The spotted seatrout is the most popular marine inshore game fish from the Carolinas to Texas. Not only are they delicious table fare, but they are relatively easy to catch on a few basic rigs. Let's look at those setups, which are a very big component of the quest for Spotsides.
Popping corks and their close relatives "slide floats" are designed to do two things. The first is to create fish attracting surface commotion with a crisp pull of the rod tip. As the names imply, the sounds will be pops, chugs or slashing commotion. Seatrout are drawn to these sounds.
The second function of the corks and floats is to suspend either a live shrimp or plastic shrimp at a height in the water column where the fish can see the offering and strike it readily. Always remember to strike your seatrout not when the float is pulled under but rather when your rod tip heels over with the weight of the fish.
Soft Plastic Fishing Jigs
Used with the same tackle mentioned above and a 20-pound fluorocarbon leader, the soft plastic jig is distinctive by the jig head molded with the hook (both eye, shank and point) within it. Some jigs are sold with a soft plastic tail already rigged along with some spare "tails." Be aware, though, that you can buy your own tails in various colors in order to get the optimum seatrout "killer" for each day.
But be sure to rig the tail from the point around the bend and up the shank correctly or else your jig will twist — versus track straightly — in the water. The other performance variables for these jigs are weight, head shape, length, water depth, current and wind velocity. Factor in all of them in your angling efforts for seatrout.
Fishing With Topwater and Suspension Plugs
Topwater plugs are best reserved for flat calm mornings where their swishing side to side retrieve is best heard by seatrout. The low light of morning is a more comfortable time for seatrout to rise to the surface and smash a topwater plug. My experience is that the action and profile of the plug can be more important than color choice — although color can be a factor as well.
Suspension plugs suspend in the water column when retrieved. Since they are subsurface, they can be used in slightly windier conditions that would preclude the effective use of a topwater plug. The famous "Corky" lure of Texas — now the Paul Brown lure of the MirrOlure Company — comes in suspension models and has been deadly effective on big seatrout.
Soft Plastic Replica Baits
If there was one seatrout lure I'd have to choose, it would be the D.O.A. shrimp. As the name implies, the lure looks almost exactly like a real live shrimp. Like all of the rigs discussed above, the angler must impart the action of the lure with twitches and pulls of the rod tip.
The secret to this lure is to learn to swim it slowly and enticingly over seagrass tops and potholes. If you see a trout following, but not striking, give the shrimp a harder pull to indicate escape to create a reaction strike.