Catching Specks in Difficult Conditions

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Despite dirty water, this nice speck was coaxed into biting - as were plenty more.

Specks are finicky fish, and when conditions aren’t right catching them can seem nearly impossible. Of course, you may have just woken up at zero-dark-early, launched the boat, then cruised for 10 miles before you found out the water was dirty and riled from a blow the evening before. You might finally get to your favorite flat only to discover that some weird tidal fluctuation has it half dry. Or, you may arrive at the hotspot to find that 10 other boats had the very same destination in mind. How will you still manage to catch fish?

speckled sea trout

Despite dirty water, this nice speck was coaxed into biting – as were plenty more.

Dirty Water – The first move is to leave and look for clean water, but there will be times (usually due to an extended blow during which there was a change of wind direction) when you can’t find it. The next move is to find the least-offensive water, and find the lure in your tacklebox which most closely matches it. In milky water reach for pearl or gray. In brownish water try root-beer or copper. Look out over the water and find the closest match, and strange as it sounds, that will likely be the best color choice of the day. Now, add in some sensory enhancement. Scents, rattles, and popping corks will help the fish find your lure in all that murk.

Crazy Tides – On a super-high tide, the answer is simply to move shallower than ever. One type of area that often performs in unusually high water is a grass flat that’s usually too shallow and weedy to fish. Now, you can fish over it instead of trying to fish in it. On a super-low tide, it’s time to seek out sharp drop-offs and deeper structure. Odd as it may sound, when all the water disappears you’ll sometimes find specks over-compensating by holding in water that’s unusually deep. 12 to 15 foot depths may sound too deep for specks and in common conditions maybe it is, but in these conditions it’s not unusual to find ’em there.

Crowds – The first and best move is again to leave. That said, any number of circumstances can make that a tough move. If you’re stuck, position yourself in a promising spot and drop anchor or engage Spot Lock. Then sit tight and remain completely quiet for 10 or 15 minutes. The other boats (assuming they have a modicum of courtesy) will give you some room as they drift or motor around, and the fish in your little quiet zone should chillax. Then, you can take a few casts and hopefully catch them.


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