Top 9 Speckled trout fishing lures

Top 9 Speckled Trout Fishing Lures

This post will list Capt. Jim Klopfer’s top 9 speckled trout fishing lures. Speckled trout, or spotted sea trout, are arguably the most popular inshore saltwater game fish species. They are widely distributed, being in coastal waters from Texas to the mid Atlantic. Speckled trout are an aggressive fish that will readily hit artificial lures.

Sarasota speckled trout fishing

The top nine speckled trout fishing lures are: 

  • 4″ Bass Assassin Sea Shad
  • 3″ Gulp Shrimp
  • #8 Rapala X-Rap
  • MirrOlure MirrOdine
  • Johnson Sprite spoon
  • 52M series MirrOlure
  • 5″ Gulp Jerk Shad
  • Rapala Skitter Prop
  • Clouser Minnow fly

This selection of artificial baits will cover most speckled trout fishing applications.

Sarasota fishing report

Anglers can purchase Capt Jim’s E-book, “Inshore Saltwater Fishing” for $5 by clicking on the title link. It is 23,000 words long and covers tackle, tactics, and species.

Speckled trout fishing tackle

Both spinning and conventional tackle can be used for anglers speckled trout fishing. However, most opt for spinning tackle. Lighter lures are easier to cast and spinning tackle in general is more versatile. Anglers can click on the link below to purchase a good outfit for those in the market for new equipment.

spinning rod and reel

Anglers can shop at Amazon for a Daiwa Black Gold reel and St Croix Triumph 7′ MF rod spinning combo in this link.

“Fishing Lido Key is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.”

Top 9 speckled trout fishing lures

There are many artificial lures that anglers can choose from when fishing for speckled trout. This is the list of speckled trout fishing lures that Capt Jim uses on his fishing charters all year long. These lures will cover every situation that an anglers chasing speckled trout will encounter. All of them will produce many other species as well.

1) Bass Assassin 4″ Sea Shad Baits

There is no doubt that the number one speckled trout fishing lure is the jig and grub combo. This is a simple yet extremely effective artificial bait for a wide variety of species. It consists of a lead head jig with some type of soft plastic grub body. Jig head weight is determined by the depth of water being fished. One quarter ounce is a good all-around size.

best 12 spotted sea trout fishing lures

Grub bodies come in a myriad of shapes, colors, and styles. Most imitate either a bait fish or a crustacean. Speckled trout usually strike as the lure is falling. The vibration and action of the tail simulate a wounded bait fish, shrimp, or crab. One great feature of the jig and grub combo is that the plastic tail can be quickly and easily changed. This is very convenient and allows anglers to adapt to ever-changing fishing conditions.

Capt. Jim’s favorite soft plastic bait is the Bass Assassin Sea Shad. He primarily uses the 4 inch size. These baits are available in many different color patterns. The shad style tail gives it an excellent swimming action and good vibration. It is a fairly easy lure for even novice anglers to use to catch fish. Glow/chartreuse, New Penny, and Red/Gold Shiner are his favorite colors.

bass assassin

Click here to shop Amazon for Bass Assassin Sea Shad baits

2) 3″ Gulp Shrimp

The Gulp line of baits have revolutionized fishing with soft plastic lures. They really do bridge the gap between live and artificial baits. Soft plastic lures have been scented for decades. However, the Gulp baits are different. The lure bodies are actually made from the scented material as opposed to the said just being added.

Best Speckled trout fishing lures

Capt. Jim’s favorite Gulp bait is the 3 inch Gulp Shrimp in the white/chartreuse color pattern. This lure stands out very well against dark grassy bottom. It is almost always fished on a jig head, similar to other soft plastic baits. Darker colors work well in slightly stained water. New Penny is a great all round color. Dark colors with a chartreuse tail are productive as well.

Sarasota anglers

One very effective way to fish the Gulp Shrimp is to rig it under a noisy popping cork. These floats are very popular in areas where the water is a little bit murkier. These corks make a lot of noise and rattle when twitched sharply. This attracts fish from a long distance. The Gulp Shrimp is rigged on a 1/8 ounce jig head 2 feet to 3 feet under the float.

Sarasota fishing report

gulp shrimp

Click here to shop Amazon for 3″ Gulp Shrimp

3) #8 Rapala X-Rap Extreme Action Slashbait

Number three on Capt. Jim’s list of top speckled trout fishing lures is the #8 Rapala X-Rap Extreme Action Slashbait. This lure is about 3 1/2 inches long and closely mimics in size and shape the bait fish that speckled trout feed on. These include sardines, finger mullet, pin fish and grunts, and glass minnows. Olive and ghost (white) are his favorite color patterns. The new “pilchard” color is awesome as well!

plug fishing Sarasota

This bait floats at rest then dives down to 2 to 3 feet upon retrieve. This makes it an excellent choice when speckled trout are feeding on bait fish in fairly shallow water. This can be both oyster bars and shallow grass flats. On high tide stages schools of bait fish can often be seen peppered up on the surface. This is a prime situation to cast the X-Rap out in search of a large speckled trout.

The X-Rap is also a fantastic bait to use when trolling. This is an excellent technique to use when speckled trout are scattered over a large area. Simply idling along with the bait out 100 feet behind the boat will produce speckled trout and other species. Once fish are located, anglers can work the area more thoroughly.

