Most anglers might assume the only time to target sea trout are during the hours of darkness on a river with a fly rod but that is far from the truth. In recent times, targeting these majestic creatures within estuaries and along coastlines has grown in popularity.

In this article, we will be discussing how to target estuary sea trout using lures, how to locate sea trout and how to utilise specific lure fishing tactics to help increase your hook up and catch rate.

These stunning migratory species can be targeted on our shorelines using basic lure fishing tactics. Returning to the sea allows the sea trout to consume a rich food source; here it will hunt for shrimp, smaller fish like gobies, sandeel and other mouth-sized snacks. The sea has better offerings, unlike rivers where competition for food can be very high due to resident brown trout.

To minimise predation, sea trout have come up with a strategy to survive and that’s by staying tight to shorelines or estuaries when actively hunting. Giving anglers the chance to catch one of these fine species.

Sea trout fishing tackle

So what tackle do I need to target sea trout on the coast?

A 9 or 10 foot lure rod with a casting weight of 10-40 grams will cover most fishing conditions you will encounter. This will provide the length required for casting at distance whilst still giving you the ability to cast accurately to showing fish. Ensure the rod is fitted with good guides and fitments that can withstand the abuse of saltwater fishing.

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A saltwater resistant fixed spool spinning reel in a 3000-4000 size is recommended. This size of reel will balance your rod setup nicely. We also require a reel with a slightly higher gear ratio for employing speed fishing tactics (which we will cover later on in this article) as well as having a slightly larger spool for aiding casting distance.

shimano_nasci_fb_spinning_reel

We recommend a light spinning reel as sea trout fishing requires a lot of casting to cover a lot of water and a lightweight reel will stop any unwanted casting fatigue.

Like any lure fishing application, we recommend using a braided mainline. It provides direct contact with your lure and enhances bite detection due to its low stretch properties. 20-30lb breaking strain braid or 0.12mm-0.15mm is the recommended line for your setup. Low enough in diameter to aid casting distance and stay connected to your lure, whilst still strong enough to bully fish away from any possible snags.

Best sea trout lures

Below we have outlined some of our go to sea trout lures.

1. Abu Garcia Zeppo – 10gram

Abu Garcia Zeppo

A true classic, the Zeppo is an easily identified lure with its wide and heavy bottom that tapers up to a slightly lighter and narrower head. This unique design provides a unique head up action while a very erratic flutter is created by its wide rear body profile. This lure will flutter erratically on the drop or pause.

We recommend the copper/silver model as our go-to sea trout colour.

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2. Abu Toby – 10gram

Abu Garcia Toby

The classic toby needs no introduction! It’s been taming fish of all species for years! We recommend the silver blue colour.

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3. Savage Gear line thru sand eel

Line through option

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The sandeel lure is built from a super strong, hard ABS material for long lasting durability and has a unique spear fitted inside for a more aerodynamic construction benefiting casting. Cast the lure out with ease and achieve bigger casting distances, even when fishing in windy conditions.

The swimming action only enhances the attractiveness of this lure. It will swim with its head tilted slightly upward and creates a slick S-curving motion that predators will find incredibly alluring. On the spin stop, the lure flutters and rolls backwards, mimicking the action of a sandeel fleeing and trying to dig itself into the sand.

On the twitch, the lure will dart erratically and flash in an incredibly lifelike fashion that will catch the eye of lurking predators!

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4. Savage Gear line thru seeker ISP

Line through option

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With a hard- blade design, this lure swims with the most lively and erratic motion with a dazzling 360-degree rotation. This causes the lure to spin away from the centre line which heavily provokes fish, ending in crisp and hard strikes.

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5. Westin trout runner

Line through option

westin_trout_runner

Another great inline lure brought to you by Westin, with its trout profile body design. The trout runner darts from left to right while producing an erratic body roll that will send sea trout wild! As with the aforementioned line through lures, this lure is great for executing the hanging spin stop technique that we will cover below.

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Angling Active Tips

Line through lures can provide a better hook up ratio. Once a trout is hooked the lure has the ability to slide up the leader which decreases the chances of the trout using the weight of the lure to throw the hook.

