SPOTTED SEATROUT - Cynoscion nebulosus FamilySciaenidae, DRUMS
Description: dark gray or green above, with sky-blue
tinges shading to silvery and white below;
numerous distinct round black spots on back,
extending to the dorsal fins and tail; no barbels; no scales on the soft dorsal fin; one or
two prominent canine teeth usually present at
tip of upper jaw.
Similar fish: other seatrout.
Where found: INSHORE and/or NEARSHORE over grass, shell, sand, and sandy mud bottoms; move into slow-moving or still, deep waters in cold weather.
Size: common to 4 pounds.
Remarks: matures during first or second year and spawns INSHORE from March through November, often in association with seagrass beds; lives mainly in estuaries and moves only short distances; adults feed mainly on shrimp and small fish; prefers water temperatures between 58 and 81 degrees F, may be killed if trapped in shallow water during cold weather; longevity 8 to 10 years.
The spotted seatrout, commonly called speckled trout, is one of the
most popular sport fish along the Texas coast. The fish is a member of
the family along with the Atlantic croaker, red drum, black drum, and
sand seatrout. Its abundance, willingness to hit natural and artificial
baits, and fine eating qualities make it an extremely popular fish.
They are most common in the shallow bays during spring and summer. As water temperatures decline during fall, fish move into deeper bay waters and the Gulf of Mexico.
Small trout feed primarily on small crustaceans. Medium-size trout feed on shrimp and small fish. Large fish feed almost exclusively on other fish such as mullet, pinfish, and menhaden.
The most popular tackle for spotted seatrout is the popping cork rig. The best bait for catching trout is live shrimp and croaker. Live fish such as mullet or pinfish and dead shrimp can also be effective. Artificial baits are effective for catching trout the year round. Baits such as silver spoons, fish-shaped plugs, shrimplike plastic worms and jigs are good.
During warm weather, fish shallow areas early in the morning and late in the evening. In the heat of the day, move to deeper areas such as the drop offs around grass flats, channels or around oyster reefs. When the weather is moderate, the fish may remain in shallow water a greater portion of the day. During very cold weather, try fishing the deeper harbors and channels. When fishing from a boat, look for groups of feeding gulls. Trout will chase shrimp or small fish to the surface, which attracts the gulls.