Winter is definitely back and fortunately for only a short spell if the forecasts hold. While no fishing to speak of took place Tuesday, with temperatures in the 30s under a biting and gusty north wind, we will address a frequent question from readers.

Is there a difference between sand trout and Gulf trout is probably in the top five in the frequency of the questions we receive.

While many anglers use the term interchangeably there is a difference. Both have similar characteristics and are great table fare, often saving anglers from getting “skunked” on a fishing trip.

There are several similarities between the two fish. One of the main distinguishing features is that sand trout have one or two canine teeth on the point of the upper jaw. The best way to tell the difference is to count the anal rays. Gulf trout, also called silver sea trout, have eight to nine while sand trout possess eleven.

Gulf trout as the name implies are found in the Gulf of Mexico waters; however, they do migrate into the bays. While Gulf trout grow larger than sand trout, that has not been my experience with the two fish. The sand trout I have caught have been on average by far larger than the slender Gulf trout.

Although not a visual difference, Gulf trout freeze better than sand trout. The larger Gulf trout are found in the deeper waters of the Gulf of Mexico and neither fish grow very large with sand trout rarely exceeding two pound and Gulf trout a few pounds more.

Interestingly, the State of Texas record for sand trout is 6.25 pounds while the same for the Gulf trout is 6.91 pounds.

Capt. Joe Kent is a columnist for The Daily News. Report your catch to reel.report@galvnews.com or call 409-683-5273.

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