Spotted Seatrout

Family Sciaenidae, DRUMS
Cynoscion nebulosus




10. Seatrout: Once caught in great numbers in the inlet, only a few now are taken year-round, mostly in the west side over sandbars, usually during high-tide periods. Will hit live shrimp and most artificials. During the winter months some ocean-going trout from 8-10 pounds move inside the inlet and they're caught on live bait and artificials. Limit for this area of Florida is four fish between 15 and 20 inches, with only one over 20 inches allowed. Closed in this area in November and December.

Description: dark gray or green above, with sky blue tinges shading to silvery and white below; numerous distinct round black spots on back, extending to the dorsal fins and tail; black margin on posterior of tail; no barbels; no scales on the soft dorsal fin; one or two prominent canine teeth usually present at tip of upper jaw.

Similar Fish: other seatrouts.

Where found: INSHORE and/or NEARSHORE over grass, sand and sandy bottoms; move into slow-moving or still, deep waters in cold weather.

Size: common to 4 pounds on west coast, larger on east coast.

Florida Record: 15 lbs., 6 ozs.

Remarks: matures during first or second year and spawns INSHORE from March through November; often in association with seagrass beds; lives mainly in estuaries and moves only short distances; adults feed mainly on shrimp and small fish; prefers water temperatures between 58 and 81 degrees F and may be killed if trapped in shallow water during cold weather; longevity 8 to 10 years.