SPOTTED SEA TROUT
Spotted sea trout, or cynoscion nebulosus and also known as speckled sea trout, are a common fish found in the southern United States along the South Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico.
From off the beaches to the backs of creeks and canals, trout can be found virtually anywhere. They predominately hang around shallow grassy flats, foraging on small bait fish and small crustaceans.
Spotted Seat Trout are not members of the trout family, but are members of the drum family, like that of redfish and black drum. Trout can be easily identified by their numerous black spot located on their dorsal fins, back and tails. Trout are sometimes referred to as yellow mouths. As they age their mouths turn a bright yellowish color.
They also display two prominent upper teeth. Trout to me are one of the most beautiful fish. They have dark greenish/grey backs and white under bellies. Sometimes they have a beautiful purple iridescent hew with sky blue tinges. They are one of my favorite Florida game fish.
Trout can be caught in all different sizes. From tiny 6 inch fish up to massive gator trout that can reach lengths over 30 inches and weight up to 15 pounds. The state record weighed 17 lb 7 oz and was caught in the Indian River near Ft. Pierce. The average trout will be from 12-20 inches and weight from 1-4 pounds. Larger trophy gator trout can range from 7-10 pounds.
Trout have soft white filets and are considered one of the better eating fish, plus with their tiny scales and soft skin they are easily filleted. They have very soft mouths and can easily throw a hook, especially when they come to the surface and thrash their heads back and forth. Trout are often very delicate so take good care of these fish when landing and releasing them. Make sure you support the bellies of the larger fish.
There can be caught in a variety of different methods. Free-lining shrimp and baitfish such as pilchards, pinfish, mudfish,croakers and especially pigfish (grunts) will work especially well.
When the water is murky a popping cork is one of the best methods for fishing live bait. If you can get your hands on some pigfish you can have an amazing day of trout fishing. Using a popping cork, or just free-lining them, nothing rings the dinner bell to a big trout or redfish like the grunting of a soft juicy pigfish.
Soft plastics suspended under a popping cork will also work. When doing this I like to use DOA shrimp and paddle tails, as well as Gulp shrimp. Cast as far as you can and slowly work the bait back to the boat. Pop the cork once or twice and let it sit for a few seconds. The fish will typically bite when the bait is sinking.
I also like to use soft plastics such as jerk baits and DOA shrimp and paddle tails. They land softly on the water and won’t spook the fish as much. One of my favorite lures to use is a MirrOdine twitch bait if you have the water depth or sand spot in which to work them. I like to use a twitch, twitch, pause method. The fish normally will strike on the pause, so be ready. No matter what methods you like to use, trout fishing can make for a very memorable day on the water!
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