Reports & Forecasts: February 2021

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures - silverkingadventures.com – 409.935.7242
James will be ready to do plenty of wading once February arrives. “We've been catching some nice trout lately in pretty deep water. All our big ones are coming from depths over ten feet, more like fourteen mostly. This won't be the case once we get closer to the end of winter. February is more about wading, for me. We have had a few decent trips wading lately, catching fish on soft plastics, MirrOlures and Leles. These days, wading is best when the tide is low, especially in West Bay. Places I used to wade years ago are just too deep anymore. When the fish pull into the coves, they don't always move into the shallows in the back. If they stay out front, in the deeper guts, they're much harder to get, unless the tide's low. The opposite is true in some of the bays and lakes closer to San Luis Pass. Down there, the catching is often much better when the tide is relatively high. Probably because the fish stay in the deeper water of the pass itself if the tide's low and the weather's cold. They spread out in the shallows when it warms up and the tide gushes in.”

Jimmy West - Bolivar Guide Service – 409.996.3054
Jim uses special tactics to target the bigger trout this time of year. “I fish mostly afternoon hours in February. We'll leave the dock in the middle of the day and spend some time in the bayous throwing tails. This produces a few big fish and is a way to make something out of the daylight hours. But, the bite for big trout is usually much better in the last hour or two of the day and into the early part of the night. I spend my time wading shallow, muddy flats then. The water is warmest at this time. I like the fishing best when the wind is blowing enough to add some color to the water. What we really don't want are calm conditions and crystal clear water. Mostly, I throw Paul Brown Lures like FatBoys and the broken-backed Corkies, sometimes 51M MirrOlures, anything that looks like a small fish, which is what the big trout want to eat. I don't spend much time throwing soft plastics when I'm wading this time of year. Often, the key to getting bites is working the lures slow. Too much speed with a FatBoy or broken back will render them useless.”

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves - Groves Guide Service  979.849.7019 – 979.864.9323
Randall likes the fishing in February as much as in any month, especially since it offers a great chance at the next opportunity for a photo with a big trout. “Wading has been good lately. When the water temperature is above 60, which it has been quite a bit, we're throwing topwaters most of the time. The bite has been really exciting, at times. When the blow ups stop coming, we're switching over to Paul Brown Lures. We've been catching some solid trout mixed with slot reds, and this should continue into February, which is a great month for fishing this way, if it's warm. If the weather's cooler, I prefer drifting areas of the open bay where the water is at least four feet deep. Out there, I like to key on areas where I see cormorants, pelicans or terns working, anything which might lead me to a concentration of bait. Staying in close proximity to the rafts of mullet is the key to catching fish on this pattern. When drifting the scattered shell at such depths, we generally throw Norton Sand Eels on jigheads heavy enough to keep them close to or in contact with the bottom.”

Matagorda | Bay Guide Service
Tommy Countz- 979.863.7553 cell 281.450.4037
Tommy likes to target some of the big trout known to haunt the shallows in East Matagorda in February, but other options also provide thrills to anglers heading to the area. “In East Bay, some big trout will be caught by waders on both sides of the bay. Typically, the fishing is better on the south shoreline when the weather's warmer and the tide's high. After fronts, when it's colder, the bite is usually better around some of the reefs close to the intracoastal on the other side. Of course, people who don't like wading can also target trout out in the middle of the bay, throwing soft plastics on relatively heavy jigheads in streaky water around the reefs out there. In West Bay, when the tide is low, fishing for reds in the depressions and guts on the south shoreline can be great this month. Throwing dark soft plastics on light jigheads usually works best to target them. And, when it's windy, the fishing in the Colorado River can provide a way to keep on catching. As long as the runoff isn't too heavy, there will be trout and reds hanging around the ledges and drop offs in there.”

