Speckled sea trout, spotted trout, specks, yellow mouths, or whatever you may call them are a fun fish to catch out of a kayak, and you can catch them in relatively shallow water on the central western side of the Bay from May into early October. My favorite bait is a paddletail jig. My second favorite is a popping cork with a paddletail 18 inches below the cork. Favorite color? You can’t beat electric chicken, with a pink bait being a close second. You can find out more about baits and methods for catching speckled trout by typing “speckled trout” into the search box at the upper right on this page.
I target specks on small creeks feeding the Patuxent, Potomac, St. Mary’s, and Piankatank rivers, all of which offer good access for kayak anglers. Key features to look for include moving tide across grass beds, over points, riprap, and cuts. Try to fish clean water, as cloudy water will kill a trout bite in a heartbeat, and fish water from two to 10 feet in depth.
Fishing the feeder creeks of the Patuxent River produces specks and in May I will find 20-plus-inch fish on Mill Creek, but by June the large fish seem to move out. You can still find them out of Clarks Landing at the mouth of Cuckold Creek, and there’s a nice public launch at this location. Perch and striped bass can be found here, too.
Potomac River specks can be found out of Point Lookout, where there’s a launch facility at the state park. Fishing the incoming tide along the jetties leading to the river will produce fish, but don’t discount Lake Conoy, too. In the river I’ll fish the shoreline up to and including around the lighthouse. A bonus of fishing this location is that you’ll most likely catch your share of striped bass, bluefish, and possibly a few slot red drum as well.
At Piney Point there’s another public launch that gives kayak anglers access to a slightly different portion of the Potomac. Try fishing the channel under the St. George Island bridge. Here I’ll sometimes use a method I find surprisingly successful: cast a four- or five-inch electric chicken colored plastic on a half-ounce jig head, let the bait settle to the bottom, and simply allow the current to push it along. The current can be swift here at times, so care should be taken when fishing around the bridge pilings or riprap. Also work your way down the St. George Creek side of the island up to Cherryfield Point. A bonus is the big white perch found here. Tie on a Beetle Spin with a white twister tail, and fish the docks and piers. On a calm weather day you can also fish the Potomac River side of the island; be sure to hit the points and around piers.
St. Inigoes has a public launch off Beachville Road providing access for kayaks to the St. Mary’s River. You can find specks here as well as striped bass and white perch. I like to fish the points, grass beds, and piers on a high dropping tide. If the bite is slow you can jump across the peninsula and pay a small fee to launch out of Buzzs Marina on St. Jerome Creek. Work your way to where the creek meets the Bay and you’ll find specks as well white perch. On a nice weather day this is also a great location to fish along the shoreline of the Bay.
A great spot in northern Virginia is the Piankatank River. There’s a soft launch you can access off Buckley Hall Rd. Here you will want to fish the grass beds between the docks and piers, points, and drop offs. They all hold fish throughout the summer and a little later into the fall than in Maryland waters. You can also launch at the bridge to Gwynn Island and fish either the Piankatank or Milford Haven. Around the bridge, Narrows point just west of it, and the mouth of Queens Creek and the channel leading into it can all hold specks.
-By Eric Packard