Fishing offshore rigs for speckled trout is different than what most anglers experience fishing in marshes, lakes and bays.
I asked each man what his most-important recommendation was for rig fishing for speckled trout.
Charlie Bruce opened by suggesting fishermen have a strategy before they start.
“Always have a plan,” he said. “If you are totally lost, hire a guide.”
Brother Tony Bruce amended that.
“You have to be prepared to make adjustments, though,” he said. “Don’t let the bad things that happen to you break a trip. When our steering went out recently, we fixed it with duct tape and wire; the average person would have quit.”
Chris Bruce and Craig Hunt were more succinct.
“Bring lots of tackle and use braided line,” Chris said.
“It’s all about the bait” Hunt added. “It’s all about the bait.”
A group discussion followed about best fishing conditions, with agreement that, for rig fishing, tidal conditions are critical.
Tidal ranges of 0.6 to 1.5 feet are the best, and the last hour of tide before it switches is the best of the best.
That is followed by an hour of poor fishing and then another hour of good fishing right after the tide changes direction.
They agreed that any tide with a range over 1.5 feet is too strong.
“The fish hunker down behind steel piles and wait,” one of them said.
On the other hand, a tide of less than 0.5 is not enough movement for a good rig fishing.
A final suggestion was to purchase a bait trawl and a license to use it. Having live bait is critical and marinas are often out.
They use a 20-foot trawl.
The gear fee for a 16- to 25-foot trawl is $80. For trawls smaller than 16 feet, the gear fee is $25.