Introducing Capt. William Toney
He is from old Homosassa, a fourth generation native Floridian and fishing guide www.homosassainshorefishing.com . His fishing roots stretch all the way back to his great grandfather and over the years he's worked on commercial vessels, crab boats and has pretty much been on the water his entire life. He talked a little about his 23' custom build Tremblay flats boat and although he has a nice Mercury motor on it, he prefers to get around the old fashioned Florida way, by pushing a pole. He says there's just no better way to stealth fish.
For those of us who know very little about this fish, he laid a foundation to build on. Seatrout (which aren't actually in the trout family at all, oddly enough) are one of the most prevalent species on the Nature Coast of Florida. They can easily be caught from bay boats, flats boats and kayaks. Everybody enjoys catching trout, they're sporty, fun to catch and good eatin'. They're actually in the drum family and cousins to the red and black drum. They grow an average of about 1 inch each month so they reach "keeper size" (15-20 inches) pretty quickly which is why there is such a liberal allowance on keeping 5 per angler per day. Farther south, closer to the Tampa Bay area, they don't grow quite as fast so that regional limit is lowered to 4 per angler per day. The larger trout (over 22 inches and/or weighing approximately 6 or more lbs) are called 'gator trout'. They're usually females carrying roe and ethical anglers will release them. Different regional environmental conditions have a large part to play in the growth of trout. It seems those larger sized fish are reported in such areas as Banana River, Indian River, Mosquito Lagoon and other East Coast areas where there is access to the Atlantic sea water. In fact, the world record Spotted Seatrout was caught in Indian River and weighted 18.5 lbs. Capt. Toney suggested that if you really want to delve into all there is to know about Spotted Seatrout, pick up a book published by Florida Sportsman that is full of interesting information.
Equipment: Rods / Reels / Line
Easier to tie knots
After a while, the line holds a permanent 'curl' when it's off of the spool
It is more likely to deteriorate from direct sunlight "sun rot"
It does not stretch
It lasts longer
You can put more of it on a reel because it's thinner than monofilament
It gets into knots easier
It's more expensive
The colors fade quickly
He also mentioned that some of the local tackle shops will spool the fishing line on your reel for free if you purchase the line from them. That's always an option if you don't feel confident enough to do it yourself.
Once the monofilament back line and mono or braided fishing line has been spooled onto the reel, there's one more small line connection that needs to be made before adding a hook and lure. An 18 - 24 inch length of fluorocarbon leader line is an absolute necessity if you want to increase your odds of catching a nice trout, or any other fish for that matter. The fluorocarbon leader serves several purposes. The biggest and most important characteristic of fluorocarbon leader is the fact that it is almost 100% invisible under the water so your bait doesn't look like it's attached to anything and the fish are less 'suspicious'. Secondly, it adds more strength to your fishing line. Stronger lines hold bigger fish. Big fish can stretch a thin leader line to the breaking point....lost fish!
In addition to all of this great advice, Capt. Toney threw in a little secret advice, too:
Berkley sells fluorocarbon fishing line (150 yards for 10:00) - best value
Berkley also sells fluorocarbon leader line (40 yards for 10:00)
There's very little difference between the two so consider that if you're on a budget.
Now we're ready to put some bait & lures on our line - that'll be posted in Part 2 so stay tuned for that.....