The all-tackle world record speckled trout is 17 pounds 7 ounces. It was caught by Craig Carson using a Zara spook lure in Fort Pierce, Florida, the USA just close to Indian River Lagoon.
Fort Pierce featured on the map below is home to numerous saltwater flats that speckled trout love to feed in. It’s a fabulous place to go flats fishing with multiple species to target including speckled trout.
The Story Behind This World Record Speckled Trout
Every all-tackle world record has a good story behind it and the story of how Craig caught this record trout is a great one.
Craig was on a four-day fishing trip in Florida and he was having a tough time, struggling to catch any speckled trout at all. In fact, the only speckled trout he caught on his trip was this record-breaker.
Image Source: https://ftw.usatoday.com
Craig had no idea that he had a new world record trout and state record in his hands and he was planning to take the world record speckled trout home and eat it. Before he sliced and diced his new state record and world record up into a frying pan, Craig wanted to know how much the speckled trout weighed.
All the tackle stores were closed so he went to a fish and meat store near his house to get the fish weighed. Once weighed, he took the fish home and ate it.
Then Craig sent a picture of the fish to some anglers who worked at Fish Finder Magazine, a company that Craig worked with on his UPS route. They told him that the huge trout could break the previous record, both the state record and the world record.
He checked the International Game Fish Association stats and saw he had caught the World Record speckled trout. Even though he had eaten the fish, there was enough evidence for the IGFA to approve the new record trout.
About Speckled Trout
Speckled trout are also known as spotted seatrout, gator trout, spotted weakfish, yellow mouth, and more but the most used terms are speckled and spotted seatrout.
The average size of speckled trout is around 1-2 lbs but 5 lb fish are regularly caught too. The double-digit speckled trout are quite a rare catch and these big trout are called gator trout due to their size. So the world record trout would be called a Gator trout in the fishing world.
You can only find speckled trout in the USA and their range runs from Virginia in the north all the way around into the Gulf Of Mexico to Texas. They tend to frequent shallow water flats and estuaries where they prey on small baitfish, shrimp, crabs, and more.
These fish prefer the shallows when it is cold and move into deeper moving water when the weather warms up in summer. When fishing for them focus on places where the fish can lay up and ambush like a deep channel.
Where Else Have Record Speckled Trout Been Caught?
Port Isabel, Texas, USA
The men’s world record on the fly using 16 lb tippet and the biggest record trout ever caught on a fly rod is a 15 lb 6 oz caught by angler C. Bud Rowland in Port Isabel, Texas.
The Texas coast is known to hold big trout, or gator trout as they are called, and if you are an angler in search of a record, it is a great place to go.
In fact, the same angler, C. Bud Rowland, caught two big fish in Port Isabel of 10 lb 3 oz and 10 lb 1 oz to claim the fly record for 4lb and 6lb tippet too.
Texas City Flats, Texas, USA
Another great place to catch big trout is on the Texas City flats and it holds three line class world records for the men’s 8 lb, women’s 2 lb, and 8 lb. All the fish were between 9 and 14.5 lbs, so there are some big ones there for a record angler to chase.
If there is one state where a record-chasing angler should go to find a big gator trout it is the coast of Florida. Flordia is responsible for 25 of the 32 world records held for speckled trout.
The records aren’t isolated to one part of the state either, they are all over. Records have been caught in Mosquito Lagoon, Wrightsville beach, Indian River Lagoon, Spruce Creek, and more.
The coast of Florida is covered with saltwater flats, as you probably know, and is home to a ton of speckled trout habitats and there are some big ones in there.
The most notable record out of Florida outside of the world record was caught by angler Dr. Jay N. Wright in Mosquito Lagoon. The gator trout was 9 pounds and it was caught fly fishing with 2 lb tippet, so it’s a record that is going to be hard to beat.
How Do I Catch Big Speckled Trout?
Speckled trout are aggressive ambush predators that will eat pretty much anything that swims past them, whether it’s a shrimp or a bait fish. They are also greedy fish and if their prey will fit in their mouth they will go for it.
You can fish for them with lures, live bait, or flies. A really fun way of catching them is using top-water lures.
If you want to catch the Gator trout your best bet is to go out on a boat with a guide. Ask the guide when they see the big gator trout coming in and book 5 days of fishing for that time of year.
Can You Sight Fish For Speckled Trout?
The great thing about speckled trout is that they love clean and clear water but they only tend to come into the shallows when the water is cool enough.
This means if you want to sight fish for them in Florida then you will need to do it in winter, and that goes for the rest of the Gulf too.
But, if you are fishing in the north end of their range around New York, the water might cool enough for them to push up onto the flats so you can sight fish for them.