For anglers wanting to test Mississippi and Louisiana waters for the highly touted speckled trout the month of June is definitely a prime time to be on the water. It’s mid summer and the coastal waters are quite warm, so all sorts of baitfish are teeming in this nutrient-enriched environment. Shrimp, croakers, anchovies, mullet, and menhaden are thriving in the coastal shallows, and the swarms of hungry speckled trout are gorging their bellies on the bountiful food chain.
With the masses of trout now foraging mostly in outer bays, sounds, and at barrier islands, it’s a prime time to catch numbers of specks.
Here are a few tips that may help make your trout fishing a success this month.
BIRDS & SLICKS
Any angler worth his salt always is scanning the skies for signs of birds when trout fishing. Those birds are your eyes in the sky, and they seemingly come out of nowhere when trout chase bait to the surface. Although it’s possible to catch trout under terns and pelicans at times, it’s the big gulls that generally deliver the goods on a regular basis. If you have a trolling motor ease up to the outer edge of the birds, just within casting range, and watch for the shrimp jumping across the surface for their lives.
The trout feeding below hit most anything when in a feeding frenzy, and even a topwater bait can draw exciting surface strikes. Of course, you may encounter other species in with the speckled trout, including sand seatrout (also called white trout), southern kingfish (called ground mullet), gafftopsail catfish, Spanish mackerel, jack crevalle, sharks, redfish, ladyfish, and bluefish.
If you see concentrations of gulls sitting on the water, the birds are often right on top of the fish, or waiting on fish nearby to chase bait to the surface again.
Besides scanning the skies be sure to be looking on the surface too, and keep your nose on alert for scents coming down wind. Seatrout often regurgitate their food when on these feeding binges, and an oily sheen pops up to the surface. Often your nose picks up the scent before you spot the slick, particularly if you’re down wind. It’s an odor that often resembles watermelon to some and a menhaden oil scent to others.
The smaller the slick is, the closer the fish are to it since the wind and tide haven’t had time to spread it out. Just like using the birds, anglers can often locate and track schools of feeding trout by spotting these slicks as they appear on the surface.
FULL MOON TIME
If you’re looking to catch some really big speckled trout in June, be sure to fish three days before, and three days after a full moon. Generally trout like to stack up on reefs, wrecks, and other structure in more open waters just before they spawn. The big sows are concentrated and on the prowl.
One of the best baits for the big specks is a live croaker. If you locate the big fish, croakers as bait definitely are your ticket to success in catching huge 4- to 8-pound specimens.
It’s surprising how big of a croaker a 3-pound trout can swallow. When targeting a monster trout, don’t be afraid to drop down a 6-inch croaker. However, live pinfish, mullet, and menhaden make for good big trout baits, too. Depending on the depth of the water, these baits can be fished under a popping cork, free-lined, or fished on the bottom using a Carolina rig.