Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Species spotlight: Spotted Seatrout

Charlie and son with a Trout. PHOTOS BY CAPT. RAPPS/COASTAL BREEZE NEWS

Charlie and son with a Trout. PHOTOS BY CAPT. RAPPS/COASTAL BREEZE NEWS

FOLLOW THE FISH 

Capt. Pete Rapps 

Pete@CaptainRapps.com

Spotted Seatrout are widely known as Speckled trout, Specs, Trout or Spotted Weakfish. Spotted Sea-trout are a common estuarine fish found in the southern coasts of the United States along the south Atlantic and all coastal areas of the Gulf of Mexico.

Contrary to its name “Spotted Sea-trout”, they actually are not a member of the Trout family at all, however, they are a member of the drum family (Sciaenidae).

Adults can reach 19-25 inches in length and 1-4 pounds in weight, however they are most common in our area up to 21 inches. They are silver in color with olive-green tints on their back, and numerous small black dots which extend over their dorsal fins and onto their tails. Their lower jaw is larger than the upper jaw which has two prominent canine teeth. In general, specks have an elongated body with a large mouth. The

Dean with a Spotted Seatrout.

Dean with a Spotted Seatrout.

diet of speckled trout consists of small crustaceans, shrimp, & small fish such as pilchards & pinfish.

They are one of the premier game fish of our shallow water grass flats year round, and in the cooler months can be found in just about any inshore and back country area that has some sort of bottom structure. The season permitted to keep Trout has recently been extended from just 10 months of the year, to now open all 12 months. (Always check www.myFWC. com to confirm local up to date regulations). When hooked on light spinning tackle, it will give you quite a show as it dances & thrashes wildly on the surface as it attempts to regain its freedom.

I like to fish for them using light weight spinning rods, about seven feet in length, a light 2500 series spinning reel with 10lb. braided line. I typically use about three

Brian Olson and a nice Backwater Trout.

Brian Olson and a nice Backwater Trout.

feet of 20lb. fluorocarbon leader. Trout will gladly accept many different baits. They really are about the least picky eaters out there.

I like to use 3/8oz. bucktail type jigs with some glitter in their tail and tipped with a tiny piece of shrimp, Berkley Gulp shrimp on a 3/8 oz jig head, DOA Terror eyz & C.A.L. baits, and popping corks with either live shrimp, gulp shrimp, or DOA shrimp. Hit your favorite spots on the incoming tide and you will be rewarded with some nice Spotted Sea Trout!

Capt. Rapps has been fishing the Chokoloskee area for just over 20 years. He offers expert guided, light tackle, near shore, and backwater fishing trips in the 10000 Islands of the Everglades National Park. You can book a charter right online 24/7. See the online availability calendar, booking info, videos, recipes, seasonings, and first class web site at www.CaptainRapps.com and you can reach him at 239-571-1756. 

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