My faith in the weather forecast was rewarded as the rising sun reflected off the mirror-like surface of the green water surrounding a decommissioned navigation marker at the juncture of a small creek and shallow tidal flat. Likewise, my faith in the fish-holding power of oyster-shell-encrusted structure was rewarded when I saw a fish strike amid a school of glass minnows attempting to hide in the four pilings supporting the marker.
After positioning the boat, I grabbed a spinning outfit rigged with a topwater lure. I walked the lure across the surface into the edge of the bait school, and a fish struck behind it, just missing the trailing treble hook. Seconds later, another fish almost turned a somersault when it crashed the baitfish imitation. As I’d hoped the speckled trout were here and hungry.
When the topwater bite died, I switched to a suspending lure that was a dead ringer for a glass minnow. Using a stop-start-twitch action, I caught a few more trout before that action abated. Then, I reached for a rattling float and shrimp imitation made of scent-infused synthetic material.
By the time I departed with the ebbing tide, I’d caught a baker’s dozen trout. Although picking the right destination was a contributing factor to my early morning success, much of the credit goes to the selection of artificial lures that I had in my arsenal.
Never before has the saltwater angler had such an astounding array of speckled trout fishing lures from which to choose. As the popularity of saltwater fishing has grown so have the choices in lures for anglers targeting inshore favorites such as the speckled trout. New materials, designs, and manufacturing processes have revolutionized the lure industry. Let’s take a look at some of the makes and models that should be in your tackle bag.
THE HARD CHOICE
Yes, big speckled trout will eat small shrimp, but they prefer a fish dinner when given the chance. Hard baits that imitate prey such as mullet, menhaden, anchovies, pilchards and even small trout are essentials in the inshore angler’s kit.
Legendary in freshwater circles, but relatively new to the saltwater scene, Bomberhas created the Saltwater Grade product line, which includes three models just right for tempting trout. The Badonk-A-Donk is a topwater lure made in three sizes, two pitches, and 15 colors. The Floating Long-A is great for fishing just below the surface over grass flats and submerged oyster reefs. It comes in 14 colors. The Super Pogy is a 3 1/2-inch, lipless crank bait that works great on those days when you want to work up and down the water column to find suspended fish without having to constantly change lures. It comes in low-pitch and high-pitch models, both in a dozen colors.
Well-known manufacturer Yo-Zuri offers the Sashimi series that includes several lures for trout. The holographic finish on Sashimis causes the color patterns to change even when the lure is stationary. Topwater addicts will like the Pencil SW, a 4-inch floater in seven colors. It also comes in a model rigged with circle hooks instead of conventional treble hooks — the first of its kind in the industry. The Jerkbait SW is a suspending lure best fished with a stop-and-go retrieve or a twitching motion. It measures 3 1/2 inches and comes in 16 colors.
Venerable lure maker Rapala, well known in saltwater circles for the Skitter Walk, has added the X-Rap Subwalk to its product line. This innovative lure is the only model currently available to produce a walk-the-dog action just below the surface down to about 4 feet. The lure is fitted with high-grade VMC hooks and comes in 14 colors.