I’ve had some great times fishing for sea trout in the Gulf of Mexico. I’ve used tandem rigs to hook two fish at once, as well as live bait and swimbaits. While there’s no arguing the effectiveness of flukes, spinners, and live shrimp when fishing for speckled trout, it’s not always necessary to dive so deep when angling for them. In fact, one of the best methods of catching specks is using topwater plugs. Today, I’ll give you all a few tips on how to use these surface noisemakers to fill your livewell—and your freezer—with delicious speckled trout!
The best way to use topwater lures for trout is long casts that reach far from the boat, so the trout can’t get spooked by your presence. To do this right, you’ll need to make sure you’re using the right tackle for the job. This means thin, but strong line. Right now, all of you should be thinking, “Braid.” It’s well-known that braid is incredibly strong, but possesses and extremely thin diameter. Since you really won’t need anything stronger than 10 or 12-pound braid (which have roughly a 2 to 4-pound diameter), you can cast a mile with a topwater plug tied on. Furthermore, braid has no stretch whatsoever, which is great when “walking the dog” with a topwater plug. This absence of stretch will also help ensure more hook-ups with the treble hooks that topwater lures possess.
The weather will play an important role in using topwater lures for specks, as well. Sea trout are more active in low light—such as dawn, dusk, or cloudy days—and also prefer a bit of a wind. This works out great for topwater lures because low light means trout will focus on the noise and vibration at the water’s surface, and the wind will blur the surface, as well, making it more difficult for the fish to see the bait and more likely that they’ll strike first and ask questions later.
You’ll also want to keep an eye on the temperature when throwing topwater lures for sea trout. When temperatures drop, the fish will head to deep channels, where topwater action is nonexistent unless you can locate trout in the shallows, basking in the sunlight. However, this can be a hit or miss game of patience as the temperatures will also slow them down.
Many anglers underestimate the effectiveness of topwater lures in saltwater. There are species other than specks—including redfish, snook, and tarpon—that aggressively strike topwater lures, and learning how to use these lures will guarantee more fish in the boat. When the conditions are right, topwater plugs can be deadly for speckled trout. You, too, can fill your livewell, your freezer, and ultimately, your stomach, with sea trout by arming yourself with right tackle and the awareness required to read the weather.