Spotted seatrout are the most popular sportfish in Florida. This member of the drum family can be caught on a variety of live and artificial baits by anglers of all skill levels. But catching big, or "gator," trout isn't as easy as it seems.
Don’t get discouraged, though. With a little luck and a lot of knowledge, you might find yourself in the record books. Here are three tips to help you increase the odds:
Tip Number One: Fish early. Fish late. Seatrout have special tissue in their eyes that allows them to see well in low-light conditions. Their prey does not. So seatrout typically hunt in low light, when they have the advantage, and as a result, usually feed at those times.
Tip Number Two: Make long casts. Trout have great vision and hearing, and once you put a fish on guard, it's not likely to eat. So strike from a distance and the trout will have no idea you're in the area.
Tip Number Three: Match the hatch. Use artificial lures that resemble baitfish. As juveniles, 80 percent of a trout's diet is composed of shrimp; the other 20 percent is made up of fish. As a trout gets bigger, that equation reverses. Remember, big baits catch big fish.