One of the most popular gamefishes in the coastal regions of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina is the speckled trout. Speckled trout are called specs for short. The fish is not only an excellent battler when hooked but makes excellent table fare. Specs are inshore fish with a ferocious appetite who willingly strike live or artificial baits. Here are 5 things to know about speckled trout.
What Does A Speckled Trout Look Like
Specs are easily identifiable by markings found on the fish when it comes to identification. Here is what to look for when identifying a trout swimming in saltwater.
To identify a spec, take a look in the mouth of the fish. Here you will find two prominent canine teeth. However, remember never to lip a trout, or you will be sorry when the teeth sink deep into your fingers.
The belly of the trout is silver or gray and turns to gray or green on the top depending on the habitat. Each side of the fish is dotted with black spots.
Is Speckled Trout A Real Trout
Despite the spec being called a trout, it is not part of the trout family. Speckled belong to an entirely different family that call saltwater home.
Specs belong to the family of drums which include redfish, black drum, croaker, whiting, and more.
The speckled version of the trout has no affiliation with brown trout, rainbow trout, brook trout, and other varieties that swim in freshwater streams and rivers.
Freshwater trout are different in appearance and have a more firm body compared to the specs. Specs are soft and delicate while trout are muscular and rigid.
Lastly, when peering into the mouth of a freshwater trout, it does not contain canine teeth like the mouth of a spec.
Can Speckled Trout Live In Freshwater
Anglers are unlikely to venture to a freshwater river and specifically target specs. However, the fish does occasionally travel to freshwater where it will remain for a short period of time.
The spec is most commonly found along soft sand bottoms, among seagrass in coastal regions, and in brackish water. Brackish water is a mixture of freshwater and saltwater therefore the salinity level is reduced compared to the ocean.
When fishing for specs focus your attention along seagrass, near oyster beds, and shallow flats where they forage for food.
Is Speckled Trout Good To Eat
Not only is the spec a popular gamefish because of its ability to fight, but they are also known for making excellent table fare.
We have had the opportunity to catch specs on numerous occasions and prefer them compared to redfish.
The fillets of speckled trout are white, mild, and produce small flakes when cooked. Avoid overcooking the fish because it will become dry quickly due to its delicate nature.
Some of the best cooking methods include broiling, pan-frying, or breading and deep-frying, Monitor the fish while it is cooked and remove it from the heat as soon as the fillets begin to flake into pieces. Check out this broiled spec recipe. Pair the fish with a side of coleslaw, french fries, or steamed vegetables.
When fishing for and catching specs cook the fish within one to three days. Avoid freezing the fillets as they do not freeze well compared to other inshore freshwater fish. Once thawed, the texture changes from firm to mushy and is not nearly as appetizing.
Does Speckled Trout Have Worms
The fillets of trout may contain worms which are called spaghetti worms. Spaghetti worms are the larvae of tapeworms which means they remain small in size but visible to the naked eye.
Spaghetti worms are not found in the fillets of all specs in fact we have never caught a spec in North Carolina, South Carolina, or Georgia whose flesh contained worms.
In the event you find worms in the fillets they are easily removed with a fillet knife by carefully cutting them free. In the event not all of the tapeworms are removed, the body is at no risk of falling sick even in the situation where the flesh is consumed raw.
Locating worms in the fillets of a spec can be alarming and lead you to an unappetizing feeling. However, avoid wasting the flesh and dumping the fish into the water.
Now You Know 5 Important Facts About Speckled Trout
The next time you are fishing the coastal waters of Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina focus your attention on targeting specs. Specs provide an exciting fight when hooked and are delicious when cooked and served. Remember to purchase a saltwater fishing license before casting a line.