Spotted Seatrout can be a target species year round in Tampa Bay. Silver trout are another story as they only seem to show up in our waters when the water temp drops into the 60′s and lower. Both of the species of trout mentioned are a popular target this time of year. While spotted seatrout have limits imposed on them and a closed season,silver trout have neither a limit or season. Silvers tend to run in the 12″ range but don’t be fooled by their size. They are rather feisty on light tackle and very tasty on the dinner plate. The nice thing is both species are readily available right now so after you get your limit of spotted seatrout you can finish off your outing with some silver trout.
Spotted Seatrout are very tasty and they can be prepared using many different methods. I prefer to fillet them and either season ,lightly batter and fry or season,coat with butter,drizzle with lime juice and broil. Silver trout tend to be to small to actually fillet so I like to scale them,gut them,cut the heads off and season,beer batter and deep fry them.
Catching both species can be a challenge. I have been finding most of the spotted seatrout in deeper creeks and canals about 3 to 6 feet. Fishing with a live shrimp,weighted with a small split shot on some 15 # test leader seems to get the best bite.
The silvers are a totally different game. Silvers tend to huddle up in the deep channels of Tampa Bay from 15 to 35 feet deep. The method I like to use to target them is to first locate them on my bottom machine. Once found I anchor up and basically vertical jig for them. Using a 1/4 to 1/2 oz jig head baited with a soft plastic (color can vary) I will vertically jig it up and down in the water column to entice the bite. Once you get on these fish it can be one after another. I have had days when all things worked out and caught over a hundred silvers in just a couple of hours.
Now is a great time to target both species and put some tasty fish in the cooler. My personal opinion is that the cooler winter waters produce tastier trout.