Speckled Trout

Speckled Trout

Speckled trout are a sought after species for sport anglers in many parts of the country. Texas inter-coastal is especially a terrific estuary for the propagation of this species as they migrate between the Gulf of Mexico and the inter-coastal
waters and bay areas behind the barrier islands.
 
Speckled trout (Cynoscion nebulosus) are also known as spotted trout, specks, and mustard mouths in the Texas coast.  Surprisingly they are not part of the trout family as most people believe, but part of the croaker family and first cousin to the drum family.

Bait Choice

Live baits are known to give better results in catching a nice trout like croaker, shrimp, mullet, pin perch, mud minnows and others. Artificial baits work good as well under a float or popping cork rig.  Several lures on the market that will help you target speckled trout and with time and practice you'll develop your favorites to use in different circumstances.

Locating Trout

Speckled trout are found throughout the shorelines of  the Gulf of Mexico and bay areas. Texas bay areas seem to be exceptional in providing a terrific habitat for this species.
 
Learning their patterns will help in the best time to target speckled trout. Typically, they will begin their spawning period in March or early spring time as they migrate and prepare to spawn.  In the warmer temperatures they will school up in shallows, grassy areas especially around structure.
 
Watch and look for the bait fish near shorelines and/or birds working the area.  Oil slicks that smell like watermelon or a sweet smell means trout are feeding. Oyster reefs provide a nice habitat for these speckled trout and provide a sense of protection.

The larger trophy sized speckled trout are usually loners and only join a school for a short time to propagate. In targeting these larger trout you will need a lot of patience in learning the habitat these big girls like to hang out in. Baffin Bay seems to produce several of these larger sized speckled trouts because of the several rocks below a shallow surface.
 
As the temperature drops the speckled trout move to deeper and/or Gulf of Mexico waters. When the water temperature rises they move to shallower waters including the bay and inter-coastal waters.
 

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Types of Fishing

Several different types  of fishing when going after speckled trout.
  • Wade fishing is popular among anglers where they get out of the boat after arriving at their fishing spot and slowly walk in 2-4 feet of water casting and retrieving in several different directions. This allows the angler to cover more territory without spooking the speckled trout.
  • Drift fishing works great in covering a large area. This technique simply requires you to turn motor off and let the current of the water slowly push you over a desired fishing hole. Drift sock may be required.
  • Anchor at your favorite spot and work it.
  • Surf, Pier and Jetty Fishing.
All of the above are great ways to enjoy a great day of speckled trout fishing.

Cleaning and Filleting

Once you've caught your  speckled trout for the day, it's time to head back home and clean-up. So, how to you clean and fillet the speckled trout? There are a few different techniques you can use, but we like the way it's shown in the video provided.  Learning and practicing this technique can really save you a lot of time and give you the most out of your speckled trout fillet.

Conservation

The Harte Institute located at TAMCC performed a study to determine the mortality of speckled trout after they had been caught and released.  Harte Institute inserted a tracking device into several mature speckled trout to learn more about there habits and study this popular species. 
 
JustGoFishin was lucky enough to catch t
he process on video as they inserted the tracking devices into their abdomen.  You can learn more about this study and others at their website, Fisheries and Ocean Health Lab.
 
Practicing conservation is a great way to preserve our fisheries of speckled trout here on the Texas coast. When we catch a trophy trout we like to get a nice picture of the catch and release back into her habitat.
 

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