Welcome to Salt Water Fly Fishing

Welcome to Fly Fishing The Salt! If you are just discovering the joys of fly fishing the salt (or salt chuck as some call it) here you will find information to steer you in the right direction. Tips on what equipment to use, why, where and how to fish. And we will try to include a little inspiration to get you going. For the experienced salt water angler, there will be personal stories about real fishermen and their experiences, tips on what flies for which fish and techniques that work. Your stories and articles are also most welcome. Share the knowledge and adventure. Pass it on! This is for you.

The Fish - Spotted Trout and Weakfish

Spotted Trout

By Jimmy Jacobs, Smyrna, Georgia

Spotted Seatrout (Cynoscion nebulosus)

. . . Among all fishermen along the South Atlantic Coast spotted seatrout have been the number one target for years. Their populariety is founded on their abundance, wide range, and willingness to strike a variety of baits and lures, plus their fine taste (although they do not freeze well and should be eaten fresh). These fish are sometimes called speckled trout, specks, or simply trout by the anglers who target them. Larger specimens of this species are sometimes called yellowmouths because of the color around their mouths.

Spotted seatrout are found all along the southern Atlantic seaboard, from North Carolina's sounds to the Florida Keys. Throughout this range they can be found along beaches, particularly in the fall and winter, but are much more abundant in tidal creeks, rivers, and bays. They are common on shallow sea-grass flats as well. With the exception of some migratory fish that move south from Chesapeake Bay into the Carolinas in the winter, seatrout are relative homebodies. Research has found that they spend most of their lives within a mile or two of the estuary where they were spawned.

Though there are several related species that resemble this rather slender-framed member of the drum family, the seatrout's hallmark sports make it easily identifiable. These round black spots occur in random patterns along the back and sides of the fish, and are also found on the tail and dorsal fin.

The very similar weakfish [shown above] is also found along the South Atlantic Coast and is the fish most commonly confused with the seatrout. The weakfish, however, has only faint speckles on its sides and no spots at all on its tail or fins.

Throughout its range the spotted seatrout is abundant in sizes of up to 6 pounds. Any fish larger than this is considered a trophy catch and is often referred to as a "gator trout." In the southernmost portion of the waters inhabited by seatrout - and particularly in Florida's Indian River Lagoon in the vicinity of Cocoa, Melbourne, and Vero Beach - fish of more than 10 pounds are taken regularly. The all-tackle world record for this species is held by Craig F. Carson for a 17-pound, 7-ounce spotted seatrout caught at Fort Pierce, Florida, on May 11, 1995.

Speckled trout are excellent quarry to challenge with a fly-rod. They readily attack brightly colored streamers; many fly-casters favor red-and-yellow or red-and-white color combinations. But seatrout will strike any number of fly hues, particularly when they are actively feeding. These fish feed at varying depths, from the bottom to the surface, making it possible to attract them to topwater popping bugs in a variety of colors.

Seatrout do show a preference for a fly that is retrieved slowly, whether a streamer or a popping bug. When you spot a fish approaching your fly, however, you should speed up your retrieve to resemble a fleeing baitfish. Seatrout are noted for their proclivity for making quick dashes at a fly near the boat or shore, just as an angler is about to pick it up for a new cast.

Fishing the South Atlantic Coast

In spite of their following among anglers, seatrout are not particularly impressive fighters once hooked. They are more prone to thrash on the surface than to make strong runs or leap from the water. They must be played with care as well, since their mouths are notoriously soft, making it easy for hooks to pull loose. The popularity of spotted seatrout is built on their abundance and edibility rather than their ferocious nature. ~ Jimmy Jacobs

Credits: Excerpt from Fly- Fishing the South Atlantic Coast by Jimmy Jacobs, published by Backcountry, an imprint of Countryman Press. Fish illustrations from Sport Fish of Florida by Vic Dunaway, published by Florida Sportsman.

Previous Fly Fishing The Salt Articles

[ HOME ]

[ Search ] [ Contact FAOL ] [ Media Kit ]

FlyAnglersOnline.com © Notice