That's right, even on the flats you'll notice that big trout tend to hang out near depressions, points, sandbars, oyster beds, etc. Big trout like to hang near drop-offs, closeto deep water for safe haven, and in the shallows or on the drop's edge. If there's a cover ofmangroves nearby, all the better. Docks provide safe haven for the big solitary trout and attractpinfish, yellowtail, mullet and needlefish. Other hot spots that hold Big trout are bridges, rock piles, fallen trees, jetties and docked boats.
Quiet, stealth approach for big trout. When approached on the flats trout are very difficult to sight cast, and it's uncommon to see them before they see you; for this reason they're easier to wade fish than to approach with a boat.
Fish at night for big trout. Big trout feed at night. It's a fact that most people overlook that bigger trout feed once the sun's down. There's less boat traffic at night, and less pressure from anglers. Lighted docks provide a great habitat for the big fish. If you want to consistently catch jumbo trout, fish at night.
Fish big baits for big trout. Big trout are typically lazy. They don't want to work hard for their next meal. But it's amazing how large a bait they'll try to devour. It's not uncommon for gianttrout to attack small trout while they're being reeled in. You want big trout? Fish big baits.
If you're going to get serious about "Big Trout", here's a few more helpful tips from the professional guides that make a living tracking fish and studying their habits. I hope their advice helps you in your quest to land a gator trout .
Captain John Kumiski says make long casts, look for the biggest fish in skinny H2O. Most of John's clients catch their big trout blind casting with spin or fly tackle.
Captain Tony Nesotas, out of Palm Bay just west of the Indian River Lagoon believes in soft baits and slow retrieves. "While fishing gators on the flats I'll look for grassy areas with sand patches,cast past the sandy openings, then a slow retrieve: twitch, twitch, twitch and pause. In deeper water, say in the winter I'll fish structures: docks, boat slips."
Captain Shawn Foster says slow down your retrieve. When it comes to chasing their food big trout are just plain lazy. His preferred lures for gator trout are Kalin's Super Floozy and Bass Assassin.
Captain Troy Perez looks for the bigger trout hanging in skinny water with schools of large mullet during the spring and summer. Christine Perez, Troy's fishing partner and wife, believes that you must keep casting, long casts and don't give up on an area if you know it holds gator trout. Troy says if you want to catch big fish in the winter, live baits like yellow tail, pinfish, mojara and mullet fished along mangrove shorelines near deep water will do the trick.
He also suggests keeping your eye out on the flats all winter long. Gator trout will hold in sandy depressions searching for a few degrees warmer water even on cold days.
Captain Greg Poole looks for clean water on the flats with deep water nearby for safe haven. He also believes in loud surface lures and popping flies. The more noise, the better chances of attracting big trout..
Captain Patti Sunderland of Merritt Island finds gator trout hanging with schools of redfish.
Patti has noticed a correlation between the redfish and trout sharing the same habitat.
Captain Blair Wiggins fishes the shallow water during the winter when searching for four to six pound trout. Blair looks for rotten sea grass on the flat. He believes the decomposing grass warms the water and attracts mullet, crabs and other food for big trout.
Medium sized shrimp work, better than the larger ones because they stay active longer on
the hook. Mike favors large live baits for gator trout, but also notes that gator trout are attracted to the noise of loud surface lures.
Spotted sea trout need to be handled with the up most care. They are far less suited for catch and release that their redfish cousins. It's wise to use a dehooking device to release them, and it's optimal to touch them as little as possible.
(Tip: Before handling any fish, it's important to wet your hands PRIOR to touching them.
The "slime" is actually germ protection for them and when it gets on your hand, it's coming off of the fish. Wetting your hand (or using Catch & Release gloves) helps minimize the loss of their protective slime).