) So if you don't learn but one thing from this it will probably be that there are about as many ways to skin a cat as cat skinners. ...location, location, location. That is very true.
 

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SPECKHUNTER80, THANKS FOR YOUR CONCERNS, I ALSO AGREE WITH YOU, HEY IAM JUST AN OLD BASSFISHERMAN AND EVEN I CAN GET LUCKY ON GULP BAIT AND GET A SPEC. OR TWO THANKS......... CHRIS
 

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sinkerman,
For years I have advocated on web-sites and public forums a slot limit of 15"-24" with a 7 fish limit and a bonus fish of 1 over 28" for speckled trout. Other states have similar limits. As great as the fishery is in Florida, they have closed seasons for trout in some areas. Female trout do not begin reaching sexual maturity until they are 12" at 13" all females and males have reached maturity. Male trout seldom get larger than 3lbs which is approximately 24". If we continue to take breeding fish and fish that have not had a chance to reproduce we will limit the overall population. Given that we are on the edges of the trout population as it is because of our cold winters and we still allow unattended gill nets and gill nets in nursery areas, it is up to recreational fisherman to limit themselves.
 

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Back to fishing behind trawlers, If you didn't see any fish feeding on the surface you probably were in the 90% of the ocean where only 10% of the fish were. That may be an exaggeration but not a big one. 30 yards back seems like a pretty good starting point in open ocean. I haven't tried trolling X raps before so I can't comment on the lure. Normally there will be plenty of fish activity behind a trawler that is culling the catch. Lots of times it will consist of fish that are either small and fast spanish, blues and small jacks or sharks and fish big enough to eat most speckled trout. The trout may be there and feeding but more than likely they will be staying pretty close to the bottom if big fish are present. If too many big fish show up they are likely to find safer feeding places. In a situation like you described, I might scoop up a six inch fish floating on top and try using just enough weight to slowly get it down towards the bottom. If that didn't work I'd be inclined to find another boat or spot. If you try doing that don't use a fish that there is a size limit on or you might be breaking the law. I think you had the right Idea but just had some bad timing. It is really impossible for me to say why it wasn't working.
 
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