JP2Fish • 2508 West 9th Street • Panama City, FL 32401 • Phone: (850) 319-7855 • Email:

Speckled Trout Fishing Guide

I am uniquely qualified to speak about speckled trout.

I started fishing for them when I was 11 years old. I swore when I grew up I would never eat them again, although that changed because they are great tasting fish. The most important thing I can say about speckled trout is this: there isn't another guide in the area who puts his clients on more big trout than me. There are a couple of local fishermen who are as good as me when it comes to trout, but not one better, surely no other guide.

Trout are awesome table fare and can be caught throughout the year.

Speckled trout are one of the few target species which do not migrate out of the area when the weather changes. Therefore we catch them throughout the year. Most months we use live bait, pilchards, menhaden and live shrimp. Sometimes artificial baits like DOA Shrimp or top water bait is the answer.

May and June are the months to catch a trophy fish. I have found many great spots where the trout stage prior to spawning. It is very common for us to catch 20 fish over five pounds during this time of the year. Sometimes we even get a couple of 8-lb. fish in the same day. Using 10 or 12-pound line with a 20-lb. fluorocarbon leader and a Kahle hook, we free-line baits over these spots and wait for the fish to gobble them up.

When the spawn is over, the big fish break up into singles and small groups. When that happens we find ambush spots and wait where the fish will pass while feeding. Sometimes it takes an hour for the fish to show up. There are spots all summer long where you only have to sit and wait to catch some great fish on live bait.

In the fall I change up to casting DOA Shrimp and Gulp! Baits. While casting, we will also catch flounder and redfish. As the water cools down through the winter and into spring, we continue to use artificial baits until late spring and the spawn starts.

Some of my favorite top water baits for trout are Zara Spook Jr. and Mirror Lure Catch 2000 or Top Dog Jr. Most colors work. Different conditions such as water clarity, moon phase and weather call for using different colors. My largest trout, caught September 22, 2007 was 31-inches and well over 10 pounds. A fish over 27-inches is a trophy. A fish over 30-inches is a once in a lifetime fish. I have only seen two fish over 30 inches in my life. I caught one of them.

If you are looking for a trophy trout or just some good fish to eat while in Panama City, Florida, I am the guide you need to hire.

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