Catching Trout in the Indian River Lagoon

Spotted Sea Trout can be a very tricky adversary when it comes to inland waterways. However, if you take some time, and follow the suggestions here you can greatly improve your chances. Before you know it, you'll be eating delicious white flaky filets and bragging about your fight.

Research

Often times we schedule our fishing trips around our free time, but your free time may not be the right time. Save yourself from an empty cooler by doing a little research before you venture out.

There are two major factors that combine to create a fish-friendly environment: 1) the lunar cycle and 2) the weather. There have been proven links between the lunar cycle and animal activity. Fish and game tend to be more active during the days surrounding the full moon and the new moon. Also, Trout and other predator fish tend to hunt at night. The perfect conditions for predator feeding usually include still or calm winds, and a rising barometer. Changes in the water temperature can also induce activity in fish.

That's not to say that fish don't eat everyday, but these conditions typically combine to provide your best chance for finding actively feeding fish.

Bait

What is the best bait to catch trout? That is the million dollar question, and if you sit at a dive bar near the water, or hang around a bait shop you can get a million different answers. There are a few options that provide more results than others.

Live Finger Mullet are an excellent choice when it comes to luring in trout. A steel leader and a bobber are useful tools to go along with this bait choice. I typically use a 1/0 size hook and hook them through their back just below their dorsal fin. I have experienced about a 50% success rate in landing trout that attack them with this hook placement. I have also been told that hooking them through their lips is successful, although I haven't tried this. Occasionally, if you miss a bite, you can exam your bait and see where the scales are disturbed. This might give you an idea of the perfect placement for your hook. Finger Mullet are prevalent throughout the Indian River Lagoon, and are an ample food source for predators such as the Spotted Sea Trout.

Artificial lures can be very effective in the right conditions. I prefer to use floating twitch lures that have natural coloring. Each fisherman may have their own favorite lure, but the most effective lures imitate local, natural food sources. Twitch bates can trick a predator into thinking it's prey is injured or stunned. While this bait type provides more activity, it can also be detrimental to your favorite fishing spot. What I mean by that is, if you over fish a specific lure in an area, the fish will be accustom to it, and almost immune no matter what the action or color of the lure.

Other bait types include live shrimp, cut adult mullet, and cut finger mullet. While all of these have been successful at different times and in different locations, for me, none of them have provided the same success that the first two options have provided.

Tackle

Spotted Sea Trout can range in size from around 18" up to over 3'. The typical weight that I have caught in the Indian River Lagoon is around 2lbs. Rare fish can be in the neighborhood of 6lbs - 7lbs. The world record for Spotted Sea Trout 17lbs 7oz [1]. according to Field and Stream's website. That being said, trout are ferocious fighters and often break the water thrashing in an attempt to dislodge your hook. I recommend no less than a medium-heavy pole with 20lb test line and a steel leader. They have quite an impressive set of teeth, and it's common for trout to bite through monofilament line.

Experience

When it comes down to it, there is no teacher like experience. Go, fish, learn. That is the best way to discover what the best techniques are for landing those lunker trout at your favorite fishing spot. This article is not meant to be an all-encompassing reference about catching trout. It is a good starting place with some key information that you can take and build upon to start your own quest for the elusive Spotted Sea Trout.