THE LARGEST AND BY FAR the most popular trout species in the Coastal Gulf is the spotted sea trout (Cynoscion nebulosis) and it is most often called speckled trout or simply speck.
According to Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) officials, spotted sea trout males average 19 inches (48 cm) in length. Females are 25 inches (63 cm) long on average. Males and females weigh two to three pounds (1 to 1.3 kg).
Distinguishing characteristics include a dark gray or green back and silvery-white below, with distinct round spots on back, fins and tail; black margin along the edge of tail; soft dorsal (back) fin with no scales; and one or two prominent canine teeth usually present at the tip of the upper jaw.
The sand sea trout (Cynoscion arenarius) are silvery with a pinkish color on the upper sides. Their large mouths are orange on the inside and have one or two rounded teeth at the front of the upper jaw. Although common in deeper bays, channels and the shallow Gulf, sand sea trout live nowhere else.
Silver sea trout (Cynoscion nothus) are bright silver all over with no stripes, bars or other marks according to TPWD.
“The only place you’re likely to find color on these fish is inside their mouths, which are orange. They live mostly in the Gulf where they feed on fish and shellfish but they do come into bays in the winter.”
All of these sea trout are good to eat.
According to TPWD you should remember that care of the fish between landing and the skillet is important. Clean and place your fish on ice as rapidly as possible. The delicate meat of the trout loses quality rapidly if left unchilled, especially during warm weather.
“Some trout caught may have worms embedded in the flesh along the backbone. These “spaghetti” worms are larval stages of a tapeworm that can only reach maturity in sharks. It cannot survive in man even if it is eaten raw. The worms can easily be removed during filleting to make the meat more appealing.”
Tour some prime wade fishing spots along the Texas coast where the redfish, seatrout and coastal beauty are as good as it gets.
—story by TFG STAFF REPORT