Words by: Tim Homa
Speckled trout fishing during the late fall and early winter months in the Mid-Atlantic are my favorite. The colder air and water temps get the bigger fish fired up to feed in preparation for the winter months ahead. Constantly adjusting to the volatile weather patterns during this time, make the hunt for that “thump” all the more addicting.
And let’s be honest, if you’re a speckled trout angler in the Mid-Atlantic, or anywhere, the “thump” is what you are seeking. There is one of two decisions that is made by anglers after your very first trophy speckled trout. Option 1: When speckled trout fishing, all you want to do is pursue trophy sized fish. Option 2: That was awesome, but it's not going to consume your life. I, for one, have chosen Option 1.
By no means am I an expert or claiming to be one. My journey down this time consuming, euphoric, and frustrating path is still in its infancy, but the passion to pursue those fish grows with each passing season. Below are my three favorite lures to use during this time of year to locate Mid-Atlantic speckled trout.
1. MirrOdine XL BG Series (MR27)
No surprise here for those who have been in the game. Early on in my pursuit, I was told by one of my speckled trout sherpas to learn how to fish a MirrOdine MR 27 if I wanted to catch bigger fish. In fact, my first speckled trout over 20” came on a MR27.
My personal favorite color to use is the RT. It has a green back and pink sides with broken glass. This color has been highly effective in all sorts of conditions. The learning curve when it comes to fishing a MR27 can be steep, but sticking with it and adapting to bite patterns will definitely result in bigger fish.
2. Soft Plastic Jerkbait
One rod during this time of year will always have a soft plastic jerkbait rigged with an ⅛ ounce Owner twistlock hook. This particular setup provides a different presentation than the MirrOlure MR27. It allows me to work the entire water column from top to bottom and shows the fish a different sink rate. If I find the fish are responding to that profile of the bait, but not fully committing, switching to a weightless twistlock hook or jig head to change the sink rate can often trigger the “thump.”
My absolute favorite soft plastic jerkbait is made by a company out of Maryland called Bust’Em Baits. I love throwing their 5.25” jerkbait in the “churple” color this time of year. These jerkbaits have a bit of a beefier profile to them than the typical jerkbait/fluke style lures, which I think helps target larger fish. They also have a joint halfway back on the bait that gives the lure more erratic action.
3. MirrOlure Catch 2000 (MR20)
Typically, my third rod will have a topwater rigged up. This time of year, when the fish are less responsive to topwater lures, I go with a MirrOlure Catch 2000 or MR20. The MR20 follows most of the same principles as the MR27, but offers a different size profile and action. The erratic side to side darting action will get big fish fired up. As with the MR27, being patient with the Catch 2000 and adapting to bite patterns will give you confidence in this lure.
The Catch 2000 comes in the same wide variety of colors as all of MirrOlure’s products. I personally love this lure in the 808 color, which is a black back, gold side, and orange belly.