Surf fishing is a popular tactic for anglers fortunate enough to live within driving distance of a large body of water. Coastal anglers have a wide variety of fish at which to cast their lines, such as snook, redfish, and today’s subject: speckled trout. While specks, like most inshore fish, will readily grab live bait such as shrimp, artificial lures are quite effective, as well, and today I’ve outlined a few tips that will help any surf angler pull in speckled trout with artificial lures this season.

Trout tend to be opportunistic and will strike just about any lure they come across in the water. Their natural forage includes small fish, like mullet, so artificials that imitate such prey are ideal. Two popular lures when surf fishing for trout are soft plastics on lead jig heads, as well as hard plastics. Anglers like jig heads with plastics because you can change the color, weight, and size quickly without missing a beat on the water. Their versatility also allows them to be fish solo or even tandem-rigged, which is an increasingly popular setup for specks. When seeking out the best color patterns for your region, it’s best to keep a small variety on hand, but also seek out local tackle or bait shops and get the inside scoop.

To offer the best presentation, you’ll need to be sure to use the proper equipment. Soft-tipped spinning rods around seven feet are great for lighter lures, especially when combined with reels that are able to hold around 200 yards of 8-pound line. I suggest utilizing a slow retrieve that alternates between rod twitches reeling, which creates an erratic movement that fish zero in on and strike.

Where most anglers go wrong when surf fishing for specks is the pause in between rod twitches, during which your line goes slack. They miss out on strikes because they can’t feel a bite on slack line and the trout spits the lure out before inexperienced fishermen even know there was a fish there. Keep your line tight and feel for the weight of a fish, and you shouldn’t have too much trouble being able to tell when you’ve got a bite.

Surf casting for speckled trout can be a fun, rewarding experience if you’re patient and maintain a good level of concentration during the retrieve. Stick with artificials that do a great job of imitating the local forage in color and it won’t be long before your cooler is overflowing with specks. 

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