Rapala x rap

Click here to shop Amazon for #8 Rapala X-Raps

4) Mirrolure Mirrodine

The MirrOlure Mirrodine is a very simple looking lure. However, it is extremely effective for speckled trout and other species. This is a suspending bait. That means that after being cast out it will slowly sink down in the water column. When the bait reaches the desired depth, it is worked with a twitch and pause retrieve. The bait will suspend motionless in the strike zone. Speckled trout find this irresistible and will strike with abandon!

fishing charters Siesta Key

This bait closely imitates a scaled sardine, thus the name. However, it is also similar in profile to pin fish, grunts, threadfin herring, and other bait fish. Capt. Jim prefers the 17MR-18 Mirrodine, which is silver with and olive back. This lure works terrific when speckled trout are found in water between 3 feet deep and 5 feet deep.


Click here to shop Amazon for MirrOdines

5) Gold Johnson Sprite Spoon

The gold Johnson Sprite spoon is number five on Capt. Jim’s list of top speckled trout fishing lures. Spoons have been around a long time and continue to catch fish to this day. The Sprite spoon is an open water spoon. The primary difference is that it comes with one treble hook as opposed to a single hook with a weed guard.

Spoons are very effective artificial lures for a variety of reasons. They can be cast a long distance which allows anglers to cover a lot of water. Spoons are used to cover the entire water column. They have excellent flash and vibration as well. Finally, they are very easy lures for novice and inexperienced anglers to use. The spoon is available in silver as well. However Capt. Jim prefers gold for speckled trout fishing.

Top saltwater species in Florida

The bait is simply cast out, allowed to sink several seconds, then worked back in using an erratic retrieve. The entire water column can be fished by varying the time with which the lure is allowed to sink. The spoons can also be trolled effectively. Anglers should always use a swivel or snap swivel when fishing with a spoon to reduce line twist.

sprite spoon

Click here to shop Amazon for Sprite spoons

6) MirrOlure 52m series plugs

The 52M series MirrOlure has been a productive speckled trout fishing lure for a very long time. It is similar to the MirroDine and that it is a suspending bait. However, it has a larger profile and is designed more to imitate pin fish, grunts, and larger forage. This is an excellent bait for fishing the open grass flats in 4 feet of water to 8 feet of water.

Top Florida saltwater game fish

Capt. Jim prefers the “19” color pattern. This pattern has a green back and gold sides. It is an excellent combination for speckled trout fishing in a variety of watercolor conditions. If the water is very stained, anglers can switch to the “CH” or chartreuse color pattern which will stand out better in the dirty water.

This bait is fairly easy to use. It can be easily cast a long distance. The lure is allowed to sink a few seconds then worked back in with a hard twitch and a significant pause in between. Most strikes will occur as the bait pauses and sits there motionless. This mimics a wounded bait fish and will draw strikes from game fish.

mirrolure 52

Click here to shop Amazon for MirrOlure 52 series plugs

7) 5″ Gulp Jerk Shad

The 5 inch Gulp Jerk Shad is next on the list of Capt. Jim’s favorite speckled trout fishing lures. There are times when speckled trout want a larger soft plastic bait, and this one fills the bill. Like other Gulp products, it has the advantage of being scented. Capt. Jim likes white and chartreuse, but just about any color will catch speckled trout when properly presented.

Florida saltwater fishing in winter

The jerk Shad is a versatile artificial bait. It can be rigged weedless on an unweighted swim bait hook and work extremely shallow through grass and over oyster bars. It can be used on a weighted swim bait hook as well. Anglers can then swim the lure slowly through fairly shallow grass. Finally, it can be rigged on a 1/4 ounce jig head and fished over deeper grass or in deeper channels.

gulp jerk shad

Anglers can click this link to shop Amazon for Gulp Jerk Shad lures

8) Rapala Skitter prop

The list of top speckled trout fishing lures would not be complete without a surface plug. Speckled trout are known for their affinity to attack a top water bait. This is especially true early and late in the day in shallow water. Some of the largest speckled trout taken have fallen prey to this angling technique.

There are many fine top water plugs available. Capt. Jim prefers the Rapala Skitter prop for a couple of reasons. This bait has a propeller on the rear. When twitched, it puts out just the right amount of splash and noise. These baits have more built in action then do the classic “walk the dog” style baits. This makes them easier to use for novice anglers, which is important for a fishing charter boat captain.

There are couple of tips which will help anglers be more successful when fishing this bait. Many anglers fish top water plugs too quickly. With a bait such as the Skitter prop, it is important to let it set few moments between twitches. Also, it is very important to wait until the weight of the fish is felt before setting the hook. Understandably, many anglers get excited when they see a fish blowup on the plug and jerk it out of the mouth of the fish.

skitter prop

Click here to shop Amazon for Rapala Skitter Prop lures

9) Clouser Deep Minnow fly

The last bait on Capt. Jim’s list of favorite speckled trout fishing lures is actually a fly: the Clouser  Deep Minnow. Fly fishing for speckled trout is both enjoyable and productive. The Clouser Minnow closely resembles small bait fish that are found on the flats were speckled trout feed.

fly fishing in Florida

This fly consists of a hook, weighted eyes, and some type of dressing. The dressing can be synthetic care or bucktail. If this kind of sounds familiar, it is. In reality, it is just a version of a buck tail jig. It fall slowly through the water column that is retrieved back in using quick strips with a pause in between. It is most effective when used in water 6 feet deep or shallower.

Click here to shop Amazon for Clouser Minnow flies

In conclusion, this post on the top 9 speckled trout fishing lures will help anglers catch more of these popular and beautiful inshore saltwater species!

Jim Klopfer

Capt Jim Klopfer has been a fishing guide in Sarasota, Florida since 1991. He grew up in Maryland, fishing the Chesapeake Bay waters. Capt Jim has been creating an writing articles about fishing for decades, contributing to many regional and national publications. He also lives part time in the North Carolina mountains where he fishes for trout and other species. Capt Jim Klopfer is a wel rounded angler with 50 years fishing experience, and he loves to share what he has learned with other anglers!

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