Spotted seatrout over 20-inches are considered to be trophy or “gator” trout. And these big, wily critters are not easy to catch, even on our Big Bend coastline where there’s probably less pressure on game fish than in any other area in Florida. Of course, you can catch plenty of “keeper” fish, mostly in the 15-inch range in the deep holes of the local rivers, but you’ll have to do some culling to get a limit. It’s surprising just how many 14-7/8-inch trout are out there. And don’t cheat, FWC officers are on the lookout for small fish and are regularly patrolling places like the Steinhatchee River, Dallus Creek and Suwannee.
Large trout get to be big because they’re smart. They’ve usually spent their lives being tempted by all sorts of live and artificial baits, tossed by numerous anglers. However, it’s possible to trick them into biting with the right lure, like D.O.A 3-inch shrimp or a Paul Brown lure from MirrOlure. Long casts and stealth are important, too, especially when the water is clear, as it is along our Natural North Florida coastline. You’ll also find these bigger fish over rocky structure on cool sunny days, and they usually travel alone, cruising on the lookout for a stray mullet or pinfish.