The Spotted Seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus) is a common eustarian saltwater game fish, which is not a Trout as the name suggests but rather a member of the drum fish cohort. It belongs to the Sciaenidae family. They are popular for their co-operative behavior and grainy white meat, caught by both commercial and recreational fishermen. According to the NOAA, spotted seatrout are in the top ten species for recreational fishing in the United States. They are also referred to as seatrout, speckled seatrout, spotted squeteague, spotted trout, and spotted weakfish.
About the spotted seatrout Fish
The Spotted Seatrout are in dark gray or green to black fading off to a pale white belly. As the name suggest they have distinct black spots all over their bodies on the back, fins and tails. They have a rather elongates, shimmery body with black margin along the edge of tail; soft dorsal (back) fin with no scales; and one or two prominent canine teeth usually present at the tip of the upper jaw.
Average size of spotted seatrout
Spotted seatrout males average 19 inches (48 cm) in length. Females are 25 inches (63 cm) long on average. Males and females weigh 2 to 3 pounds (1 to 1.3 kg) generally.
The spotted seatrout grows to a maximum length of 39 inches (100 cm) and a maximum weight of 17.5 pounds (7.9 kg).
Where to find the spotted seatrout
The spotted seatrout are native to the \western Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, ranging from Massachusetts to the Yucatan peninsula.Spotted seatrout prefer shallower bays and estuaries with oyster beds and seagrass beds that attract prey species.
During speing and summer one can find them in shallow bays, moving into deeper waters during fall.As water temperatures warm in the spring the fish move back into the shallows of the primary and secondary bays.
They are seen in deeper rivers and bayous during periods of low rainfall.
Best live and artificial bait
It is a widely known fact that the Spotted Seatrout are attracted to live baits than any other artificial baits. The live shrimp is the best bet to get them seatrouts.Live baits gives good numbers and quality fishes compared to artificial baits which at times might not be successful.Live fish such as mullet or pinfish and dead shrimp can also be effective.
Large trout do not feed often and few anglers like to use 12-inch live mullet for bait.
Both grunts, also known as pig fish, and croaker are extremely effective baits for spotted sea trout. In shallow water these baits are fished under a float. In deeper water a little weight can be added to the shrimp get them to the bottom.
Popping floats : used in shallower waters, immitae the feeding fish with a characteristic “pop” sound.
Slip floats: used in deep waters of upto 20 feet or more. As the float drifts along with the current, the bait, 20 feet below, drifts along at the same speed and at the designated depth allowing baits to be suspended right near the trout.
Free lined: free line allows the live shrimp to be hooked to the line with neither weight nor float and let it drift along the water current. This method can work well drifting a mud or grass flat as well.
Jig heads: jig heads allow the cats to be longer distance and allows better control over the bait. Hook the shrimp through the tail vertically, so that the jig head brings it through the water backward and in an upright position. You also have the ability with a jig head to move the bait in a vertical “jigging” motion, up and down, imitating feed fish.
Jig heads with plastic trailers, grubs, or imitation shrimp,pink/chartreuse color (electric chicken) are used commonly.
Go for bright colored fish-like lures like hot pink,white,silver during the cooler months although they are effective year round.
A bucktail fastened to the spoon with the hook or a bucktail and hook trailed to 12 to 18 inches behind the spoon is often successful.