- Closed Season*: None
*Species catch and release ONLY through May 2020
- Size Limit: More than 15″ and less than 20″ total length (may possess one over 20″ included in bag limit)
- Bag Limit: 4 fish per person per day
The spotted (or speckled) seatrout is actually not a trout at all – in fact, the ‘trout’ to which we will be referring is actually in the same family as redfish and black drum, colloquially known as ‘croakers’ due to the drumming noise they make while out of the water. Spotted seatrout are unique in that they rarely migrate very far from the estuaries in which they are spawned. Spawning occurs inshore from March through November mostly near seagrass beds and mangroves. Since spotted seatrout often hang out near the same places they spawn and feed, anywhere with a grassy or muddy bottom is likely to be a hot spot for this fish. And, since they tend to frequent the same locations, make sure you mark your coordinates if you had a lucky day with spotted seatrout because more than likely you’ll get lucky at the same spot again.
Spotted seatrout feed most heavily from early to mid-morning on mostly live shrimp. They’re ambush predators, hitting their prey hard and fast with their sharp teeth before swallowing it whole. For this reason, be sure to set the hook appropriately as soon as you feel a trademark hard hit. When feeding, spotted seatrout regurgitate part of their food and the oil slick it leaves behind on the surface will alert an attentive angler to their whereabouts.
Spotted seatrout are very delicate creatures, especially their paper-thin mouths. You’ll want to bring any keepers in with a net to ensure the trout’s mouth doesn’t rip from the hook as it’s brought into the boat. Return any unwanted or illegal fish as promptly and gently as possible so the species can retain a healthy population.