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Spotted Seatrout, Drum and Yellowmouth Trout


SPOTTED SEATROUT Family Sciaenidae, DRUMS, Cynoscion nebulosus

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; black margin on posterior of tail; no barbels; no scales on the soft dorsal fin; one or two prominent canine teeth usually present at tip of upper jaw.

Where found: INSHORE and/or NEARSHORE over grass, sand on the outer edges of oyster mounds, deep drops, along side bridge piles, rock piles, around current breaks and sandy bottoms; move into slow-moving or still, deep waters in cold weather.

Size: common to 4 pounds on west coast, larger on east coast.

Check your local regulations for size and limit requirements.


WEAKFISH  (Yellowmouth Trout) Family Sciaenidae, DRUMS,Cynoscion regalis

Description: dark olive or blue-green back; sides covered in tones of blue, purple, lavender, gold and copper; irregular diagonal rows of vaguely-defined dark spots appear above the lateral line; 1 to 2 prominent canine teeth usually present at tip of upper jaw; black margin on tip of the tongue; pelvic and anal fins yellow; pectoral fins olive on outside, yellow underneath; mouth yellow inside.

Where found: an Atlantic coast fish, possibly found in the extreme southeastern Gulf; adults move INSHORE and north during warm months inhabiting the surf, inlets, bays, channels and estuaries; adults move OFFSHORE and south during cold months; juveniles inhabit estuaries which serve as nurseries.

Size: 2 to 3 pounds.

Check your local regulations for size and limit requirements.


BOTH of these species can be caught in the same places, using the same bait or lures and at the same time of the year.  As a rule the Weakfish (Yellow Mouth) are smaller than the Seatrout but usually more aggressive and pull harder.

Wow, what a winter we have had this year.  It never got real cold but the cold north winds blew way too much for me (it could have been worse, I could be in Fargo North Dakota). With the long period of high winds and low temperatures the water temperatures fell to an amazingly cold 49 degrees and hovered in the low fifties for about three months.
Well, now that the temps are hitting the 60's we are on our way to warmer water and better days on the water. With the warming water the fish have started to act like they are supposed to and are feeding more often that once a week.  This has happened just in time for some trout action to fire off and here are some ways that you might be able to put a few in the box for a nice meal.
I like to start by loading my boat with several tackle bags, each with an assortment of offerings. You can bet that I will have a box of MirrOlures, a box of soft plastics and a few spoons. The MirrOlures that I will have will consist of my all time favorite, The Provoker. This lure can be fished on the surface or you can work it so it dives and wobbles to about four feet. The plus with this lure is that when you are working it under the surface and come in contact with an obstacle, you can stop turning the reel handle and it will float back to the surface. I like to fish this lure in water depths from a couple of feet to seven or eight feet deep. I usually fish this lure by using my Minn Kota 3-X trolling motor to ease the boat along the shoreline, keeping the boat as far away from it as I can cast. I do believe that if you try to fish as far from the fish as possible, that you will be less likely to spook them. I cast the lure as close to the shoreline as possible and as soon as it hits the water I start turning the reel handle slowly and with my rod tip I make a twitching motion. This action keeps the lure under the surface from a foot or so to about four feet and with the constant turning of the reel handle the lure sort of darts from side to side with tight action. You can also stop turning the handle every few seconds and the lure will come to the surface. Try to break up your retrieval pattern by adding a jerk of the rod tip or maybe a couple of jerks. This will make the lure act as if it is wounded and sometimes this is all it takes to entice a fish to strike your lure. 

I will also have several MirrOlure Slow sinking baits as the Catch 2000 and the Catch 2000 Jr. These baits sink and can be worked slow or fast to achieve some string stretching action.   The MirrOlure broken back lipped lures also work well this time of the year for Mr. Trout.  Color is sort of up to your own preference, but I usually throw chartreuse, white, black back silver sides, green back silver sides and the blue back with chartreuse sides. I am sure that you have caught trout on just about every color out there but these are the colors that I have the most confidence in and remember what I have said about "confidence". When you have confidence in a lure, you will fish it longer and harder than one you are not sure about.

