There are several artificial baits used to target speckled trout in the bays of the Texas Coastal Bend. With speckled trout more than other game fish in the Coastal Bend, determining what size fish you are targeting and what type of diet they have is the key to choosing artificial baits and the size of the bait. Lures that imitate shrimp and small fish will provide larger numbers of small to medium size fish, while lures that match the action of a larger fish will give slower action, but larger fish when they do hit.
Spoons for Speckled Trout
While both gold and silver spoons are effective in catching speckled trout, silver is probably the most effective. If targeting both speckled trout and redfish, gold may be the better option. The spoons undulating action provides a vibration and flash that is tantalizing to speckled trout.
A rule of thumb with spoons and other artificial baits is the cooler the water, the slower the retrieve. Bait fish tend to move more slowly during cold weather, so should the lure that you are using to imitate them.
In addition to trying different speeds of retrieve, vary the depth and action of your spoon. Burn it along the top of grass, let it drop into pot holes, and run it at varied depths along cuts.
Soft Plastic Lures for Speckled Trout
Soft Plastic lures are very effective for targeting speckled trout. The most common soft plastics are one that imitate shrimp or small fish. These lures will catch good numbers of keeper size limits for anglers trying to put speckled trout on the dinner table. For trophy hunters, larger swim bait type fish imitators are the ticket.
Soft plastic shrimp tails, also known as touts are widely used mounted on lead jig heads. Multiple presentations are used with these jigs. They are very effective when they are allowed to drop to the bottom and bounced along sandy drop offs and reefs, simulating a shrimp bumping along the bottom or a small fish pushing up nutrients. Jigs can also be retrieved faster above shallow grasses and allowed to drop into deeper pot holes to entice stalking speckled trout.
Touts and small fishlike soft plastics can also be rigged Texas style or Carolina style to be worked through grass beds and pot holes on the flats. These are very good when fished slowly during cooler months as well.
Soft plastic touts and curly tailed grubs are often fished under a popping cork very similar to the technique used for live shrimp. The popping action of the cork simulates the vibrations of other trout hitting the top of the water and the floating action gives the bait movement that will stimulate speckled trout to attack it.
When fishing at night under lights, touts or other small jigs are frequently rigged in tandem with one on a somewhat shorter leader than the other. These “spec rigs” are very effective off lighted piers and docks and often produce double hook ups when the speckled trout are feeding.
Large paddle tailed soft plastic lures and jerk bait style lures that swim or twitch over grass flats or around reefs are very good for catching larger speckled trout in the Texas Coastal Bend.
Hard Plastic Lures for Speckled Trout
Almost any fishlike hard plastic lure will produce speckled trout. There is a direct relationship between the size of the lure and the size and number of trout it will produce. Trout are known to feed on mullet up to two thirds of their own size. A large silver tinted lure will attract large trout. Of course there are more small to medium size trout in the bays and a small to medium size lure is more likely to produce a limit of eating sized speckled trout.
Top water action on hard plastic lures is exciting and one of the top reasons to use a hard plastic lure. Trout can be aggressive when striking their prey. Watching the water explode on a top water lure will get the adrenaline flowing better than an early morning cup of coffee. Slowly retrieve or make short intermittent jerks with top water baits over pot holes or around agitated bait in the flats for some great action.
Other hard baits are used based on the depth of water and how deep they are designed to run. Using different hard baits at different speeds to explore different layers of the water column is a quick way to vary presentation and probe deeper areas to see where speckled trout are holding.