The speckled trout is, simply put, a classic fish. Famous for its signature black spots, beautiful purple shimmer, and delicious taste, this fish reaches maturity quickly and is easy to reel in thanks to its love of shrimp.
Commonly found along the entire East Coast of America, the speckled trout has an average length of 15 to 22 inches and an average weight of 1 to 3 lbs. The maximum size of speckled trout is about 33 to 35 inches and 15 to 18 lbs.
Like any fish species, catching records sparks excitement, as anglers of all skills try to catch the biggest speckled trout possible. So whether you want the low-down on where to find the biggest speckled trout or are curious to know more about this species’ size, read on to find out more!
What Is The Maximum Size of Speckled Trout?
The speckled trout (Cynoscion nebulosus) goes by many names. Some fishermen might know them as spotted seatrout or weakfish, while others might simply call them ‘specs.’
The maximum length and weight of the speckled trout depends on its gender. Typically, females will be bigger, heavier, and grow faster than males, forming the bulk of catches made each year.
We can only assume the biggest records for these fish were all females.
Speckled trout have an approximate maximum length of 33 to 35 inches and can reach a maximum weight of 15 to 18 lbs. Research suggests it can take the fish up to 7 years to get to this size, which is quite a long time for a speckled trout to survive in the wild!
DID YOU KNOW: Despite its name, the speckled trout is not a member of the trout family! The fish belongs to the croaker family ‘Sciaenidae’ because of how male speckled trout croak to attract a mate.
What Is The Average Size of Speckled Trout?
The average size of speckled trout is between 15 to 22 inches and 1 to 3 lbs. That said, there are a lot of factors that can impact the average size of these fish. These can include the following:
- time of year
- availability of food
- population size & genetics
- Water temperature & quality
- fishing pressure
Speckled trout are common along the US East Coast, north of Long Island, down to the Gulf of Mexico.
They enjoy shallow salt or brackish waters and feed on a nutrient-rich shrimp diet that helps them grow quickly.
Your location might also impact the average size of speckled trout you catch, as records from the International Gamefish Association suggest bigger specimens appear in the warmer southern waters.
Additionally, the time of year also influences average sizes.
The speckled trout will slow their metabolism in colder months to compensate for food shortages.
This means juvenile trout born in the spring and summer months may have a faster-growing phase than fry born closer to winter-time.
And so, depending on all these factors, some waters might hold speckled trout with an average size of around 15 inches and 1 lb, while other waters and regions might have fish with an average size of 20 to 20 inches and 2 to 4 lbs.
What Is The Biggest Speckled Trout Ever Caught?
Looking to catch the biggest speckled trout out there? Going by current records, you’ll need to visit one place in particular: Florida!
The biggest speckled trout ever was caught at Fort Pierce by angler Craig. S. Carsonin 1995. It weighed in at an impressive 17 lb 7 oz.
Fort Pierce is one of Florida’s best fishing spots, with a pristine aquatic ecosystem and thousands of natural and artificial reefs.
Craig’s record is almost 30 years old now, and there might be an opportunity for an ambitious angler to rewrite history!
The longest speckled trout on record measured an incredible 33.9 inches, caught by angler Luke Ledbetter in 2015.
That’s an impressive size, given that the average length of a speckled trout is about 20 inches.
The record fish was caught in the popular tourist destination of Melbourne Beach, Florida.
Where Are The Biggest Speckled Trout Found?
Speckled trout are commonly found in shallow bays and estuaries across the east coast of the US. But as we’ve learned, the further south you travel, the bigger these fish usually get.
These fish rarely move far from where they’ve spawned, meaning certain spots are famous for harboring plenty of the specs.
Southeastern states like Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and Louisiana are all great locations fishermen travel to to catch giant speckled trout.
But again, if we look at previous and current record holders, it’s impossible to deny that two states stand out as prime spec havens: Florida and Texas.
Forte Pierce and Melbourne Beach are promising locations in Florida.
But if you’re close to the Lone Star State of Texas, you might consider setting up at either Texas City Flats or Port Isabel, as both locations have earned numerous records in the past.
How Fast Do Speckled Trout Grow?
Speckled trout have quite a fast growth rate, especially in their early years, with females growing much faster than their male counterparts.
Female speckled trout can reach an impressive 10 inches in their first year and have a length of 12 to 15 inches by their second.
At this stage, female speckled trout become sexually mature, growing much larger, and are then considered legally catchable.
Females grow by about 2-4 inches yearly, with a 7-year-old female measuring approximately 25 inches.
Male speckled trout grow much slower and smaller, barely reaching 8 inches in their first year and 12 inches in their second.
Once they become sexually mature, their growth slows even further, increasing in length by only 1 or 2 inches each year.
A 7-year-old male will measure approximately 21 inches in length, but a wild male speckled trout reaching this age and size is rare.
How Old Do Speckled Trout Get?
The maximum recorded age of a speckled trout caught is 12 years, though a wild fish living to this age is considered extremely rare.
Generally speaking, the oldest fish you’ll likely catch will be closer to four or five years old.
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Featured image by Rennair – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0