Targeting Trophy Seatrout

Photo Courtesy of Controlled Descent Lures

By Capt. Michael Okruhlik

Do trophy seatrout excite you? They definitely excite me, and I will go over the events that led to the catch and release of the 8-pound trout in this photo. Perhaps something in the approach will help you hook-up with more true trophies.

On this particular December trip, I set out specifically target large trout. To consistently catch trout over 7 pounds, you must target them. They don’t behave like schooling-size trout, and you need to fish a little differently and have patience.

This trip was a few days after a cold front, and the air and water had begun to warm. Being late fall, the tide had not dropped drastically, as it does when winter takes grip on the bay and chills and lowers the water significantly. This area was a soft bottom covered with grass and scattered potholes. My feet would sink half way up my foot and occasionally ankle deep. The water was very clear, and the wind was blowing into the shore. The mud bottom combined with clear shallow water made this the ideal location for the water to be a few degrees warmer than the surrounding area. The entire area was not more than 1 1/2 to 2 feet deep.

This shore also had the key ingredient, active bait in the form of mullet. Due to the depth of the water and the abundance of sea grass, my lure needed to be weedless. This ruled out big trout lures with treble hooks. Even a modified dangling single hook would foul with a few cranks of the reel. There was also floating grass to contend with, and my single-hook topwaters were not enticing strikes, despite all the fishy signs being there.

Since the water temp was cool and the fish somewhat lethargic, I slowed my approach and presentation. Rigging a slow-sinking soft-plastic paddletail on a 1/16-ounce weedless weighted hook gave the desired presentation. The action I utilized was as simple as it gets, and one that is frequently overlooked.

Long casts were key due to the clear water and wary eyes of larger trout. Fan casting to cover 180 degrees ensured I did not miss any opportunities. This also allowed me to bring my lure through the cover at differing angles in relation to the wind, current and sun angle. The retrieve was a simple reel and pause. A few cranks of the reel handle fluttered the paddletail; a pause allowed the lure to slowly descend from a few inches under the surface to the top of the grass or sand if it was over a pothole. All of the fish that day struck the lure on the pause.

When it comes to tricking a trophy, sometimes it requires a different approach. The angler willing to think outside the box and concentrate on big trout will be rewarded.

Capt. Michael Okruhlik is the inventor of Knockin Tail Lures with the built-in tail rattle, Controlled Descent Lures and owner of

Fishing Magazine, Coastal Angler & The Angler Magazine is your leading source for freshwater fishing and saltwater fishing videos, fishing photos, saltwater fishing.
Send this to a friend