Spec-ulating N January
Second to Tarpon in the summer, finding Speckled Sea Trout (Specs) in South East Virginia (Hampton Roads) in the winter can prove to be a challenge. You can ask any Spec fisherman where he's catching them, but their lips are taut as a mooring line doubled down for an impending storm. There are a couple known areas to look for Specs and even more methods for fishing for them this time of year. One of the known local hot spot is the Elizabeth River which benefits from a rich, tanic, nutrient filled lifeline from the Great Dismal Swamp. The Dismal Swamp is a coastal swamp which once covered over 2,000 square miles of Virginia and North Carolina. Geographically unique, the swamp is positioned on a poquoson so the swamp's water drains out of Lake Drummond at the heart of the swamp and into the surrounding tributaries such as the Elizabeth River.
The January morning was brisk and the mist lingered on the water as I set out, slowly idling down the river. I pulled my hood over my head and laid over on the throttle and she popped out of the water as I snaked down the Inter-coastal waterway Spec-ulating on successfully locating and targeting Specs. I passed several boats before I settled down at the mouth of a small canal adjacent to an oyster reef with a small sand flat dropping off to deep water approximately 30 foot.
Starting by casting up to the waters edge, backed by golden reeds, I made short work of boating a small Striper. Still in search of Specs I fished the outside edge of the oyster bed with no luck. So, I put the trolling motor in high and began fan casting down the bank watching my electronics. As I made my way down the river, I noticed a small point with a couple of fish hanging on either side.
I grabbed my jig rod and started bouncing soft plastics across the point, crisscrossing the point several times tossing shallow then retrieving the jig slowly down the point, but still striking out. Intrigued by the blimps on the screen I shifted my boat's position so I could cast into the deep water and retrieve my lure up the point. A few cast from the new position and I landed a nice 18 inch Spec.
The day ended with a total of seven fish boated, the largest of which was 22 inches. Using my electronics and adjusting my tactics help turn my one fish morning into an action packed afternoon.