A lot of different lures can be used to effectively catch Carolina speckled trout in the winter, but here is a handy guide to five of my favorite cold water trout baits. If you are out on the water after specks and you carry these five lures with you, chances are that if trout are present they will hit at least one of them.
Berkley Gulp Saltwater Shrimp
The Berkley Gulp Saltwater Shrimp are durable and long-lasting baits that can be rigged and fished exactly like a live shrimp. They are impregnated with Gulp’s 400x Scent Dispersion and the scent released by these little fellas is powerful and far reaching.
Baitstealers like pinfish have been known to jump on these baits quickly due to the natural smell, but in the colder months you shouldn’t have to worry about them and you can concentrate on the trout. Swim these lures on a jig or crawl them on a Carolina rig to get trout excited and smashing them. You can also fish them under a float just like live shrimp.
Berkley Gulp Swimming Minnow
Another great scent-dispersing soft bait from Gulp, trout absolutely love the Gulp Swimming Minnow! Many colors of the Gulp Minnow are good and you sometimes need to experiment to see what the trout want on a certain day. The Swimming Mullet is versatile, so you can swim it back to you, crawl it, pull and pause, or just let the current drift it to the trout.
Many DOA Shrimp lures come pre-rigged and weighted, which is a great convenience to speckled trout anglers. You can just tie one on and start throwing if you like, or you can fish them under a popping cork just like live shrimp.
You should use a very slow retrieve with these lures, throwing in a few short hops to make them move like a natural shrimp. The New Penny and Nite Glow colors are my favorite.
Fishbites baits release their patented Xtreme Scent into the water, calling trout from great distances. These advanced soft baits are setting a high standard in the scent-bait industry and I think they work as well or better than the Gulp line baits.
Certainly, Fishbites has been at the cutting edge of the scent-bait market for the past few years. Fish these lures on a jig head slowly for trout, using a steady retrieve and letting the paddletail provide the action.
That old speckled trout standby the classic MirrOlures still have their place in tackle boxes today. MirrOlure plugs imitate big baitfish which is what large female trout love to feed on in the winter months. You should work your MirrOLures slowly during the winter, using them as a twitchbait with frequent pauses along the way.
While MirrOlures provide no scent they are highly visible to trout and will yield great rewards when fishing in the early morning or near sunset. They are also valuable to speckled trout anglers casting into the surf due to their casting weight and the distance you can throw them.
Jeffrey Weeks is the author of the new fishing book Surf and Saltwater Fishing in the Carolinas.