The only thing better than feeling a speckled trout on your line is seeing one in the boat. You can hook one with almost any set up, a stick and piece of string can hook a fish. But it takes the right set up to finish the fight in your favor. Let’s see what you need to hook and land this favorite game fish time and again.
Speckled trout, which you may also know as the spotted trout, are a favorite game fish from the Gulf of Mexico to Cape Cod. One of the reasons they are so popular, aside from tasting pretty good, is the fact that anglers of all skill levels can learn to tackle them successfully. They will hit topwaters, popper corks, suspended baits, jig and live bait – although popper corks and live bait are the favorites. The key is having the right set up to ensure that when you hook one you can successfully land it.
Speckled trout grow quickly so it is not uncommon for a year-old fish to be 10”-12”. However, while there are plenty of 4-8 lb. fish to be had most anglers spend their time pulling in smaller 2-4 lbs. specimens. This means that you need a set up capable of overpowering the large one, but there is no need to overdo it. Leave the striper gear at home and opt for a nice medium level in-shore replacement instead.
The Ideal Set Up
Rod: 7+ foot medium action. Any shorter than this and you will be sacrificing casting ability. A 7 ½ ft single piece is what many experienced speckled trout anglers opt for. For those traveling there are many quality 3-piece rods available in this class that are long enough to get the job done but able to be broken down small enough for easy stowing.
Reel: medium size spinning reel with a high gear ration, something in the 2500-3500 class is most common. Although it is possible to catch speckled trout on bait casters it is not as versatile as the right spinning combo.
A newcomer that is raising some eyebrows is the Piscifun Carbon X 3000. It offers a 6.1:1 gear ratio, 22 lb. maximum drag, line capacity of 20 lb. (braided) / 10 lb. (mono). Plus, it only weighs 8 ounces so it will not wear out your arm after a long day of casting and retrieving. Even though the Carbon X is the latest offering from a relatively new name in fishing reels it is quickly making a name for itself as a quality, affordable alternative to much higher priced competitors. If there area you are fishing in holds large red fish, which are a common neighbor to the speckled trout when in shared range, a little extra umpf might be needed. In this case you might want to upgrade to the Piscifun Carbon X 4000. It offers the same ratio but higher line capacity (30 lb. braid, 12 lb. mono).
By Joshua Taylor
Owner of Salty Scales