It will never cease to amaze me how many people when trying to catch Speckled Trout don’t take the time to check on tides, the moon stages, or even think about the temperature of the water.
Speckled Trout, also known as Spotted Sea Trout, are very temperamental fish and are very sensitive to changes in water temperature as well as barometric pressure. Go fishing for them right before an approaching front in the Fall and you will see what I mean as they will eagerly eat anything you throw at them. If you try to fish for Specks during the day when the moon is full you are likely not to have much luck because they have been feeding all night, particularly in the summer when it is hot.
That brings me to another subject, the water temperature. Aside from trying to catch Speckled Trout or really just about any other fish in the middle of the day in Summer, even fishing for them in the late afternoon will not bring as good of results as fishing for them in the early morning beginning right before sunrise. This is due to the cooling off of the water overnight which allows the fish to become more active.
One of the biggest tips I can give you is to look for grass flats. These areas are loaded with bait so gamefish like Specks and Redfish love to hang out in these areas looking for a quick meal. You will have really good luck if you find grass flats with sandy areas in the middle of them. Cast your bait past the sandy area and troll over it and if there is a trout in the area you will surely get a hit.
If you live in an area that has narrow passes or outflows you really are in luck. Set yourself up on the outgoing side on an outgoing tide and you are sure to catch your limit quickly as the trout sit there waiting for the baitfish and shrimp that come pouring out. I fished an area called Rollover Pass near Galveston, Texas where we limited out every day. If you have the opportunity to fish there for Specks I highly recommend it on an outgoing tide.
I live in the panhandle of Florida in a small town called Navarre, we don’t really have any areas with narrow passes but we do have a lot of canals which brings me to another tip. Just as Speckled Trout are sensitive to heat they are also sensitive to cold. In the winter the fish move into the shallow waters of creeks and canals and you can catch them there fairly easily. I have friends who are net fishermen that catch dozens of them by accident in the winter while casting their nets for mullet.
Now, let me leave you with some bait suggestions. If you are a fan of artificial bait I recommend either a white Mirrorlure with a red head or a clear Cocohoe minnow with a red tail. These have always been successful for me when using artificial bait.
For live bait, which I prefer, you cannot go wrong with live shrimp or pinfish. Pinfish are my personal preference because they last longer and typically catch bigger fish plus you don’t have the problem of other unwanted fish eating them like you do with shrimp. Because these fish are so finicky you also want to use a small hook so that they don’t feel it right off the bat. Specks have a propensity to carry the bait for a distance before swallowing so I always leave my bail open when using a spinning reel and give them some line before setting the hook.
I hope you found these Speckled Trout fishing tips useful. Even though I titled this post for fishing in Florida these tips will apply to any waters that Specks inhabit. Some other great areas of the country to catch monster Specks include the Laguna Madre north of Brownsville, Texas and Sarasota Bay on the Southwest Gulf Coast of Florida.