Speckled Sea Trout Tactics: The Retrieve

Don’t Overlook River Reds
October 22, 2019

Hmmm, who could this Mr. Lucky be?

A true story: there were five very experienced anglers aboard a boat creeping through the shallows with an electric trolling motor, hitting Spot-Lock when points with current or a trough came into casting range. All five were throwing similar plastics, yet only two of them hooked into specks. One caught a single fish and the other lucky guy had caught four before the other anglers aboard switched tails to match the simple white paddle-tail that had been proving so effective. Mr. lucky then proceeded to catch five more speckled trout while the gent who had caught a single fish landed one more – and the other three anglers aboard went bite-less.

Hmmm, who could this Mr. Lucky be?

Wait a sec – if everyone had on the same lure at this point, how’s such a lopsided result possible? It was all about the retrieve.

Most anglers know that there are times when a fast retrieve works best, and there are other times when a slow retrieve does the trick. Sometimes you need to keep the lure down by the bottom, and other times speckled sea trout like to hit right at the surface. But specks also have a penchant for striking a lure with a radically erratic retrieve. Again, sometimes they’ll want it up high and other times they’ll want it deep. But if you find yourself going bite-less when you know there are trout nearby, try this retrieve:

  • Cast out, and immediately begin quickly retrieving the lure as erratically as possible.
  • Give the rod tip short, spastic jerks.
  • Vary the rate of speed you turn the reel crank, from lightning-fast to super-slow, multiple times –not on different retrieves but during the same retrieve.
  • Cast out, let the lure sink to mid-depth, and repeat the above motions.
  • Cast out, let the lure sink to the bottom, and repeat the above motions.

We call this the “herky-jerky speck retrieve.” Use it, and are you guaranteed to get a strike? Heck no, of course not. But try the above when neither a fast retrieve up high nor an attempt at going low and slow is working, and you might just discover this tactic saves the day. You might, in fact, be that one lucky angler aboard the boat.

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