What's hot: Larger, hard-pulling trout are becoming more prevalent. Speckled trout season reopens in the south region on New Year's Day, a closure that will not occur again unless there is a future reinstatement of a closed season.
Tackle: Trout are easy and fun to catch and don't require sophisticated equipment. Light outfits with light main line for long casts and light fluorocarbon leader are sufficient. Live bait works but lures are efficient, allowing anglers to cover more area and locate fish. Jigs with 1/16- to 1/4-ounce jigheads will cover various plastic tail types and water depths. In shallower areas, use the 1/16- to 1/8-ounce jigheads. For deeper targeting, particularly if there is also substantial current, use the 1/4-ounce option. Bigger concentrations of trout will be in 3- to 9-foot depths, but the very largest specimens will be caught in depths less than 2 feet.
Technique: Steady and smooth movement of the lure leads to maximum hookups. It keeps the lure near the grassy bottom, but this species also notoriously strikes a lure over and over, using their fang teeth to "kill their prey" (your lure) before getting to the hook of the jighead.
Tip: To help with quicker release of undersized trout or others that will be let go, use pliers to mash down the barb on the jighead.
Neil Taylor charters kayak fishing trips in the Tampa Bay area and can be reached at strikethreekayakfishing.com and (727) 692-6345.