The Spotted Seatrout, Cynoscion nebulosus
Streamlined shape; large mouth with prominent canine teeth; color gray or silvery with many prominent black spots on sides. Background may be quite dark, or gold, when fish are in back bays or streams.
SIZE: Usually 1-2 pounds; common on both coasts to about four pounds. Largest fish, both in average size and maximum size, come from East Central region, where fish to 10 pounds are taken at times and where potential is to 15 pounds or more. Gulf Coast trout are considered large at 5-8 pounds, but can top 10.World and Florida records 17 pounds, 7 ounces.
FOOD VALUE: A table favorite.
GAME QUALITIES: Not exceedingly strong or active, but a hard striker on a variety of baits and quite sporty on light gear. Showy, surface-thrashing fighter but not a long runner. Sometimes jumps.
TACKLE AND BAITS: Spinning, baitcasting and fly tack- le are all effective and sporting. Best natural baits are live shrimp, live baitfish and strips of cut Mullet or Pinfish. Most popular lures are bait-tail jigs, swimming plugs and topwater plugs. Poppers are productive fly- rod lures over the flats; large streamers work in all waters.
FISHING SYSTEMS: Drifting; Still Fishing; Casting.
RANGE: All Florida coasts.
HABITAT: Spotted Seatrout can be caught in virtually any of Florida’s inshore waters, from the outside surf to far up coastal rivers, and, at times, in fairly deep Gulf water. Most commonly caught from spring through fall on shallow grassy flats and in grass-lined channels and holes. During cold snaps, they run far up coastal rivers.