What Is The World Record Speckled Trout?

world record speckled trout

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The all-tackle world record speckled trout tips the scale at 17 pounds 7 ounces. It was wrestled from the water by Craig Carson, who used a Zara spook lure in Fort Pierce, Florida, USA, near the Indian River Lagoon. Fort Pierce, pinpointed on the map below, is a treasure trove for fly fishers, with an abundance of saltwater flats that are a hotspot for speckled trout.

The Tale of This Mighty Catch

Every world record has an intriguing tale behind it, and the story of how Craig netted this colossal trout is an exceptional one. Craig was knee-deep into a four-day fishing expedition in Florida, and he was having a hard time, struggling to reel in any speckled trout at all. In a twist of fate, the only speckled trout he managed to bag was this record-breaker.

Story Behind This World Record Speckled Trout
Image Source: https://ftw.usatoday.com

Unaware that he held a new world record trout and state record in his hands, Craig planned to take the speckled trout home and enjoy it for dinner. Before he prepared his record-breaking meal, Craig wanted to confirm the trout’s weight. With all the tackle stores closed, he headed to a fish and meat store near his home to get the fish weighed. Once weighed, he took the fish home and enjoyed his meal.

Craig later sent a picture of the fish to some angler colleagues at Fish Finder Magazine, a company he worked with on his UPS route. They informed him that his catch could potentially shatter the previous record. After checking with the International Game Fish Association (IGFA), he realized he had caught the World Record speckled trout. Although he had already savored his catch, there was enough evidence for the IGFA to confirm the new record.

A Closer Look at Speckled Trout

Speckled trout go by many names like spotted seatrout, gator trout, spotted weakfish, and yellow mouth. However, speckled trout and spotted seatrout are the most commonly used terms.

The average size of speckled trout weighs in around 1-2 lbs, but 5 lb fish are regularly caught as well. The elusive double-digit speckled trout are a rare catch, and these big trout are called gator trout due to their size. Hence, the world record trout would be termed a Gator trout in the fishing world.

Speckled trout are native to the USA. They can be found from Virginia in the north all the way around into the Gulf Of Mexico to Texas. These fish are commonly found in shallow water flats and estuaries, where they prey on small baitfish, shrimp, crabs, and more. They prefer shallow waters when it’s cold and move into deeper moving water when the weather warms up in summer. When fishing for them, focus on areas where the fish can lay up and ambush, like a deep channel.

Where Else Have Record Speckled Trout Been Caught?

Port Isabel, Texas, USA

Port Isabel, Texas

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 beast caught by angler C. Bud Rowland in Port Isabel, Texas. The Texas coast is known to harbor big trout, or gator trout. It’s a prime spot for anglers in search of a record-breaking catch.

Texas City Flats, Texas, USA

Texas City flats is another hotspot to catch big trout, holding three line class world records for the men’s 8 lb, women’s 2 lb, and 8 lb. The fish here range between 9 and 14.5 lbs, making it a potential location for record-breaking catches.

Florida, USA

If there’s one state that a record-chasing angler should visit to find a big gator trout, it has to be Florida. This state is responsible for 25 of the 32 world records held for speckled trout. The records aren’t isolated to one part of the state; they’re scattered all over from Mosquito Lagoon, Wrightsville beach, Indian River

Lagoon, to Spruce Creek.

Florida’s coast is teeming with saltwater flats and is a perfect habitat for a ton of speckled trout. Among the noteworthy records out of Florida, apart from the world record, is a 9 pound gator trout caught by angler Dr. Jay N. Wright in Mosquito Lagoon. This fish was caught fly fishing with a 2 lb tippet, making it a formidable record to beat.


speckled trout FAQ

How Do I Catch Big Speckled Trout?

Speckled trout are aggressive predators that will pounce on anything that swims past them. You can fish for them with lures, live bait, or flies. A fun way to catch them is using top-water lures. If you’re aiming for the big Gator trout, it’s best to head out on a guided boat tour.

Can You Sight Fish For Speckled Trout?

Speckled trout 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. 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.

Check out the IGFA Record here.


Catching a speckled trout is a thrilling experience, but landing a record-breaking one is an achievement of a lifetime. Whether you’re an angler looking to nail your first catch or a seasoned pro aiming for a record, remember that patience, the right gear, and good timing can make all the difference. And remember, every catch has a story. So, are you ready to write yours?

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