Whether you are charter fishing in Charleston SC or on your own fishing down the coastline in Florida there are a few things to consider when targeting spotted seatrout with topwater hard baits that will give you consistent success on the water.
The first is your rod selection. Typically, you want a medium to medium light powered rod with a moderate to fast action tip that bows a good one third of the way down the rod. The reason for this is that the mouth of a spotted seatrout is soft and can tear easily therefore you need the rod to have a solid amount of “give” in it. My go-to rod for this is the St. Croix Avid Inshore (Med Power, Moderate Action).
Secondly, you want to choose the right bait for the right water. At a minimum, you need three separate types of topwater baits. One for windy days when the water is choppy, one for the calm days and one for in between for those days it is blowing 9-12 mph. I personally fish Mirrolure hard baits, I believe they have been in the game the longest and have all the bases covered for what I need when I target inshore fish species like gator trout. Also, C.A. Richardson’s custom hard baits have even improved on Mirrolure’s design by adding some different color profiles to the game that are essential for different water sets. For days that is blowing and choppy, you want to use a bait that is going to put a large signature in the water and whose internal noise is going to compete with the water splashing on top. When it is calm, you want to tone it down and use baits that are going to make a minimal signature and sound in the water. I prefer the mirromullet for these days.
Third is how to work the bait. Once you cast, retrieve the bait with a slow and steady reel while popping the rod tip down in consecutive one foot swipes. As you do so, your bait should work side to side in short side-to-side movements. As an extra tip, if you really want to improve and do it correctly, don’t even look at the bait just focus on your rod tip and you will be surprised by the explosion on your bait. This is called “jumping slack”.
Lastly, and most importantly is how to connect to the fish. This is where a lot of anglers get it wrong. When you do have a fish attack your bait; if he misses just keep going and don’t stop. If he connects and you feel the fish on the other end (typically with trout it is going to be a jerk, jerk, jerk as they try to shake the bait outside of their mouth) do not set the hook with an aggressive pull on the rod. Instead, come tight to the fish by doing almost the opposite by simultaneously reeling and lowering the rod tip to the fish and then lifting the rod with a slow gradual pull to a vertical position where you will fight the fish until it is boated. This will ensure a good hook set and will not rip the hooks from the trout’s mouth or face.
I hope you find this helpful on your next fishing trip whether you are fishing in Charleston SC or in another saltwater state. For more topics like this, please check them out here at www.charlestonsilverfox.com