Fishing for Speckled Sea Trout is without a doubt one of my favorite species to target.
Explosive top water bites and the beautiful colors on these fish make them a spectacular game fish! Their yellow mouths lined with teeth and big fangs make them an ultimate ambush predator.
Small trout feed primarily on shrimp and small bait fish. The smaller fish will be males and fish over 20 inches will almost always be female. On my boat, big female sows are ALWAYS released as they can drop hundreds of thousands more eggs than younger smaller females. If I decided to keep a few for the fry pan then I prefer them 15-18′ long. Anything larger goes back to swim another day.
Peak fishing for Sea Trout begins in early spring and runs through late fall. In the winter months, Specks tend to look for more stable water temperatures in deeper water. When targeting Sea Trout during peak season I fish rips around oyster rakes, creek mouths, mud flats or sand bars. Sea Trout can be caught on the bottom, suspended or feeding on the surface.
When trying to locate fish, casting up current and covering the whole water column can be very effective, bouncing the bait off the bottom. The 1/4 oz jig head rigged with soft plastic baits like Z MAN paddle tails work best for this tactic.
When fishing over oysters or structure, you can’t go wrong with a trusty popping cork. I rig my (floats) corks with 18-36″ 15 lb fluorocarbon leader and a VUDU or D.O.A shrimp, casting up current and letting the bait sweep along a grass edge or seam. Giving a sharp pop, pop, can be lethal fishing around grass shorelines.
If targeting large trophy female trout, throwing big top water plugs at dusk and dawn is the ticket. Big sows are meat eaters. Not to say you can’t catch a big trout on a shrimp, but if you’re after a true trophy, it’s hard to beat large Top Dogs or Zara Spooks.
I strongly encourage anglers to crimp the barbs on their lures with treble hooks for their safety and for the survival of the fish, as well as wetting your hands before coming in contact with their scales. I hope these few tips will increase your success this season.
Captain Jeff Lattig