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What’s Biting: Spotted Seatrout in Southwest Florida

By January 28, 2016March 1st, 2018Fishing Reports

Seatrout are often found in shallow, brackish water as deep as 32 feet. Known as an estuarine fish, a popular area to search for seatrout is in Southwest Florida’s mangrove estuaries or saltwater marshes. Often, seatrout remain in one place all their life, usually settling nearby seagrass holes and oyster bars. Though seatrout can be found on the Atlantic Coast from Massachusetts to Florida and in the Gulf of Mexico from Texas to Mexico, the Florida Gulf coast hosts the densest population of the fish.

Though a seatrout caught in Southwest Florida usually ranges from 5 to 10+ pounds, they can reach 17 pounds. In fact, the Florida record catch weighed 17 pounds and 7 ounces. Depending on their size, their diet can consist of anything from crustaceans to other fish. While small trout ordinarily stick to crustaceans, a medium-sized trout usually dines on shrimp and small fish. Large trout eat other fish like mullet, pinfish, pigfish, anchovies, menhaden, etc. Healthy seatrout can live up to 18 years.

How to catch seatrout

Due to their high-shrimp diet, live shrimp serve as the most popular and most successful bait for catching a seatrout. Small grunts, also known as pinfish or pigfish, also tempt seatrout. Cast either of these options near the water’s bottom to lure seatrout out of grassy holes.

Seatrout fishing methods:

  • Popping float: best for shallow water

  • Free lined: drifting

  • Jig head: longer casts

  • Slip float: deep water

TIP: When fishing at night, toss a glow stick into the water. Seatrout are attracted to light, and this practice has proved successful for other anglers.

Naples Fishing Regulations for seatrout

  • Length: 15-20 inches with the exception of one catch per day exceeding 20 inches

  • Limit: 4 per person per day

  • Season: open all year (check with Geoff since Smithsonian says closed May to August and Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission says year-round)

  • Gear: hook and link or cast net

Get on the water today!

Eager to catch a seatrout? To book your family friendly, all-inclusive Naples fishing charter today, contact Captain Geoff of Chasin’ Tales Fishing Charters at 239-216-0378. Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned angler, Chasin’ Tales ensures your Southwest Florida fishing adventure is a safe and memorable experience.

Geoff Crouse

Capt. Geoff is a full-time fishing guide in Naples, FL and specializes in light tackle and fly fishing adventures.