Locating sea trout

When sea trout return to the sea, it requires safety from predators but it also requires an area where a rich food source is obtainable. This will often see the sea trout cruise around the shallows in order to escape bigger predators and when it needs more safety it takes to cover in vegetation. This underwater vegetation also provides a great food source opportunity. Murky waters also allow sea trout to move more actively as it is harder for visual predators to hunt in these conditions but it allows anglers to fool these wary creatures.

sea trout estuary fishing

In gin clear water conditions opt for a realistic imitation, sea trout are a visual hunter and can be hard to fool in clear water conditions. When the visibility is too low, of course, it becomes harder for the fish to hunt. Slightly murky water will have sea trout striking more confidently and this should increase your catch rate fishing in these conditions.

Key areas to focus on are estuaries which are the tidal mouth of a large river. This is where the tide meets the stream and sea trout will move down river during high tide and will feed in estuaries. Fishing the 3 hours before the tide is fully in and the 2 hours when the tide is going out will give you the best possibility of catching one of these elusive specimens.

Leader material

We recommend using a fluorocarbon leader due to its stiffer and more durable properties, which can come in handy when fishing lures with a line through design. These lures can wear the line from their unique action so we recommend attaching a leader and not connecting the lure directly to your braided mainline. The stiffness a fluorocarbon leader provides keeps the lures and hooks from tangling during the cast. Fluorocarbon also provides low visibility properties which are ideal for wary fish or fishing in gin clear water. As an alternative, a monofilament leader can be used as a more affordable option.

fluorocarbon leader

To connect your braided mainline to your leader, you can use a uni to uni knot or alternatively a swivel can be added to stop any possibilities of line twist.

Rigging Up a Line-Through Lure For Sea Trout

1. Thread your fluorocarbon or monofilament leader through the lure.

Thread the line through the lure

2. Then thread the plastic or rubber bead on behind the lure. This bead will protect the knot from the weight of the lure on the cast and retrieve.

Thread the bead on behind the lure

3. Tie on the supplied split rings/solid stainless ring which attaches to the treble hook.

Tie on the hook via the attached split ring

4. The rig is now complete and ready to fish.

Completed line through rigged lure

Sea trout lure fishing techniques

There are two techniques that are most commonly used for sea trout lure fishing. Both techniques are influenced by the Scandinavian angling community. Below we cover how to implement both of them in your lure fishing tactics.

The hanging spin-stop

This method is known around the world, but the Scandinavians have a very specific way of implementing this already effective technique and it has proved to be a very deadly method for catching sea trout. It is called the hanging spin-stop. The idea is to make the metal lure rotate slowly during the pause. This creates a lot of vibration and lure flash. It is a deadly technique, but it also requires the right lure to make it work. A lure with a line through design is beneficial for replicating this style of presentation. These style of lures have great casting abilities thanks to the heavy lower section of the lures body. The flat upper body makes it flash during the retrieve. When stopped, it slowly rotates to the side. Remember to keep the line tight to the lure and feel for the vibrations from the rotating lure as it slowly falls through the water column. If you do not keep contact with the lure, the lure will fall like a stone. Keeping the line tight allows you to control the fall rate of the lure more efficiently.

When starting the retrieve again, make an aggressive twitch. This will cause the line through lure to jump to the side and this is the moment the majority of strikes will occur.

speed spin retrieve

Coastal speedspin

As in the word speedspin, speed is everything. In order to imitate an escaping fish, you have to retrieve fast. And by fast, we mean really fast. This method will see your lure ride high up in the water column and ideally just below the surface. The method is designed to imitate fleeing baitfish.

Using a spinning reel with a high gear ratio will ensure you won’t become fatigued whilst fishing. For this method to work effectively, the lure has to have a very streamlined profile. Fishing a wide flat bodied metal lure will have the lure skipping and jumping across the surface and will provide an unnatural presentation. The Savage Gear 3D Line Thru Sandeel has the correct profile you are looking for to implementing this technique. It is slim, but well balanced, so it can handle the speed needed to track well. The speedspin technique can help achieve two things. It can help locate fish as it allows you to search water very quickly and effectively and it also provokes a reaction strike when fish may not be actively hunting/feeding.

Cover Water!

The most successful sea trout anglers are the ones that cover a lot of water. Standing in one spot can be the right approach on some days, but if you want to increase your chances of catching, you have to search for the fish by walking and covering water. First of all, you have the ability to fish a lot of areas and second, you can present your lure to new fish frequently. If you find a shoal of trout you will often be successful in catching a couple. However, when presenting the same lure in front of a shoal of trout they can eventually switch off to a lure. The best way to overcome this is to change your lures frequently. Change sizes, colours, and retrieves. This will optimise your overall success rate.