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Florida Sea Trout Fishing Guide

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Florida Spotted Sea Trout Fishing

Fishing the Salt Water Lagoons for Speckled Trout

Saturday November 28, 2015

Technically, the spotted sea trout that live in the saltwater lagoons around Florida's coastlines are not a true trout, but a sub-species of the weakfish that many north easterner's call weakies. Florida's sea trout belong in the croaker family and typically have less oil in their flesh than their northern counterparts, but their meat is mild, delicate and flaky and is excellent eating when you treat it with care as it will often fall apart on the grill with most ending up on the fire if you don't take precautions.

There are many ways for anglers to pursue the sea trout, but one of the favorites is to put on a popping cork with a live shrimp or imitation below it and drift across the clear grassflats that border much of Florida's coast. You typically don't catch trophy sea trout with this method, but you can make up for quality with sheer quantities as some days you'll put over 100 fish in the boat if the conditions are right.

Catching quality sea trout can be done on artificials and live baits, with live bait producing the lions share of the biggest trout. Trout will bite top waters readily and numerous subsurface lures from softbaits to spoons, in my experience the presentation makes the difference on the bite. Big trout can be very spooky in shallow water and long cast with subtle lures seem to get the best results. If you want topwater action, you might try using some of the jerkbaits without a weight and very light line (6 pound or less) to get the distance to cast beyond the fish and bring the lure into the where they are.

For myself, live baiting sea trout with some sort of finfish always produces the biggest trout. Try using pilchards or finger mullet and if you can't get them, pigfish, small croakers or pinfish can work well if you can keep them out of the weeds with a cork (use a low profile cork as they often spook some of the bigger fish).

After the Net Ban in 1992, the sea trout fishing has sprung back to life and is on it's way to recovery if we take care of Florida's shallow water lagoons and sea grass beds. East Central Florida was once known as the Sea Trout Capital of the World and many world records are held there. If it's big Florida sea trout you want... Give us a shout and we'll do our best to put you on the bite.

When is The Best Times to Fish for Sea Trout?

Probably the best time for sea trout in east central Florida is during the late winter or early spring when the trout are ready to spawn. The fish have moved out from their winter haunts and prior to the spawn they are hungry and chalking up the calories for the big event. The winter months have less food source and trout are naturally hungry anyways, it's a great time to put a morsel of food in front of them and watch it happen. Spawning sea trout also congregate in schools to spawn and are competitive and less shy when spawning. One great thing about the trout is that they feed pre- post- and during the spawning event so you generally don't have any down time during this time period.

East Central Florida is home to the largest spotted seatrout in the world. After entanglement netting was constitutionally banned in Florida, seatrout have rebounded back to healthy numbers and sizes that we haven't seen since the early 1980's. Seatrout are an aggressive fish that will strike anything from topwater artificials, spoons, jigs, livebait and various fly patterns.

INSHORE and/or NEARSHORE over grass, sand and sandy bottoms. Winter time fishing in deeper waters with well defined thermoclines produce plentiful numbers of fish. We find that seatrout stage close to their winter holes on the flats between cold spells. Live bait works great for winter trout as they are usually less aggressive and want to test the baits a lot before they commit to a strike. Recent winters have produced many trout in excess of 30 inches and we are looking forward to many more successful trout seasons ahead.


Seatrout are often referred to as gator trout when they are large (over 6 pounds). Lagooner charters specialize in finding and catching large seatrout in shallow water areas. Here are some facts about these gamefish:

Matures during first or second year and spawns INSHORE from March through November; often in association with seagrass beds; lives mainly in estuaries and moves only short distances; adults feed mainly on shrimp and small fish.

Some Trout Pictures:

Sebastian Inlet Gator Trout
Girl with Stringer of Trout
Seatrout On Fly
Banana River Trout
Indian River Gator Trout
Stringer of Big Seatrout
Florida Sea Trout
Mosquito Lagoon Sea Trout
Banana River Sea Trout
Gator Trout in the Banana Lagoon


Not less than 15" or more than 20" (statewide) except one fish over 20" per person. 4 per harvester per day South Region 5 per harvester per day N.E. and N.W. Regions.
Season Closure: Nov. & Dec. S. Region / Feb. N.E. and N.W.

