On Natural North Florida’s Big Bend, there’s no argument about the most popular and sought-after fish. Without doubt, it’s Spotted Sea Trout. In terms of sheer numbers, they outnumber all other species, with the exception of bait fish, upon which they prey. And they’re great table fare, too!

Catching seatrout is a family affair!

Another reason Spotted Sea Trout are popular is that they are ravenous feeders and can be caught using many a variety of tackle, baits and techniques. On the Big Bend, anglers mainly target seatrout from boats (motorboats and paddle craft) but there are also a few opportunities for wade-fishers. Shired Island, near Horseshoe Beach and Hagens Cover, north of Steinhatchee offer good access for anglers “on foot”. In terms of tackle, light spinning gear is adequate for even “trophy” sized six pounders. Popular baits include shrimp, small baitfish and a variety of artificial lures.

A “Trophy” Spotted Sea Trout!
The Steinhatchee River is just one of the many cold-weather trout spots. The colder, the better, and the most crowded!

While seatrout are plentiful in our area, the season has been closed south of the Big Bend until 2021, due to algal blooms and over fishing. Thus, with changing bag limits and season openings, we urge you to check online with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for up to the minute rules.

Fried seatrout, North Florida Style

The flesh of seatrout is delicate and takes to many methods of preparation. In North Florida, we prefer its fried, on a plate with sides of slaw and fries, or as a Po-boy sandwich, dressed with lettuce, tomato and tartar sauce.

Fried Trout Po-Boy

A good reference for information about fishing Florida’s Big Bend in general, with some more information om spotted seatrout is my website, Capt. Tommy Thompson’s Saltwater Angler’s Guides Please take a look and feel free to email me any questions you might have at capttommy@me.com