Top 3 tips for finicky speckled trout

Subtle changes might make the difference when fish have lockjaw

Louisiana inshore anglers dream of that often elusive fast-paced trout bite — one so fast and furious specks hit anything tossed into the water.

On those days, you return to the dock with plenty of fish to clean. But what if specks weren’t biting that easily? Will you still have anything to clean back at the marina — or will you go home empty-handed?

Knowing how to adapt when speckled trout are being finicky is what separates anglers who are only successful under great conditions from ones who consistently catch limits.

1. Try a “softer” presentation with a drop-shot rig.

Fast-moving. aggressive baits can be unappealing to finicky fish. Sometimes a softer presentation of the lure — where it sort of just hangs in the water — is a better bet, and a drop-shot rig is an excellent solution.

But you don’t have to get fancy with it: There’s no need for extra swivels and terminal tackle. I keep it simple with a Mustad KVD Drop Shot Hook tied directly to my line with a Palomar knot, leaving a long pigtail to tie a loop into, with which I attach a bank sinker of the appropriate weight.

That pigtail is usually 12 to 18 inches, depending on conditions. You can tie directly to the bank sinker, but the loop allows you to change out weights as the current and depth dictate.

2. Get more action with a Rapala knot. 

Most inshore anglers utilize an improved clinch or Palomar knot, but these can restrict a lure’s motion. Tying a loop knot lets your line slip in and out of the eye, giving the lure a little more action.

And that might just be the subtle difference you need to get finicky fish to bite.

3. Try smaller bait.

Sometimes fish see a bait as being just too big to eat. Yes, we all know fish will eat prey half their size — but doing so is extra work. Smaller bait is easier to chase, bite and digest. So presenting a smaller bait is sometimes a good idea.

To do this, simply rip the head off a soft plastic then thread it onto a jighead. Or maybe try downsizing to a MirrOlure Ultralight 4M sinking twitchbait, or a Matrix Mini. Both of these are practical to throw with spinning tackle.


It’s easy to catch when specks are biting anything that swims. But when they don’t, now you have a few tricks up your sleeve to still fill a limit.

Editor’s Note: Devin Denman is an avid inshore fisherman who writes the Louisiana Fishing Blog. To read more of his articles, visit