In the Thursday edition we started our two part series of obscure facts about speckled trout. Here is the conclusion with five more facts, facts and mysteries surrounding the state’s most sought after saltwater fish.
Fact 6: Did you know the hottest rumor in the Texas fishing world is that a 36-inch trout heavier than the current state record was caught, killed and eaten in Sabine Lake this spring? Or was it Port Mansfield? There is an email circulating email inboxes showing an unidentified angler with a beastly trout but so far, we have not been able to track him down. Have you gotten this email? If so, we would like to hear from you. These rumors grow every time they are forwarded.
Fact 7: Did you know speckled trout are cannibals? Researchers in South Carolina found smaller speckled trout in the stomachs of all age classes they studied and found many juvenile redfish. Shrimp are their favorite food for much of their life but once they get over 20 inches their diet dramatically shifts toward eating relatively large finfish.
Fact 8: Gary Stunz and David McKee of Texas A&M University conducted an interesting study related to catch and release mortality of trout.
The following is from the conclusion of their project.
“Using a variety of angling techniques, we captured 448 spotted seatrout ranging from 250 to 760 mm total length (TL) and assessed mortality in replicate field enclosures. The overall short-term mortality for all treatments was relatively low (11 percent); the majority of fish survived. The exception was angler skill level.”
“Angling by novices produced a significantly higher mortality rate than angling by skilled anglers; however, mortality averaged only 18 percent even for inexperienced anglers. To evaluate long-term mortality, we monitored 27 spotted seatrout held in a laboratory facility for 30 days; the fish showed no signs of long-term mortality. We observed 11 percent mortality during the first 48 hours and no mortality during the subsequent 28 days.”
Fact 9: Did you know the “slicks” anglers like to fish under are actually the result of trout barfing? When feeding heavily they regurgitate a portion of their food and when it is an oily item like menhaden, a small oil slick occurs.
Fact 10: A study conducted by Larry McEachron of TPWD in 1987 found that trout were the third most common species harvested by trotlines in the Texas black drum fishery. According to TPWD it was determined that using circle hooks reduced mortality of fish significantly; placing trotlines on the bottom reduced bycatch further without affecting targeted black drum catches.
These kinds of intensive studies and actions of conservation are one of the reasons Texas’ trout fishery is thriving and will probably continue to do so for many years to come.
(To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can hear him on "Moore Outdoors" Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI. you can find him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/extremewildlife.)