Big speckled trout are truly elusive fish.
Although the Texas coast has a huge trout population and a healthy number of large fish, the habits of truly large trout are still mysterious in many ways. However, over the years I have noticed through my own experience as well as communication with anglers, biologists and other experts that certain harbingers are there that can signal the presence of big trout.
Here are some of the most interesting.
• Numerous anglers have observed a symbiotic-type relationship between big trout and alligator garfish during the winter in deep, isolated canals. Gars and trout are seen right next to each other seemingly hanging together like a shark and its remoras. Could it be the trout are eating the gar’s scraps? Are they simply sharing a similar habitat when their metabolism is low (and the gars won’t eat them)? Be mindful of gars in the backwaters during winter months.
• Researchers in Louisiana have found that manmade reefs attract trout because they concentrate baitfish and help them conserve energy by not having to move much to feed. All big fish prefer not to move more than they have to.
These reefs have a constant source of larger finfish that big trout prey upon. So, artificial reefs whether placed to attract trout or simply a byproduct of a boat wreck, can be a great spot to find big specks.
• Male trout make a “croaking” noise. If you catch a bunch of males in an area, you should return there in the evening and prepare to fish late. Males will gather in a spawning aggregation and croak en masse to attract females. This is a highly overlooked time to find big trout at their peak weight.
• Big trout often suck topwaters under the surface, instead of “blowing up” on it. If this happens to you, wait a second before setting the hook to give the trout a chance to take it in.
Also, if you are fishing in a spot and you hear the “slurping” sound, perhaps followed by an emerging slick, big trout are there.
• The biggest trout almost never school. A study conducted by researcher D.C. Tabb found that nearly all trout in excess of six years of age are large, semi-solitary females. These are the giants we dream of catching. If you pay attention to these unusual harbingers, your chance of catching them will riseHarbingers Of Big Trout
—story by CHESTER MOORE