State Record

15lb., 6 ozs.

Florida Sea Trout Fishing Chaters

Reviewed by Captain Richard Bradley on Last modified: November 17 2015 20:49:58.

Published by: Captain of Lagooner Fishing Guides©

Are they Speckled or Spotted Sea Trout in Florida

Growing up on the Indian and Banana River Lagoons as a young boy, I was told the name of Florida's sea trout was speckled sea trout. As I grew older I came to a realization (with the assistance of others) that "speckled" was more of a Florida Cracker term that rednecked fisherman used than an educated man like myself should use. After all, I didn't want to be made an example out of from Larry the Cable Guy or Jeff Foxworthy.

You know you're a redneck if... You call a sea trout speckled instead of spotted. After going to college, I couldn't relapse into my old redneck uneducated ways and say "speckled" it had to be "spotted". Heck! many of my angling friends just called them specks, not to be confused with speckled perch or crappie, but I'm not gonna open up that can-o-worms. The Florida Wildlife Commision has them listed on their website as Spotted, and several scientific Ichthyology websites have them listed as croakers (some rednecks call them grunts, but we won't go there either).

Whether you call them speckled or spotted, it really doesn't matter and I don't think anyone really cares one way or another, especially the sea trout. But then again those Yankees up north call them weakfish.... We'll have to visit this one again on another day. Weakfish! hmmm...

As always I look forward to hearing from many of you soon, if you need to contact Captain Gina and set up a charter please call her at (321) 868-4953 or just fill out the form below.

Good Times,
Captain Richard Bradley
Lagooner Fishing Guide

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Fishing Reports

November - 2015 Fishing Report

The Banana River has had some spectacular days during October of 2015 and heading into November we are already plucking some nice sized trout in the shallow waters off Cocoa Beach and Merritt Island. Look for redfish and sea trout to improve as the temperatures continue to cool and the deeper dropoffs to provide plenty of action. Most of the fish during this month have been caught on rocky out-croppings or shallow water estuaries along the edges of islands and shorelines. Basically if you find good amounts of bait, you will find the fish

Fishing Forecast

November - 2015 Fishing Forecast

Thanksgiving in Central Florida and on the Banana River Lagoon can be a great time of the year for almost all types of inshore species native to our area. Redfish, black drum and sea trout will really kick in as the month matures and will only get better as the winter deepens. Look for this fall month to produce good numbers of redfish and some spotted sea trout. If it's a very cool month, it should be better and warmer will still produce well. The nice thing about November too is that there is less fishing pressure and boaters on the lagoon. This will help with the gathering of fish in the busier parts of the lagoon and it's also a good time to have some seclusion.

Where is Florida's Best Sea Trout Fishing?

The best sea trout fishing in the world lies between Fort Pierce and the Mosquito Lagoon on Florida's East Coast. Finding big sea trout is best done in the cooler months of the year from late September and into late May. The summertime sea trout bite is often at night or for the first few minutes in the morning when the sun is not heating things up too much.

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Lagooner Fishing Guides
Cocoa Beach's premier saltwater fishing guide on the Banana River with over 25 years of charter fishing experience in his native waters.
Telephone: 321-868-4953

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2550 North Banana River Drive
Cocoa Beach, FL

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TripAdvisor Review

Review / Trip Advisor

Inshore Charter Fishing in the Banana River Lagoon near Cocoa Beach, Florida. Catch redfish, sea trout, tarpon, snook and many other saltwater gamefish aboard the world famous Lagooner flats fishing boat with renowned Captain Richard Bradley.

Awesome day on the water - Captain Richard is a wonderful guide. Not only did we have fun and caught some really nice fish but learned quite a bit in the process. Definitely taking his trip again-Soon!
about Lagooner Fishing Charters on February 2, 2015

5 / 5 stars 5 star rating

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