For the soft plastics, I have several styles and colors that have consistently worked to produce good catches for me.
If I am wanting my soft plastic to get down, say 4 to 10 feet, I like a Jaw Jacker 1/4 to 1/2 ounce jig head and on the hook I will fish a Sea Striker Trout Killer, an Exude Shrimp, a Sea Striker 4 inch trout grub or a Mr. Wiffle 4 inch grub. I start be slipping the hook in the head of the lure and running it about 1 1/2 inches through the length of the body and then out. You want the lure to go from the head of the hook to just short of the bend. After you have done this, drop the lure in the water next to the boat and pull it along to be sure that it does not spin in circles of have an unnatural action. This lure can be fished from the edges to water as deep as you want.  Fishing this lure can be done several ways. You can fish it just off of the bottom, giving it a shrimp like action. Popping the rod tip enough to make the lure sort of jump up about a foot and then settle back down. You can fish it where it slowly moves across the bottom like a bait that is crawling along the bottom. You can vertical jig along bridge pilings or in deep holes. One very effective way is to toss it out, let it sink to the bottom and slowly work it back to you. These soft plastics are very effective this time of the year and will just about catch everything that swims.

 Soft plastics on a bare hook, are deadly for trout when fished over shallow rock piles, oyster mounds and along the edges. I usually like this method on the higher tides. Sea Striker Trout Killers, five or six inch long trout grubs, four and six inch long Mr. Wiffles and Exude RT Slugs all work great with this style. You will need a Daiichi Bleeding Bait Copperhead Hook, in 5/0 size.

Tie your line directly to the eye of the hook as you normally would. Take the soft plastic and push the curly wire just in the nose of the bait. Once you have it started in the soft plastic, spin the bait in a clockwise motion, keeping pressure pushing the bait toward the curly wire on the hook. As you spin the bait the wire will go further and further into the bait until it comes to the eye of the hook. As you are turning (screwing) the bait onto the hook, be sure that you try to keep the curly wire in the center of the bait, not allowing it to screw out of the side. Now take the bait and bend it in the middle so you have room to insert the barb of the hook. You want to hook this bait so the wire curly part is in the head and the hook in the bait so the bait is straight.

Once you have this rigged it is best fished with as light of a line a possible. I like 10 or 15 pound test 2 pound diameter Power Pro. With this thin line, you can cast this rig a long distance. I also like a 7 foot rod like a Shakespeare Intrepid or Shakespeare Graphite medium or medium light action. These rods give you the rod loading capability to cast light lures a long distance.
Now that you are rigged up and have the equipment to fish a new way, drop your Minn Kota trolling motor in the water and start chunking and winding. After you cast this over the rocks, along the grass edges or over a big oyster mound, give about 1 or 2 seconds to start to sink. Don't let it fall down in the rocks, just let it sink about a few inches. this rig will come to the surface when you work it and most of your strikes are going to come as it starts to sink back down.  I like to twitch this bait. I cast it up near the edge, let it sink a little the start slowly turning the reel handle and gently twitch your rod tip. You want the bait to sort of spin and jerk as you come back towards the boat. I like to make the lure move about four to six inches with each twitch. Once you get this style perfected you might not ever want to fish any other way as the excitement of the strike is sometimes just like a top water explosion. This method is one that you have to keep watching your lure as sometimes the fish will be all over it and you will not feel the strike until it is too late.
Tossing spoons for trout has become more and more popular in the past few years and here are a few ways to make this work for you. Sea Striker has come out with a Clark Spoon that has colored flash material adhered to one side. As this spoon is retrieved the action will drive the trout crazy. The spoons come in sliver with red, chartreuse, silver, and I think blue flash on them. I either toss the spoon with or without a trailer. If I use a trailer, I like to slip a 3 inch trout grub on the hook. This added weight will allow you to make long cast and gives this spoon an action that you might want to jump in and eat. I toss it out, let it sink a little and start a slow retrieval back to the boat. Every now and then stop winding and twitch it a little or change the rate of retrieval.  So far I have had the best luck with the chartreuses flash and a white 3 inch grub as the trailer.  The bite is like a subtle touch then the rod just feels heavy.

For those that like live bait, there is the Jaw Jacker Jig with a shrimp or mud minnow. This can be fished around creek mouths, oyster mounds, deep drops or trolled.

Article written by Captain Jim Hammond of Jacksonville, Florida.





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