Josenhans FF ~ Specks in the Shallows

25 05 2012

Speckled trout have been a hot topic, of late, as well they should be. Catches of this colorful, aggressive, toothy, temperamental, head-shaking, shallow-water cousin to the weakfish have been off-the-charts good at times this spring. Perhaps a brief history lesson is in order. Back in the day (1993 to be exact) – the year I started my guide service – specks were my bread & butter. At the time, there were only a handful of small-boat,  fly & light-tackle guides plying their trade on the main-stem of the Chesapeake Bay. While bass guides were having great success fishing the brackish river systems for largemouth bass and panfish, the bay’s saltwater scene was still happily chugging along on the 40-foot charterboat train. Guides like Capt. Mike Murphy and myself pretty much had the speck fishing all to ourselves. Back then, we may have even taken the great speckled trout fishing for granted. It seemed like there was no end to their abundance – until the end came. For maybe six or eight years the speck population took a powder. While Tangier Sound would still have a brief fall run, for more than a few years the spring run was non-existent. Cold winters in North Carolina resulted in several large fish kills; coupled with the cyclic nature of the species, the population dwindled. Shallow water anglers soon turned their attention to more abundant species like striped bass, bluefish and flounder. Well, now the specks are back and in a big way. Several above-average spawns, along with mild winter weather, have brought this angler favorite back to levels not seen in over ten years. In fact, there have been many days where my clients have caught more speckled trout than rockfish. Let’s hope the trend continues!   


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