Fishing is all about opportunities, and nothing is a sure bet in this sport, but certain times of the year at locations can help stack the deck in your favor. Heading down south of Georgia and back to my favorite fishing place, the forgotten coast of Saint Marks, Florida, you will find a fishing oasis as spotted seatrout migrate from the rivers to the saltwater flats to fatten up bait from their cold long winter.
One common favorite setup for seatrout is a 7 foot medium-light rod with 10 lb. braid and popping cork. Under the cork tie a three foot 20 lb. fluorocarbon leader with 1/8 oz. red jighead. Brand wise, I am partial to St.Croix rods, PENN Fierce reels, Power Pro braid line, Seaguar leader line, Billy Bay popping cork and slayer jigheads. You can find these items here for your convenience. Bait on the jig can be a DOA shrimp, Gulp Shrimp 3” in new penny color or a live shrimp.
After loading your skiff in the water in the early morning, head South down the river to channel marker 8 and hang a right. To find seatrout on the flats, look for a water depth of 2-5 feet with a spotty bottom with channels nearby. Also, the seatrout bite is always happening on moving water preferably rising, and a dead tide means trash fish and sharks will be biting. A new moon is your friend too. Predatory fish hunt at night and the lack of light can be hindering them. This turns the day bite on more in my experience.
Locate your ideal location and pull up several under yards against the tide from that location. The drift will take you over the sweet spot. Cast your rig and begin popping the cork to imitate bait fish being attacked or jumping. If you do half of this right, you should be in the fish.
One last thing to remember is to get your Florida saltwater fishing license and follow the state regulations for spotted seatrout. At this time of April 2018, the limit in Northwest Florida is 5 with a slot of 15”-20”. One seatrout can be over the slot as well. Good Luck and Tight Lines!