Kayak Fishing: Fall Favorite – Trout

By Mark Lozier, Oct. 2016

From the mid Atlantic down the coast and all through the Gulf of Mexico, there is a popular fish that anglers love to target. Call them what you will Specks, Sea Trout, yellow mouths or just specked trout are an excellent fish to target that can be caught by on bait or artificial lures. Specks aren’t really a trout at all like the fresh water version. They are in the drum family and have several of the same feeding characteristics as their cousins the red drum. I find it more fun and challenging way to catch them on artificial lures.

Trout are more of an “up” feeder meaning they don’t root on the bottom. They ambush prey by looking up from their hiding spots. Look for structures like oyster bars, points leading in to creeks, drop offs and potholes where grass and sandy spots are together. Moving water is also a key factor, not fast moving current but enough flow for bait to wash by but not so much that the trout have to fight the current. Grass is a key area. Trout’s natural camouflage is the spots on their back, which look like the top of the grass when looking down from above.

I like to make as long a cast as possible and make my retrieve with a pop pop action of the rod tip. Take up the slack on the fall and repeating this all the way back. I will change the amount of popping and retrieve rate until I find how they are feeding. This is a more effective method if you can keep your jig head as light as possible but still have a steady sink rate. I prefer the Trout Eye jigs from Ralph Phillips Inshore in the 3/16 oz size with either the clear or gold eye.

As far as the body of the lure I have caught more trout, reds, flounder and even striper on the Z Man Trout Trick. Colors unfortunately vary with water clarity and or the sky conditions. I would have to say the “original” color Mood Ring is a starting color most days. Another consistent producer is a paddle tail bait like the 3” MinnowZ also from Z Man Lures. The Elaztech material gives the lure more buoyancy and action to this bait than your standard plastic material found on the market.

Another favorite is a top water walk the dog style lure. There is no more exciting or explosive catch than when a big ol’ trout smacks the lure as it crawls across the top of the water. For these I like either the Livingston Pro Sizzle or the Walking Boss. A good tip I learned a long time ago from a well-respected trout guide is to tie a 12” piece of 30lb leader to your main line and then connect the plug with a loop not. The shorter heavier leader will not sink or slow down the “walking” action of the bait .

I like a fast action 7’ rod with a medium to a medium-light backbone. For my casting setup I prefer the Revo Inshore reel. The 7:1 gear ratio helps to pick up that slack line fast so my line is almost always tight.  For my spinning set up I go with a Penn Clash 2000-2500 Soft mouths and slack line are a sure way to loose trout. The reel is spooled with #20 Spiderwire with a 2’-3’ piece of fluorocarbon leader of 15-20 pound test