Specks, or speckled trout, are a favorite saltwater game fish among anglers, especially those in search of the elusive trophy fish. They're sharp-eyed predators, feeding on smaller fish and crustaceans in coastal waterways, inland marshes, shallow surf, bays and inlets. Live shrimp are a speck's natural prey, so they're commonly used as bait. Specks are fished year-round, but during warmer months they can be found in shallow surf and water early in the day and later in the evening, moving into deeper drop-offs and channels, oyster reefs or cooler, grassy areas when the temperature rises.
Remove the center plug from a popping cork and thread the fishing line through the center hole of the cork. Move the cork up along the line until just above the estimated fishing depth. Replace the center plug on the cork.
Knot the end of the fishing line to the hook securely. Run the hook into the tail of a shrimp from the end of the tail, taking care not to push the hook all the way into the shrimp's body.
Put on the waders and slowly enter the water looking for signs of activity or possible hiding spots, such as small schools of minnows or other bait fish, quick movement near the water surface, grass clumps or drop-offs.
Cast the baited hook beyond the area where fish may be and reel in the line slowly, occasionally giving the line a small tug to enhance the shrimp's natural movement.
Keep an eye on the cork float after casting and while slowly reeling in the line. If a speck strikes, don't yank on the line; it may tear through the tender mouth. Allow the fish to take the bait before beginning to reel it in.
Wade into the water if surf fishing and locate any natural gullies in between submerged sandbars where specks travel when feeding. Cast the line into a gully and slowly reel it in, paying attention to the cork float.
Tips & Warnings
- Follow any feeding seagulls or pelicans, as they eat bait fish being chased to the surface by specks.
- Wet seaweed can be placed in the bottom of the shrimp bucket instead of changing the water at regular intervals to keep the shrimp alive.
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