Spotted sea trout are mostly found inshore. They can be found on grass flats, near bridges, piers, jetties, docks, in the surf, in bays and in tidal creeks. Sea trout will be found inshore year-round, which is one of the reasons why they are so popular among saltwater anglers.
How to Catch sea Trout
You can catch sea trout many different ways. The grass flats are usually the best place to target sea trout. The tides usually dictate when and how they are going to feed around the flats. A high tide will move fish onto the flats, while a low tide will push fish off of the flats and into the deeper water nearby. Tidal changes are key as moving water triggers sea trout into feeding. Sea trout can be caught on shrimp, crabs and many different types of bait fish.
While there are some huge trout out there, the average fish is not going to be a giant. You can fish with medium to medium heavy tackle with line in the 14 to 20 pound range and you should be fine for most situations. Depending on the size of the fish and the area you are fishing, you may need to go slightly heavier or you may also be able to go with lighter gear if you are catching small trout with the kids. Adding a 20 pound leader is always a good idea in saltwater. If the toothy critters are around, you may need to add a heavier leader to avoid the bite-offs.
Eating Sea Trout
Sea trout taste good and the meat has a nice texture. Some anglers prefer to put these fish on ice immediately after catching them to preserve the quality of the meat. You can eat sea trout many different ways. Anglers will bake, grill and fry spotted sea trout. Speckled trout is the most popular type of sea trout that people eat because they are so prevalent in many of the popular saltwater destinations.
The tides can greatly impact the fishing when targeting trout. You are almost always going to have better fishing opportunities during the tidal changes. In some areas, you will have better fishing during the low water times and at other times, you are going to have better fishing during the higher tides. Trout will be eating when the water is low or high. The important part is to figure out the areas where the trout will be found during these different water levels. Moving water is key though, so get out there before the tide turns into a slack tide or start fishing as the water just starts moving again.
The time of day can definitely affect the fishing. Low light conditions are usually better, however, trout are pretty easy to catch and they will usually feed all day long during the tidal changes. You may experience a better bite in the morning or evening, but if you know where the fish are hanging out and you fish during the tidal changes, you should be able to catch some trout.
The time of year will definitely affect the fishing for sea trout, however, these fish are inshore fish and they will be found in the inshore areas throughout the seasons. Spring and fall probably offer the best fishing in most of the areas that are known for sea trout. Summer can be tough at times during the day with the heat. Winter fishing can be tough too, however, during a warm front, the fishing can be outstanding in the winter. It also depends how far south you are fishing. If you are in south Florida, the bite can remain strong all winter, where the bite can be tougher farther north as cold fronts push through.
Spotted sea trout spawn multiple times throughout the extended spawning season, which runs from late spring through early fall. Research shows that these fish will primarily come back to the same estuaries that they were born from to spawn. Sea trout spawn overnight in shallow water, typically from 3 to 6 feet deep.
Fishing piers can definitely be productive areas for catching spotted sea trout. You won’t find consistent numbers of sea trout on the piers like you will on the grass flats, but sea trout will move under the piers to find an easy meal. If you happen to be on the piers when sea trout move into the area, you can catch them with live shrimp and live pinfish.
Spotted sea trout are not very common on the beaches, but there are often times that they can be found in the surf. If you are a surf angler, you will know when these fish are roaming the beaches. Sea trout will be very active, especially on an incoming tide. They can easily be caught with a variety of artificial lures, live shrimp and live pinfish. The deeper troughs located along the surf will usually be the best spots to fish for sea trout.