Month: April 2016

Big Trout in Charleston

The past few years of warm winters in Charleston are really starting to show in the size of trout we now have in our waters.  Right now, we have a trophy fishery here, which is unusual since we relatively often have cold water kills.  We have been really excited that many of these big ones have been caught on Trout Eye jigs.  There is no better testament to their effectiveness than catch pics.  They simply work.

This past Saturday I fished the Summerville Saltwater Anglers April tournament with Ray Philyaw (SSWA President – and my great friend and neighbor), and another neighbor boy, Josh – a senior at FDHS and soon to be Gamecock.  The morning weather was kinda breezy and front-y and the bite was pretty slow.  We found a few small male trout here and there.  High tide was right around 11 AM and about that time the weather started to clear up.  We were running and gunning and at slack I just decided to run a bank I have not fished in over a year, often passing it by to fish more obvious and popular spots.  I picked up an undersize flounder and Josh a lower slot trout.  A little further down I cast to the edge of the grass and I got a solid thump.  It was only 1.5 ft deep so I thought it was a good flounder.  When it flashed I froze….big trout!  I was babying it for fear of tearing the jig out of its mouth, but it was hooked solidly thank God.  After a tailwalk headshake and some drag pulling runs Ray expertly netted it and we collectively freaked out.  She taped out at 24.3″ and 5.44 lbs.  Guess what I caught it on?  Yep – the same Gold Trout Eye and Pearl MinnowZ that has been working so well for me.  Needless to say, it made my year.

Dave Trout 4
5.5 lb Trout caught on Gold Trout Eye jig / Pearl MinnowZ

Gator Trout on Cooler Lid

The bite continued to be strong the rest of the day, with the eventual winning flounder 2.2 lbs.  Ray ended the day with a 21″ gator of his own.  Josh caught a heartbreaker red, that was just 1/8″ overslot.  Would definitely have been the winner!   We had the usual great time at weigh in and had lots of laughs.  Many great fish were weighed on Saturday.

Josh Red 3
Josh and his near Tourney Winner

People will ask, did you release it?  The answer is no, and it did pain me to kill it.  I keep a personal upper slot on trout of 20″, but tournaments leave you conflicted.  Last time this happened I floated the idea of a big fish clause, where in special cases you could submit a pic of the fish on a ruler with a witness and then release it.  It didn’t fly then, but we are going to reopen the matter.  Our club is conservation oriented and it will probably pass with the proper safeguards in the rules.  I hope it does.

Rays Gator
Ray’s 21″ Gator Trout

Later I saw another huge trout caught in Charleston by a charter captain caught that day. There are some “gollywhoppers” out there. (as Bob Sanders used to say.  Hope you get a chance to tangle with one.

George Redfish
George Brown, fishing in another boat, got this 32.5″ red on TE jig

On reflection, with all the fishing pressure in Charleston, most of the obvious “spots” are overfished.  We have seen spots we used to fish and always do well get discovered and now there are simply no fish there.  I’m starting to think that the less pressured spots are going to be where the good fish are found in the future.  Its kind of obvious in hindsight, but its easy to rush from spot to spot where you have caught fish in the past, and pass by other less obvious – but still productive – spots.  I know that I will be doing more of this in the coming year, but scouting around is my favorite thing to do anyway  🙂  Tight Lines, – Dave

Southern Redfish Cup at Georgetown Won Using Trout Eye Jigs

The first leg of the new Southern Redfish Cup held in Georgetown, SC on April 16th, 2016 was a very difficult day to fish, with strong winds and negative fish.  Of the 46 teams registered, almost half did not weigh a fish.  And of those that weighed fish, only 14 teams weighed the allowed 3 fish.  The winning team of Jeremy Espiritu and Ashley Lowder won by over 1.5 lbs over second place with a solid bag of 12.91 lbs.  Ashley also won the big fish prize.  All the winning team’s fish were caught on Red Trout Eye jigheads.  Congrats to the winners, who are sponsored by Crew’s Chevrolet in North Charleston.

Event Logo

Winning Team

Big Fish


We now have long sleeve navy Trout Eye shirts available on our Store in limited quantities.  Get one while they last!

TE Shirt


Blustery April

So far, April has been awful weather-wise.  The few trips I have been able to manage have been miserable from a weather standpoint.  However, the bite has been pretty good.  Where I have been fishing has been dictated by the wind direction.  Certain rivers provide better cover depending on the wind direction – and of course there is always somewhere to hide way up a tree-lined creek.  It seems the winds have been coming from the NE a lot.

The topwater bite has been getting better every week.  Yesterday was kind of bizarre.  There were squalls coming from the NE blowing at 15 and gusting to 20+, so the skies were gray and misting.  My little Whaler is very light and gets blown around a lot in a gust, so there I was casting between gusts and spitting rain and yet getting topwater strikes on almost every cast.  It sucked, yet, it was great 🙂  For me, a Spook Jr is out performing other offerings – probably because the mullet have not really moved in thick yet, so bait is smaller.

We always advise people to keep their eyes open on the water.  Yesterday I was fishing a spot and heard a strike.  Behind me in very deep water a trout was striking pretty good sized shrimp.  A quick cast within a 6 ft radius yielded 3 or 4 decent trout on top.  This tactic is a very effective one.  See a strike, drop your plug close by.  But, you have to be quick, or you will miss your opportunity!


The lowly Pearl MinnowZ by Z-Man paired with a gold Trout Eye jig continues to produce really well for me.  It doesn’t have a flashy name, or look real pretty – it’s just flat white.  But, it is the #1 overall best selling Z-Man bait worldwide because it just has universal appeal.  It’s been working great since late winter and now well into spring.  I keep saying I’ll switch it out when it stops producing, well, not yet.  Yesterday it yielded a double-inshore-slam of quality fish.  I guess I’ll keep it tied on….

I’m looking forward to some calm winds and warmer weather myself.  Enough of the winds!!


We were honored to have an article published about our business Ralph Phillips Inshore Productions by Palmetto Magazine.  This is a really nice state-wide magazine by the publishers of Azalea Magazine, based in Summerville.  Here are a few screen shots, but pick one up and check it out if you get a chance. They are free and are available at many local businesses.




Ralph did a seminar on “Finding Fish” at last nights Summerville Saltwater Anglers membership meeting.  This subject is our #1 most often asked question, and it was very well received by the club.  I was not able to make it due to a Track Meet (I’m a pole vault coach), but Ralph and Les covered my butt.



If you need to stock up on Trout Eye jigs or Z-Man plastics, please check out our store.  Buying jigs in bulk is by far your best value.

Huge Charleston Trout Caught on Trout Eye Jig

Last week we received another great testimonial for Trout Eye jigs and Z-Man soft plastics, when Captain Justin Carter of DIG Charters caught the biggest trout in recent memory in Charleston.  This huge fish was over 10 lbs and released.  It was just about 1 lb under the state record.

Justin Carter Trout
Captain Justin Carter with a 28″ 10+ lb speckled trout

Justin said “She was released. I have a self imposed 20″ limit on trout. Caught on Trout Eye with a Z-Man Pearl Blue SwimmerZ. She measured 28″ which is by far the thickest fish I have ever caught. However I have caught several longer trout but all of them have come out of Florida and none had shoulders like this one. The girth on the trout this year has been unreal. I had a 25″ two weeks ago that went over 6 lbs.”

A big congrats to Justin on a fish of a lifetime.  We are glad to be a part of such an amazing South Carolina catch (and release).