Aggressive, photogenic, and so, so tasty, the spotted seatrout’s popularity is obvious. Widely distributed throughout the Gulf of Mexico and lower Atlantic Coast, trout are a user-friendly species, but bagging the bigger gator trout requires strategic thought.
Early Bird Gets the …Trout
Big fish get big by being smart and big trout know the predatory advantage of hunting during low light periods, mostly daybreak. Notably, while minimal visibility allows trout to sneak up on prey, it also allows anglers to approach more stealthily and fool these large, savvy fish with a mix of hard baits like the LIVETARGET Sardine and soft plastics like the LIVETARGET Twitch Minnow.
Friends In Low Places
Big trout will definitely hunt down their meals, but they’re much happier sitting and waiting for prey to come to them. Trout do some of their best work in areas of concentrated depth change. That could be a pothole, a tidal trench/drain running across a flat, or a deeper gut next to an island, a sandbar, or an oyster bar.
One of the best baits to work through such deeper spots is LIVETARGET Sardine Twitchbait. Designed to mimic common inshore forage species, this easily cast bait works through the deeper spots like authentic tide-born prey.
The Nose Knows
Trout eat plenty of soft plastic baits rigged on lead head jigs and Mustad Power Lock Plus Spring Keeper Hooks, but these rigging styles keep the bait rigidly tethered. To entice cagey fish with maximum motion, nose hook your favorite swimming or twitching style soft bait on a 1/0 Mustad O’Shaughnessy Live Bait Hook. Unhindered, the bait twitches convincingly on minimal rod action, while the exposed hook’s essentially free of impeding plastic.
This rigging style is, of course, given to short strikes where trout nip at the bait’s back end and ultimately pull it off the hook. The biggest fish typically gobble the entire thing, so be patient, let them “get” the bait, and avoid overreacting.
Feel the bite, let the fish come tight, then simply reel down to set the hook.
Despite their relatively soft form, seatrout are absolutely vicious predators that will blast a topwater bait. One of the best options is a LIVETARGET Mullet Swimbait.
Of all the ways to tempt seatrout, one of the most user-friendly options is also one of the most efficient. A popping cork with your favorite soft plastic on a Mustad Inshore Darter Jig Head or a LIVETARGET Rigged Shrimp suspended 12-18 inches below offers several advantages, starting with castability.
When you sling this rig, the compact bait pulls the leader straight and leads the tapered cork. It’s pure aerodynamics and corks with weighted tips excel here.
Also advantageous is the fish-attracting commotion. Tugging the rig in short, snappy bursts chugs the cork across the surface to mimic the sound of feeding trout. Simple popping corks with concave tops work well, but a clacking cork rig — a wire stem with a float flanked by brass and/or plastic beads — increases the appeal by increasing the disturbance.
Lastly, for kids and beginners, recognizing a bite and responding effectively can be challenging. Popping cork rigs simplify this process. When the cork goes down, start reeling.
Mustad has led the global hook market since 1877. Mustad’s mission is to create a comprehensive multi-brand company that leads the fishing tackle industry, while focusing on innovation, employee and customer satisfaction, and sustainability. With the addition of TUF-LINE and LIVETARGET, Mustad continues to solidify its position as a complete sports fishing brand family.