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam
www.palaciosguideservice.com – 979.240.8204
Our fishing has settled firmly into winter patterns here in the Palacios area. Trout are seeking shelter in the depths of rivers and harbors when it's cold. The best bite then is on DSL soft plastics in colors like watermelon and purple rain rigged on three-eighths ounce jigheads. The fish typically hug the ledges at the edges of deep holes, right near the bottom, biting best while the lure is dropping. The turning basins have produced well too, with free-lined live shrimp working best in there. A small split-shot placed about two feet above the shrimp seems to keep them at the right depth. The super low tides have pulled the redfish out of the marshes and onto main-bay shorelines. In the super clear water, sight-casting opportunities have been good. We're using three-inch pearl Gulp! shrimp on sixteenth-ounce heads for that drill. Pier fishing has been a pleasant surprise so far this winter, with lots of keeper trout being landed on glow and pink beetle and shad rigs. We should continue to see fish caught on all these patterns for the rest of the winter. In spring, moving tides and rising water levels will likely change things significantly.

Port O’Connor | Lynn Smith
Back Bay Guide Service – 361.983.4434
Lynn says he has pretty much a singular focus when he's fishing in February. “This month, fishing is all about big trout for me. We don't spend time working patterns that produce numbers of smaller fish, and we do our best to ignore the redfish too, though we sometimes find ourselves fighting a few while we're trying to catch a big trout. I'm somewhat stubborn about lure choice this time of year too. Some people want to throw topwaters all the time, but I stick mostly with slow-sinking twitch baits like Paul Brown Lures this month. They work better on average than the topwaters. You can catch plenty of fish on soft plastics too, but the big trout really like the bigger lures that look more like a fish. We spend most of our time in backwater areas, in depressions associated with the drains. We key on areas which are holding some bait at least, preferably good concentrations of bait, which tends to mean mullet for the most part this time of year. This kind of fishing is a patience game, and a stick to details and plans game. When it works, it's about as fun as fishing gets for us.”

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service - 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
With duck and dove seasons winding down and ending, Blake will get back to fishing all the time this month. “We still like to target reds in some of the backwater areas this month. By February, I usually have a really good idea which areas are holding some fish. In warmer weather, with higher tides, it's usually possible to catch some on topwaters in the shallows. When it's colder and tides run lower, the guts and drains hold more fish, and soft plastics work better to catch 'em. For trout, we key on several different kinds of areas this month. When it's colder, the fishing is usually better over a muddy bottom with some scattered shell, in relatively close proximity to a drop off into deeper water and/or a major reef. We'll throw dark Sand Eels with chartreuse tails when fishing this pattern, mostly. Slow-sinking twitch baits and topwaters will work better when the weather's warmer. And, we will do more of our fishing in places with a grassy bottom, mixed with either mud or sand. Usually, by the end of the month, the sand and grass pattern becomes more reliable. That's a a spring staple in the Coastal Bend—wading sandy, grassy shorelines.”

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata – [email protected] – 361.563.1160
In the month of February, both water and air temperatures are typically cold. With the hunting seasons winding down and ending, more people start thinking about fishing, and this month is a great time to hunt for some of the trophy trout which made this area famous. With cold temperatures, the fish tend to prefer deeper water over a muddy bottom at night, then move into shallower water as the sun shines and heats things up during the daytime hours. Early in the mornings, I like to start off fishing along channel edges and casting into water that's more than five feet deep. I throw salt and pepper/chartreuse, glow/chartreuse, plum/chartreuse and chicken on a chain Bass Assassin Die Dappers rigged on quarter-ounce Spring-lock jigheads when doing so. I like to work the lures slowly, very close to the bottom. By mid-morning, especially on warm, sunny days, I switch over to four-inch Sea Shads in the same colors, and rig them on eighth-ounce heads. Once the shallows heat up, I concentrate my efforts in areas where I find concentrations of mullet or shad close to the surface. Normally, this is in places with a bottom covered by lots of dark grass.

