Speckled or Spotted Trout, also known as Specks, are a feisty gamefish found in the Gulf of Mexico and on the Atlantic coast of the United States up to Maryland. Speckled Trout are related to Croakers and Drum and are not actually part of the trout family. They are an inshore fish that readily strikes lures and bait and frequently leaps out of the water when hooked. Small to mid-size eat a lot of crustaceans such as shrimp, and as they get larger they switch to a diet of more small fish.
During spawning season, the males make a loud drumming sound to attract females that can be heard from some distance. They sometimes make that sound when pulled out of the water as well. Speckled Trout are prolific spawners and typically live about 4-5 years although in rare cases they can live longer than 10 years. Typical trout caught average 1-3lbs, with anything over 6lbs being a really nice one. The world record is over 17lbs.
Speckled Trout have a couple of pointy teeth in the front of their mouth, but don’t have sharp spines and are relatively easy to handle if you don’t put your hand right in their mouth. They are not particularly robust fish and do not survive handling that well, so be gentle with them if you plan to release them.