Guy Harvey Magazine

SUM 2017

Guy Harvey Magazine is focused on fishing, boating, scuba diving, and marine conservation. Portfolios from the world's best fishing photographers, articles on gear, travel, tournaments, apparel, lifestyle, seafood recipes, sustainable fisheries.

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Page 79 of 83

80 | HOOKED ON SPECKLED TROUT She's as gorgeous as any Hollywood starlet with her delicate, artistic beauty marks splashed obliquely across her exquisite silver and sometimes golden skin. From her neon yellow lips down to her elegant fan tail, she is admired, adored and pursued with undying passion by men and women of all ages. She is the one, the only, the famously gorgeous, Cynoscion nebulosus, known officially as the spotted sea trout, and less formally as the speckled trout. Or to those of us who worship her and follow her blindly through marshes, rivers, thunderstorms, sunshine, rain, grass flats, mud flats, salt spray and wind, simply as a Speck. For the past two decades, I've been somewhat obsessed with speckled trout. But I came to the party late because I spent my youth trolling with my dad in the Gulf for bluefish, Spanish mackerel, king mackerel and anything else we could eat. We always caught enough to feed the masses. Fried, of course. With hush puppies. Little did I know that speckled trout is also perfect for the fryer or the grill or a even a swanky, overpriced NYC eatery. I mean, what's not to love about the glorious trout? Even though these fish—along with redfish—are abundant in the northern Gulf of Mexico waters, it was my best fishing buddy who converted me. One day about 20 years ago, he convinced me that some beasty specks roamed the waters under our local bridge. "There's a deep hole next to the fifth set of pilings east of the pass," he told me. That was our intel. So we got up at sunrise, pulled the shrimp trawl for some live bait and set out to strike silver. Turns out, the biggest speckled trout I've ever caught was that day—on my very first cast —with a monster live shrimp big enough for a jumbo seafood platter, hanging on a circle hook. Even though I've been totally strung out on speckled trout fishing since then, that's still my trophy fish. She measured 29.5 inches. A few minutes later, I landed a 26-incher. I was thinking. "Hey, this trout fishing stuff is easy. And these buggers have a good fight in 'em." After a few more trout trips, I began to realize that the calmness of backwater fishing had other advantages like not busting my knees or cracking my spine bouncing through a choppy Gulf for snapper and grouper. Or, getting my cold beverage knocked over by sloshy waves. Hmm. Backwater. Trout. Redfish. This is definitely a thing, I thought. Unfortunately, I was trout ignorant. I figured those two hoss daddies I caught were typical. Now, years later, I've come to realize that I may never catch a 30-inch-plus trout. Will I get scooped up in God's fishing net before I land a 30-incher? Maybe. But I'm not gonna stop trying. And I remember every speckled trout I've ever caught that was 26-inches or bigger. There have been quite a few. But each time, the measuring tape ends before 30. My quest continues, though, because I live near some incredible trout habitat. Don't tell my wife, but it's why I convinced her to move here. Of course, expansive, white sandy beaches and azure water helped, too. These days, I probably throw my lure for trout at least 150 days a year. Probably 80% of the time I'm fishing with a topwater lure (my latest fav is the Badonk-A-Donk, which For the past 25 years, Fred D. Garth's articles have appeared in numerous books, magazines and newspapers around the world. Read his blog at: FRED GARTH LAST CAST Will I get scooped up in God's fishing net before I land a 30-incher? Maybe. But I'm not gonna stop trying.

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