Corpus Christi / Joe Mendez—www.sightcast1.com—361.877.1230
February is a famous month for fishing the Upper Laguna Madre and Baffin Bay. “Baffin has produced some giant trout in February. But the action for big trout can be as good or better in the Laguna Madre as in Baffin in some years. Typically, the lagoon has really clear water this time of year, so the bite can be best in low light conditions, when the fish are most active, and aren't so spooky. Perhaps the best way to catch them in broad daylight in shallow, clear water, is by sight-casting. Big trout are easiest to see when they're over a sandy bottom. They look almost black against the white sand. Casting well out in front of them from a good distance away and moving the lure into their field of vision works best to earn strikes. Most people experienced at this game start by making casts which don't bring the lure within inches of the fish's face. They start a bit farther away, and work the lure closer on subsequent casts, if the fish doesn't react. When trying to catch big trout in places like Rocky Slough and the King Ranch this time of year, we also catch plenty of slot redfish.”

P. I.N.S. Fishing Forecast | Eric Ozolins
361-877-3583 | Oceanepics.com
We've now made it to the heart of another mild winter; no major arctic blasts have passed over the Texas Coast. Because this is true, water temperatures have maintained at high enough levels to sustain activity in the surf. This has been another fantastic year for Florida pompano. We've seen them in great numbers. Best bet for targeting these tasty fish is to get a long-range casting setup and launch a combo of Fish-bites and peeled shrimp. While targeting the pompano, redfish, black drum, whiting and even sheepshead might bite instead. In terms of bigger fish, small numbers of bull reds should remain in the surf, scattered here and there. The three main species of sharks present will be bonnethead, sharpnosed and sandbars. The sandbar sharks are by far the biggest. If water temps remain well above normal, blacktips might move in early. Fresh whiting serves as ideal bait for both sandbars and blacktips. The smaller bonnetheads and sharpnosed sharks might pick up baits intended for pompano and drum. This is a calm and relaxing time in general on Texas beaches, with low traffic levels. Keep an eye on the weather, as the passage of strong cold fronts can create dangerous driving conditions.

Port Mansfield | Ruben Garza
Snookdudecharters.com – 832.385.1431
Getaway Adventures Lodge – 956.944.4000
Fishing has been good lately. The normal bite has not been too aggressive, it's more of a soft tap, or the line just feels heavy. Occasionally, we're feeling that solid thump, especially when the fish are biting Paul Brown Lures. With water levels low, we're targeting fish in areas where we wouldn't normally be able to wade, in places which have current depths of thigh to waist-deep. KWiggler Willow-tail Shads on eighth-ounce jigheads are producing best. Colors like dirty jalapeno, Mansfield Margarita, bone diamond and flamingo are effective lately. Both floating and sinking Paul Brown FatBoys have worked well too. South of port, areas in West Bay, the northern parts of The Saucer, The Pipeline and Bennie's Bar have all held fish recently. North of town, fishing is best on days with good weather and light winds on the west side, where even a few mullet can indicate a good school of fish. If winds are stronger off the gulf, the east side is better, around potholes in places like The Weather Station and Dubb's Island, also the spoil islands closer to The Land Cut. Since tides are so low, remember some of the places you normally fish are too shallow to access.

Lower Laguna Madre—South Padre—Port Isabel
Aaron Cisneros | tightlinescharters.com – 956-639-1941
We've been enjoying great winter fishing on the Lower Laguna Madre. Trout have been biting consistently in depths of three to five feet. Steady action has been in areas with a predominantly grassy bottom and some large, sandy potholes. Often, on the warm days, we find schools of slot reds in these same areas. We're throwing mostly KWiggler Ball-tail Shads in plum/chartreuse rigged on eighth-ounce screw-lock jigheads, working the lures slowly, with occasional pops to bring them up in the water column. Redfish action has been fair to good, with best action on flats of one to two-foot depths, with sandy bottoms. Of course, this is weather dependent; the fish move deeper for a while during cold spells. Plum/chartreuse Ball-tails have worked well for the reds too, with bone Spook Juniors working better when lots of bait activity is seen at the surface. Slow retrieves have done the trick. I expect these patterns to continue working through February, as long as temperatures and tides stay low. Fish will remain congregated in deeper areas of the flats as long as the tide remains at current levels, which makes locating them fairly easy and keeps the catch-rates high.

 
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