Spotted Seatrout “Everyone’s Favorite”

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Posted by: Captain Woody - Comments Off on Spotted Seatrout “Everyone’s Favorite”

It’s almost that time of year when Sea Trout begin showing up and the bite should pick up especially as the water temperatures drop. Here are a few tips for fishing these wintertime favorites as they begin showing up on the inshore flats.

To start let’s go over the rules and regulations for fishing Florida’s Spotted Sea Trout. First, there are closed seasons, size restrictions and daily bag limits. And if that’s not confusing enough there are three separate regions the Northeast, Northwest, and Southern. Not done yet… check this scenario.

It’s important to know where you are when it comes to the zones that separate the regions. Let’s say, you’re fishing an area near a northwest, northeast or southern dividing line. If you launched delton-zoein a particular region, during an open season, catch and keep Spotted Sea Trout, then venture into a closed season region, you have violated the law and could receive a citation from the Florida Wildlife Commission.

For some reason, which many can’t figure out, those making the rules saw a need for having different regions and bag limits. I’m sure they have pages of justification and studies to back up their decisions. But one might think a little common sense could prevail. Don’t get me wrong I’m not against fishing regulations, in fact I’m a staunch supporter of catch and release and the measures taken to protect our natural resources… but come on, let’s keep it a little simpler.

Since Trout are semi-territorial staying or returning to the same areas provided there is food. A good rule when targeting Trout is locating good grass flats with a sandy or rocky bottom and visible presence of food. Next look for shallow bars or potholes especially those adjacent to deep water drop offs or ledges. Trout love chasing bait into shallow water and attacking it from below. This works in their favor since these shallow areas and potholes act like fish pens where they push the bait up trapping it against the surface.

As you approach a likely area continually scan the water keeping an eye open for feeding fish. If you find them watch closely to determine if they’re randomly feeding on bait schools, attacking anything that moves, or causally picking off strays? All this helps you decide how you’re going to proceed.

Fishing topwater lures is a hoot on tightly grouped feeding fish that normally hit anything that moves. When working a group of actively feeding fish present your lure faster than normal the key being quick, erratic action, and retrieves because it’s now an impulse strike. You want them to strike without getting a good look.

On the other hand, scattered fish feeding over a wide area represents a normal feeding time situation making it a bit tougher, but the results can still be spectacular once you find the key. This condition normally has a number of associated conditions and is usually distinguished by cloud cover or high winds resulting in reduced light and visibility, large amounts of food scattered throughout the area, and rising surface temperatures. As is always the case, these fish have feed for sometime and are likely gorged by the time you find them. Although they’ve have had their fill they may still want some desert. That being the case, now is the time to rethink your presentation.

Instead of fast and erratic it’s time to slow down, which for many is extremely difficult often resulting in frustration. Keep reminding yourself they are highly selective because they are not hungry. Therefore, making the lure look as inviting as possible is the key. For this reason strikes often come when the lure moves slightly after sitting idle or wobbles slowly across the surface. Another method is using subsurface suspending lures or soft plastics rigged to gradually drop. Remember, when using soft plastics almost every strike happens on the fall and is often extremely delicate so unless you’re paying close attention you will miss it.

Too Much Pressure:

Trout like many other species stop feeding or move off when pressured, either by boats, anglers or predators and if badly spooked they gone for the day. With the numbers of boats and anglers racing around our waters, you might think fish would become accustomed to the sound of big engines. However depending on the location, water clarity and depth a main engine still startles them, so try approaching the area using your trolling motor or drifting. Always stopping well before your target area; stop on top of the fish and they’re gone. The most common mistake happens when someone carelessly roars into a good area, shuts down the big engine and throws out that 15 lb. anchor. Then they sit there wondering why the fish don’t bite.

Regardless of the conditions just because the bite slows down don’t assume the party’s over. The fish are there, just recovering from their last big feed. Kind of us after a large meal… just can’t get out of the recliner. Enjoy the fact you’re on the water, slow down, relax, pay attention to what you’re doing and fish until the bites resumes. It’s called fishing…not catching.

This article is owned by Capt. Woody Gore and is copyright protected. Permission to republish this article in print or online must be granted by Capt. Gore. wgore@ix.netcom.com