18 Awesome Spotted Sea Trout Fishing Tips
18 Awesome Spotted Sea Trout Fishing Tips
18 Awesome spotted sea trout fishing tips will help anglers catch more of these popular inshore saltwater fish. Spotted sea trout, also known as speckled trout, are plentiful in the inshore waters of the southeastern United States. They range from Maryland down the East Coast and along the entire Gulf of Mexico. Trout are a beautiful fish that strikes hard. They are terrific eating!
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There are quite a few different areas that provide excellent fishing for spotted sea trout. However, the prime area for both numbers and trophy fish is the inshore Gulf of Mexico. The waters from Tampa North and around the coastline to Texas provide perfect habitat for these fish. The abundance of shallow water flats with grass and oyster bottom are perfect for sea trout to flourish.
Spotted sea trout expert Christie
Christie is our fishing ladies spotted sea trout expert. She lives in Webster, Texas, which is just outside of Galveston. This is right in the heart of prime spotted sea trout fishing territory.
“Hello, my name is Christie McAninch. I’m 32 years old, born & raised in the Lone Star State. We live in Webster, TX, just south of Houston, about twenty minutes from the Galveston Bay complex. I’ve always loved the outdoors, but in the last decade the outdoors has really become my passion. My husband is a inshore Galveston Bay fishing Captain Garry McAninch Jr. Our guide service is called McAninch Outdoors.
“We have owned a few different boats over the years and spent most of our available time in the spring & summer on the bay chasing speckled trout and redfish. In the last two years we have started competing in saltwater inshore fishing tournaments and been pretty successful. We look to continue our improvement & compete in higher level tournaments. The thrill and harvest of fishing provides so much our family I honestly cannot imagine ever not fishing.
“For the past thirteen years I have been a pastry chef, mainly working on custom wedding cakes. I decided summer of 2018 to switch careers to taxidermy full-time. I love the beauty & effort that goes into making each customer’s trophy. It’s a constant reminder of priceless memories in the field. I work for D & S Taxidermy is Pasadena. A few of our sponsors are: Redtail Republic Frio Ice Chest Chupacabra Seasoning Rockstarlette Outdoors McCain Rods”.
1) Grass flats hold spotted sea trout
Anglers targeting spotted sea trout will do well to find grass. Submerge the grass flats are the prime fish holding habitat for speckled trout. The shallow grass holds bait fish and crustaceans such as crabs and shrimp. This is the main forage for spotted sea trout and other saltwater species.
2) Trophy spotted sea trout are found in shallow water
It sounds like a paradox, but the largest fish are often found in the shallowest water. Large spotted sea trout are loners. They abandoned the sanctuary of the large schools to strike it out on their own. Once they reach 20 inches in size or so, they have very few predators. Dolphin, sharks, large birds, and large predator fish are there only true enemies at this point. Therefore, they are more comfortable in shallower water than are the smaller trout.
3) Spotted sea trout love shrimp
Shrimp are the primary forage for spotted sea trout for most of their lives. This can be said for many other saltwater species as well. Shrimp are abundant on the flats throughout the southeastern United States. They are rich in protein and are relatively easy prey. Anglers targeting spotted sea trout will do well using live shrimp or artificial lures that imitate shrimp.
4) Large baits will catch trophy spotted sea trout
As trout grow, they gradually switch their diet from shrimp and crustaceans too large bait fish. Ever the opportunist, large trout will rarely turn down a nice juicy shrimp. However, larger bait fish such as grunts, mullet, croakers, and pin fish become more important parts of their diet. Larger trout will have to be less often if they can find more substantial meals. Anglers targeting trophy trout will do well using larger hardbody plugs, soft plastic jerk baits, and live bait fish.
5) Popping corks produce a lot of spotted sea trout
It would be easy to make the argument that more speckled trout have been caught by anglers using a live shrimp under a popping cork than all other methods put together. Popping corks are an incredibly effective technique for trout and other species. It consists of a noisy float, or cork, which makes a popping sound when twitched on the surface. This simulates fish feeding and attracts game fish to the noise.
Once drawn to the sound of the popping cork, the helpless shrimp just dangling there will usually draw a strike. Anglers will it just the float depth so that the shrimp suspense just above the submerge grass or bottom. Other baits besides live shrimp can be used as well. Many anglers of late have switched to using artificial lures, especially soft plastic baits, under the cork. A small live bait fish can be used as well.
6) Spotted sea trout love the jig and grub combo
The combination of a lead head jig and a soft plastic grub body is without a doubt the number one spotted sea trout artificial lure. Size requirements will vary, however a 1/4 ounce jig with a 3 inch to 4 inch grub is an excellent all-around bait. Anglers can choose a tail that resembles the available forage.
