Home Fishing Tips & Advice How to Catch a Sand Trout

How to Catch a Sand Trout

There are four main aspects you should know about the sand trout. You need to know that fishermen often confuse the silver trout for the sand trout, and they live mostly in the warm waters around Florida and the Gulf of Mexico. If the trout is gutted and cleaned correctly, a person can eat the spaghetti worm parasite inside it, and a great way to lure this fish is to have a croaker or cut fish as bait.

The first important thing you must know when searching for sand trout is that many fishermen commonly mistake the silver trout for the sand trout. It is understandable as they look remarkably similar. In fact, the number one most reliable way to distinguish the sand trout from the silver trout is to count the rays on their bottom fins. The silver trout has nine raised while the sand trout has around 12.

The second thing you must know about sand trouts is that they mature entirely into adults after their second year of life. They do not grow to be very large, and adults are at most 1 to 4 lbs.

The third thing that is important to know about sand trouts is that it is common for this type of fish to have a parasite living within it. This parasite is called the spaghetti worm. Many people who have cleaned and gutted sand trouts recognize the spaghetti worm living inside the fish because it is a long parasite with pale yellow coloring. However, the existence of a spaghetti worm inside a sand trout or any other type of fish does not call for concern. If your trout is gutted correctly and cleaned, you can eat the sand trout without any adverse effects.

Sand Trout Description

A sand trout is a small fish that has a yellow body and a bright white underbelly. Its fins are yellow, and its tail fin is colored a yellowish gray. However, if you are looking to catch a hybrid sand trout, its entire upper body is a deep grey with a white underbelly. Its fins are also yellow.

Do I Need a Fishing License to Catch Sand Trout?

Whether or not you need a fishing license to catch sand trout is entirely dependent on the state that you live in, but it is most likely that you do need a license. You must research your state’s Fish and Wildlife resource website to see if there are any special limitations or rules for sand trouts. And if there are no specific rules, make sure all of your fishing licenses and requirements are up-to-date and have not expired.

The vast majority of states in the U.S. do not have a size or bag limit when it comes to sand trouts. 

Best Bait for Sand Trout

There are two main options for live bait that a fisher can use to lure in and catch a sand trout. These options are:

  • Croaker fish
  • The sand eel

The first option is to use a croaker fish. Croaker fish are absolutely irresistible to a sand trout, so using this fish as bait will inevitably help you catch them. This type of fish is available in grocery stores, or they can be caught if you are closer to the water around Florida.

When using a sand eel, you want it to be as well-preserved and fresh as possible. Luckily, sand eels can be kept frozen for several days, and the meat does not turn old, and it does not break down. When preparing the sand eel, experienced fishermen cut off the head and tail and split the body in half.

Best Lures for Sand Trout

If you wish to use a lure to attract sand trouts, then you should know that the shiny your lure is, the better. Sand trouts are attracted to lights and shiny surfaces. This is why using a sand eel as bait is so effective. The sand eel’s body is quite shiny, and a lot of light is reflected off of its scales.

Sand trouts are also attracted to a lot of movement, so make sure that your lure is not stiff. It should mimic the natural movements of a fish when it is placed in the ocean water. If the lure that you have is shiny, you can also shine a flashlight on the waters where it is.

Where to Find a Sand Trout

Sand trouts are saltwater fish, and they live in warm waters. They can be found around Florida and the Gulf of Mexico. Because they have adapted to warm waters and calmer ocean patterns, they have an extended mating and egg-laying season, which happens during the middle of the spring to the late summer.

It is quite easy to locate this trout because they normally swim in large schools together. Since they live in a tropical climate, a fisher can catch a sand trout nearly all year long, barring 1 to 2 months during the wintertime.

How to Eat a Sand Trout

When it comes to eating sand trout, one rule you should follow is the sooner you eat it, the better the meat will taste. Even if you gut and clean this fish properly and fillet the meat into storable sizes, sand trout does not store well in the freezer. The meat is easily damaged because it is so delicate, and it will fall apart when it is taken out of the freezer and thawed. We recommended that you keep a few sand trouts alive if you are not going to eat them soon. They can be placed in a barrel of water for a few days.

Because of the delicateness of the sand trout’s meat, it is easily flavored and spiced. They can be used for grilling, steaming, baking, or frying. 

Conclusion

Having the correct lures or bait and fishing in warm waters is key to finding and successfully catching the sand trout. As long as you fish during the Spring and Summer, you’re guaranteed to catch enough of these fish to feed yourself. If you catch a sand trout that is quite small, be sure to throw it back and only hunt for those trout that have matured.

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Growing up on the south shore of Long Island, Chum Charlie has always had a passion for fishing. His favorite fish to catch is a striped bass and his favorite bait to use is bunker. Off the water, he enjoys blogging and sharing his favorite fishing tips & tricks that he has learned over the years.