10 Tips For Catching Sea Trout In Florida

10 Tips For Catching Sea Trout In Florida

10 Tips For Catching Sea Trout In Florida

Speckled Sea Trout are one of many species of fish to catch off of the coast of Florida. In fact, Speckled Sea Trout are so prevalent that you can catch them all the way from the Gulf Waters up to Maryland. These fish have a similar appearance to the freshwater trout many anglers catch across the world, but they are actually a part of the Drum family. We have compiled a list of the 10 Tips For Catching Sea Trout In Florida

A Speckled Sea Trout’s spotted, flat body gives freshwater anglers a sense of home whenever they pull one out of the ocean. They’re an extremely athletic fish that pull no punches when it attacks your bait. Every die-hard saltwater angler knows the joy of catching Speckled Sea Trout.

Here are 10 Tips For Catching Sea Trout In Florida:

Have the right Trout gear

In any sort of fishing, an unprepared angler is already at a disadvantage. Not understanding the necessary rods, reels and baits is going to lead to a frustrating day on the water.

For Speckled Sea Trout, a spin or baitcasting rod is going to work just fine. Be sure the rod has medium or fast action so you don’t tire as quickly when you spend the day targeting the fish.

Use 20-30 pound braid with 15-20 pound leader. This setup will be able to handle any of the speckled Sea Trout you catch. Also, understanding the proper bait is key. Speckled Trout love shrimp and mullet.

Any sort of lure or soft plastic imitation you can find is great. Check out our post on 10 Best Speckled Trout Lures to find a more detailed list.

Know your Water

Speckled Sea Trout want cleaner water. While many anglers compare them to Red Fish, they have their own tendencies. For one, they like clean water. If you can find green or blue water, that is a great place to start.

As soon as you identify the water, the next step is to pick the time of day to fish. These fish are best caught in lower light conditions. Whether that is early morning or near dusk, the larger fish are caught during the darker hours.

Also, these fish don’t want to fight heavily against the current. If they can stay hidden and still, they’re going to feed. Find an area that is close to moving water that the fish could easily flash too if they see the bait.

Find The Bait

The bigger trout are going to start the colder part of the season in channels and deeper basins. As the cold fronts leave, the sea trout can be found around the smaller sea trout or mullet

These baitfish usually hang out near shore or a large piece of structure. If you can find these by a channel or basin, you’re in luck. Sea trout are always going to be near the rest of the bait, so you won’t have to look too far.

Fish Slicks

Slicks are a dead giveaway that the trout are near. These slicks happen when the trout fully attack a school of shrimp or baitfish. The oil from their prey stays on the surface and looks like somebody sprung a leak in their fuel tank.

A good thing to remember is that the smaller the slick, the more recent the fish were feeding. The oil hasn’t had a chance to spread so the fish are likely nearby. They haven’t yet eaten their fill and are more willing to attack your bait.

A great way to find these slicks is to follow the birds. Birds diving at the water showcases that there are baitfish near the surface. Baitfish near the surface mean the trout are feeding. If you can’t spot a slick, look for a flock of birds on the hunt

Be Stealthy!

Similar to freshwater trout, Sea Trout are easily spooked. As a result, you’re going to have to be as inconspicuous as you can possibly be. You’ll need to choose a rod that can handle long casts and fights. You may have to dead drift or wade your way into the best sea trout waters.

Finesse is the name of the game for catching a trophy sea trout.
Anglers often get too anxious when they locate a school of sea trout. They’ll use their trolling motor to get right on top of them and ruin any chance they had at catching the trophy they may have been after. Don’t be overaggressive. Patience is always going to catch more fish than aggression!

Find Seagrass or Oyster Bars

Seagrass and Oyster bars are other great spots to fish for Speckled Sea Trout. Plus, they’re easier to find than slicks since the seagrass shows up on satellite imaging. When doing research, look at the satellite version of the map to try and find the best locations of seagrass. They’re the darker spots within the water.

The seagrass provides the Speckled Sea Trout with a bit of protection and confidence that they can hunt while not being worried about being the prey of a bigger fish. The structure is always going to hold fish, no matter where you are.

Fish at night

Like many saltwater anglers understand, the brighter the moon, the better the bite. If possible, target Speckled Sea Trout in Florida on the night of a full moon. These inshore fish are going to be extremely active due to the large amount of tidal movement caused by the moon.

What To Use For Live Bait

The baitfish will respond accordingly and the big Speckled Sea Trout come out to hunt. Remember, the trophy sea trout are caught in the lower light. A full moon is bright enough to fish but provides enough cover that the trophies don’t know you’re there.

Use live shrimp
Live shrimp are always going to be king for the sea trout. Many anglers try to stay away from live bait, but sometimes you need to catch a few fish for dinner and shrimp is the way to go.

Fish these shrimp near structure under a popping cork. Use a ⅛ or ¼ ounce jig head and be on your way. Pop the cork every 30 or so seconds and set the hook once it’s under. These corks work great when the water is a bit stained. The shrimp will still provide the scent and the cork will create enough of a disturbance on the water that you’ll likely catch fish.

Try Everything

Like most days of fishing, you’re not going to choose the best bait on the first try. Be willing to change up your lure color and depth on a regular basis. If you aren’t catching fish, it’s likely because you haven’t chosen the correct bait. Fishing is a sport that will humble you so you may as well be willing to try a variety of baits instead of being stubborn.

Practice, Practice, Practice

In order to learn the tendencies of a fish, you must be willing to target it for an extended period of time. The longer you fish, the more you learn about the behaviors of your targets.

Speckled Sea Trout have a few guarantees when it comes to their tendencies, but catching them consistently comes with practice.


Speckled Sea Trout fishing in Florida is something every angler must try. These fish are extremely aggressive and fun to target. If you’re interested in an eventful day on the water with serious action, then Speckled Sea Trout are the best fish for you.


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