Soft plastic tails can imitate crabs, shrimp, and bait fish. Shad tail and twister tail bates have a lot of built in action. Paddle tail and shrimp tail lures require more of a twitch from the angler. Dark colors work well in darker waters. Light colors perform best in clear water. Bright colors such as pink and chartreuse will stand out in dirty water.
7) Spotted sea trout will bite at night
Lighted docks and bridges will attract shrimp and glass minnows at night. This in turn will attract spotted sea trout and other predator fish. They will lurk in the shadows just outside the light, waiting to pounce on their prey. Strong outgoing tides are preferred. The best approach is to anchor up current and 45° from the light. Anglers then cast upstream ahead of the light and allow the current to take the lure or bait to the fish.
8) Oyster bars attract spotted sea trout
While many anglers focus on grass beds, and rightfully so, oyster bars are fantastic spots for speckled trout fishing. The best bars will be shallow on one side while dropping off to several feet of water on the other. Most fish will be caught on the deeper edge as the trout cruise in search of food. Low, incoming tides are best as it will concentrate fish in the deeper areas.
9) Winter spotted sea trout will seek deep water
Spotted sea trout will school up in big numbers in holes in channels in the wintertime. Water temperatures that drop down into the low 50s will send spotted sea trout scurrying for warmer water. This can be the channel of the Intracoastal Waterway, deeper residential canals, holes in the flats, and outside bends and rivers. A free lined live shrimp is tough to beat. Jigs bounced on the bottom will produce fish as well. Anglers locating such as school can experience incredible, nonstop action!
10) Release tools for spotted sea trout fishing
Anglers targeting spotted sea trout should always have a release tool on board. These are clever little devices with a “j” at the end of them. They allow the angler to slide the tool down and grab the hook, then simply shake the trout off. This is best for the fish as the angler never actually has to put his or her hands on the fish. Spotted sea trout are a bit delicate and need to be handled gently.
11) High tides and top water plugs equal trophy spotted sea trout
Topwater plugs fished over oyster bars and shallow flats on the high tide stage will draw strikes from some large spotted sea trout. This is particularly true early and late in the day or on days where there is cloud cover present. As mentioned earlier, larger speckled trout target larger bait fish. A large top water plug realistically mimics a wounded mullet. This is one of the spotted sea trout’s favorite prey.
12) Tides are important when spotted trout fishing
Like most aspects of saltwater fishing, tides are very important when it comes to targeting spotted sea trout. Many anglers fishing the flats prefer two hours before and after the high tide. Outgoing tides are generally more productive when fishing tidal creeks as well as passes and inlets. Extreme low tides and winter will concentrate trout in holes. However, as long as the water is moving, fish can be located and caught someplace.
13) Plugs are effective baits for spotted sea trout
Plugs are not only effective, they are a lot of fun to fish. They tend to entice larger fish than do jigs and other lures. Top water plugs are great early and late in the day. Shallow diving plugs have an erratic action and are excellent for casting to oyster bars and shorelines. Suspending twitch plugs are deadly when fished over the deeper grass flats. Anglers do need to be mindful of the treble hooks.
14) Live grunts and croaker are terrific spotted sea trout baits
Both grunts, also known as pig fish, and croaker are extremely effective baits for spotted sea trout. They will also generally catch larger than average fish. Both of these fish put out distress sounds when hooked. This is the sound of the dinner bell ringing for spotted sea trout! In shallow water these baits are fished under a float. In deeper water in channels a little weight can be added to get them to the bottom.
15) Fly anglers can catch spotted sea trout
Spotted sea trout can most certainly fall prey to anglers casting the long run. In deeper water, and intermediate sink tip line and a Clouser Minnow pattern fly is a good combination. Colors vary, however any bait fish or shrimp colored fly should work well. Anglers targeting trout in shallow water will do best with a floating line and and unweighted fly. 7Wt and 8wt outfits are a good choice.
16) Locate spotted sea trout by trolling
Spotted sea trout will often times scatter out over a large grass flat. It can take a lot of time for anglers to eliminate unproductive water. This is especially true on days without some wind. Trolling is an excellent technique that can be used to minimize the prospecting time. Spoons, shallow diving plugs, and jigs with a bait fish tail can all be used. Anglers should troll slowly, just above idle speed, over various steps until fish are located.
17) Spotted sea trout will be found in larger numbers over deeper grass flats
Grass flats in water between 4 feet deep and 8 feet deep will hold school sized spotted sea trout. These fish will average between 14 inches and 18 inches long. They will school up by size in fairly large numbers over these deeper flats. The deeper water gives them a sense of security. Anglers seeking numbers of fish and good action will do well casting artificial lures and live bait over these areas. Wading is a very productive m
18) Wading is a productive technique when spotted sea trout fishing
Wading is a very productive shallow water trout fishing technique. Spotted sea trout can be quite spooky in shallow water. Boats make noise, no matter how quiet anglers try to be. Wading allows anglers to quietly and thoroughly work a stretch of water.