You’re looking for a way to catch speckled sea trout when chilly weather has them acting lethargic and slow? Using artificials can get tricky, as there's a fine line between giving them enough action and giving them too much. To make matters worse, a speck bite in cold water can be so subtle that many anglers miss it. Apply this tactic, however, and you’ll be able to catch them even when the best of anglers get flummoxed using the usual methods.

winter specks
Catching cold water specks can be challenging, but Kevin did okay. Hey, wait a sec - how'd that striper get in there?!
  • Rig up a pair of light bucktails in a tandem rig with an eight-inch leader on the top and a three-foot leader on the bottom. The exact size heads you’ll want to use will vary depending on depth, current, and drift, but you’ll want to have the minimum amount of weight needed to reliably feel bottom.
  • Lip-hook a bull minnow on each bucktail.
  • Lower the rig to bottom, then crank down until your rod tip is right at water level.
  • Lift your rod tip a foot or two, so the lower bait hovers just above bottom as you drift.
  • Don’t add any action — let the minnow do their thing.
  • When you feel a strike drop your rod tip to match the speed of your drift, so the fish feels no added resistance.
  • Give it a five-count then set the hook.