The Speckled Trout, also known as the Spotted Seatrout or Specks, has been a client favorite this month here in Tampa Bay. Their bite inshore and on the flats has been unbeatable, making for some action-packed and nonstop fun charters lately!
As their name implies, the Speckled Trout native to Tampa and the gulf coast of Florida are easy to identify thanks to the black spots that line their sides, backs, dorsal fins, and tail. They also have a nice, shiny pair of large canine teeth at the tip of their upper jaw, so watch where you put your fingers! An average adult trout can easily reach lengths of up to 24 inches and typically weighs between 10 - 12 pounds. The record for the biggest trout in Florida weighed in at a whopping 17 pounds! To keep a Speckled Trout caught in Tampa Bay and the surrounding waterways, it needs to be between 15” - 19” and each angler is allowed up to 3 per day. Luckily for us, their season is open year round!
The best places to reel in a Speckled Trout are in the shallow waters of the flats and seagrass beds. They prefer to stick close to the mangroves near the shore, although you can also find them hiding out in deeper grassy holes. During the winter months when the inshore waters cool off a bit, they will sometimes venture into water as deep as 15 feet. However, the best time of year to target them is from March to November because this is when they congregate inshore to spawn. Dangle any live baitfish, shrimp, or crabs in front of them and you’ll be sure to get a bite!