It was drizzling when I stepped out of my truck at Sweetwater Marina early Monday (Dec. 5), the first signs of a front that was barreling through the state. I just shook my head, wriggled into my rain suit and headed to meet the two guys I'd be fishing with that morning.

I had told Scott Walker that I didn't want to waste a day out of the office because I was slammed, and he had promised me it wouldn't take long to fill our limits of speckled trout.

His confidence was more than braggadocio: I was back at the dock barely more than two hours later, loading up an ice chest full of speckled trout and heading back to the office.

Walker, aka "nightfisher" on the forum, had set up the quick trip with buddy John Gremillion, better known as "Holy Mackerel" on the site. The two have been fishing together for some time after meeting through the site.

Just after 7 a.m., Gremillion's boat slid out of the Pencil Canal and into Pointe Fienne. He soon powered down at the mouth of a cut, using his Talon anchor to hold the boat in place.

Walker was first on the bow, popping a plastic lure under a cork. He was wrestling a chunky speck to the boat before I even had my cork rig ready to go.

As I made my first cast, Gremillion was finishing hooking a live shrimp.

My cork disappeared on the first pop, and I set the hook on what turned out to be a 19-inch trout. Gremillion quickly set the hook on a bass.

Walker snickered, and the smack talking began.

"We're supposed to be catching trout," Walker chided.

Gremillion threw the bass in the box, rebaited and sent his shrimp-under-a-cork back out toward the center of Pointe Fienne.

Walker landed a couple more trout, and I even put another one in the boat. When Gremillion finally stuck a speck, it turned out to be a barely legal specimen.

"I told you: Artificials catch bigger fish," Walker called.

It was apparent the two buddies were a little on the competitive side.

After picking up only five or six fish – including a redfish that Walker seemed embarrassed to hook – Gremillion proclaimed that the bite was too slow. He pulled anchor, and we moved into the cut about 150 yards.

"Did you see that bait?" Gremillion asked Walker as the boat slid to a stop near a point.

The anchor quickly was set, putting us pretty much between Pointe Fienne and Bay Jack Nevette – two of the recent hot spots that have filled with trout.

It took the first cast to learn trout were in the center of the canal in about 6 feet of water, and then it became apparent why.

"There's a current line," Walker said.

Sure enough, as we began loading fish into the box the current break in the center of the canal became more and more distinct.

And that turned out to be the real teaching moment of the trip: How to maximize fishing effort on a day when tide is trickling.

On this morning, there was supposed to be a .9 of a foot outgoing tide but a stiff southeast wind slowed the movement significantly.

"In the middle of this bay, when we started out in Pointe Fienne, we didn't have a lot of tide," Gremillion said. "So we moved into an area where it choked down a little bit. Your tighter areas, your smaller areas, the water's going to have a little more concentration; it's going to be flowing a little harder."

We never moved again. By 8:45 a.m. we put the last two fish in the box and headed back to the dock.

Although Gremillion used some of his "pet" shrimp, most of the three-man limit of trout was caught on plastics, either under a cork or just tightlined.

Be sure to watch the attached vid to learn more about how to maximize your fishing success when the tide isn't moving very well, and to see specific baits and how those baits were worked.

Read other user reports – and share your own reports, photos and vids - in the Inshore Fishing Forum.

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