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Hunting For Big Speckled Seatrout on the Texas Coast

Let’s talk about Speckled Seatrout.

Also known as speckled trout, or specks, these fish are a staple in the Gulf region, and there is no better place to chase them than the Texas Coast. In addition, if you’re looking to catch a giant, the coves, islands, and estuaries around San Antonio Bay are the best places to go. This article will focus on targeting trophy-speckled trout that can range from 7 to 15 pounds! Our discussion spans both conventional gear and fly presentations, offering insights into how to target big trout and pinpoint their locations effectively.       


While we’ll cover numerous tips and tricks, the most important thing to know is that trophy specks eat large baitfish. While smaller trout predominantly feed on shrimp and crustaceans, as specks grow, their diet shifts exclusively to baitfish. Therefore, bigger baits definitely mean bigger fish when talking about trophy trout. With that in mind, let’s get into the ins and outs of this fishery.

When and where should you target Texas-sized trout?

The best time of year to go after big trout typically comes in the winter months. Beginning in late fall, trout feed more frequently as water temperatures cool. In addition, the large fish feel more comfortable moving into shallow water, making it easier to pinpoint their location and find these elusive monsters. During this time of year, muddy or boggy bottoms with sporadic structure become the home for large trout. The baitfish find this area comfortable because of how well the mud holds warmth during the winter, and, like many gamefish, follow the bait to find the fish! The sporadic structure we seek includes shells, pier pilings, grass clumps, or troughs. Finding large trout can be the hardest part of this game. While searching for fish, remember that if you see bait, there are probably trout there. Even just a few mullet jumping or a pelican working an area can mean there are specks around. 

The Texas coast is the best place to target trophy trout, and you won’t find anything that matches the fishing around Bay Flats Lodge in Seadrift, Texas. Since 2001, Bay Flats Lodge has been providing anglers with the trophy trout experience they seek. Bay Flats even has a suite dedicated to the trophy speckled trout on the Texas coast! With incredible lodging, access to fishing, and the top guide staff in the nation, Bay Flats is the place to land your trophy trout. 

How to catch a trophy trout?

In order to target these big trout, wading is the most effective method. It allows you to be stealthy in your approach and access areas you cannot access with a boat. Check out this great article HERE, about everything you need to know when wade fishing the Texas coast. If wading is not an option, using a boat can also be effective, but remember to be stealthy. Drifting the outskirts of a cove with baitfish activity while making long casts is the best way to fish out of a boat. We will get more into specific flies and lures, but, in general, throwing top water flies or plugs can be incredibly effective in the afternoons and evenings when the water warms up. Meanwhile, sub-surface streamers or lures produce fish throughout the day.

Fly fishing for big speckled trout.

Fly fishing for specks can be absolutely thrilling, and our guides at Bay Flats Lodge are the experts. Flies in the 3-5 inch range are effective, but don’t be afraid to throw something larger when targeting big trout. When throwing these large flies, you need a rod to handle the task. Therefore, an 8-10 wt rod with a WF floating line is ideal. We love the Winston Air 2 Max, it is one of our favorite fly rods for the Texas Coast. This WF line and large rod are critical to making that tight loop and launching the fly where it needs to go. It is important to use a high-quality reel. We love the Bauer RX reels for a smooth drag and quick pick-up. Trophy trout are known for getting airborne, making huge head shakes, and going on drag-screaming runs, so a high-quality reel with a smooth drag system is crucial. 

Some favorite fly patterns include the Clouser minnow, Redfish Crack, Gurglers, the Marsh Mohawk, and Spoonflies. It is essential to determine where fish are feeding and then make your fly selection. Trout will eat topwater, suspended and sometimes off the bottom, so try to determine this and then make your fly selection accordingly.

Conventional fishing for big speckled trout.

In order to meet the dietary desires of these trophy trout when conventional fishing, we need to make sure we are using the right style and size of lure or bait. Mullet, croakers, and pinfish are favorites when using live bait. These baits can be Carolina rigged or free-lined, and a 3/0 to 6/0 Kahle hook is a favorite for live bait presentations. Lures for trophy trout come in many shapes and sizes, but there are certainly some favorites. We can break them down into soft plastics, sub-surface plugs, and topwater presentations. Soft plastics such as jerk baits and paddle tails in the 3-6 inch range fished on a 4/0 or 5/0 size hook can be deadly. Some favorites are the Cocahoe Minnow, the Bass Assassin, and the Berkley Gulp Alive Minnow. When it comes to sub-surface plugs, you cannot go wrong with the Original Corky; it’s a Texas classic that has proved its worth time and time again. Others, like the Fat Boy and Maniac Mullet, can also be effective. Topwater plugs are ruled by one lure, which is the Heddon Super Spook Jr. This lure is effective worldwide, and trophy trout are no exception. Some others include the MirrOlure She Dog and the Rapala Skitter Walk. 

When conventional fishing, the ideal rod is a 6’6” or 7’ medium light action rod with 12-15 lb braid and a 20+lb fluorocarbon leader depending on the type of structure (sharp or abrasive structure demands a heavier duty leader). In addition, a fast-action rod with a soft tip is a valuable asset. With this rod setup, you can cast further and create a better action on your lure. 

Do you feel ready?

Hopefully, this article has prepared you to catch that trophy trout you dream of. Remember, big specks like to eat big baits, so don’t be afraid to throw that XL streamer you’ve always dreamed of using. Make sure to wade stealthily, search out a good muddy bottom, and identify where the bait is to find the fish. The key to catching a trophy trout is finding the fish and the structure that holds the bait they love. If you want to take all the guesswork out, we have guides who can get you on some speckled trout. Check us out on this website or call us at (888) 677-4868.

Tight lines!