Trout Extravaganza

While fishing on Hilton Head Island this past December, it was an awesome trout season, which promises a great January—perhaps the best in years.

In early spring, we had tons of small trout, and apparently they have been eating well. Most of the fish are running a couple of pounds and up, with some really nice ones running in the 5-pound-and-up range.

Speckled trout seem to be especially sensitive to bitter cold, and the recent trend toward mild winters has definitely benefited the local population. Fishermen are reaping the benefits this season with huge catches.

Trout hit like a ton of bricks and are tough fighters. Best of all, the flesh is delicious.

Artificial lures are working very well. Hard and soft plastic baits are catching fish equally as well.

Light tackle offers some of the best angling to be had here in the Lowcountry. Eight-to-10-pound test line makes for a challenge and allows you to throw an artificial a long way. Generally, working the bait with an occasional jig and slow retrieve works best.

In these days and times when catches are so limited, it’s easy to keep a lot more fish than you need when an excellent bite like this one is on. The sad state of our inshore fishery for cobia and the insanity of the red snapper fishery regulations should be good reminders for us to be extremely aware of the importance of good catch-and-release practices.

The local population of fishermen, and people in general, have outgrown our resources. If we are not good stewards, we will be subjected to regulations that are based on voodoo science at best.

So, catch and enjoy. Keep what you can eat and let the rest go! Let’s preserve a legacy for generations to come without being dictated to as to what we can keep.

By Capt. Miles Altman, Bayrunner Fishing Charters

Capt. Miles Altman of Bayrunner Fishing Charters has more than 42 years of experience fishing the waters surrounding Hilton Head Island. Don’t miss the new Finatic boat, which accommodates up to 12 passengers and features a special 3-hour shark/dolphin eco-tour trip. Contact Capt. Miles at (843) 290-6955 to book an unforgettable inshore or offshore charter fishing trip, departing from Shelter Cove Marina.