Jeff and Mary Poe | Big Lake Guide Service | 337.598.3268
"Fishing has been outstanding over here recently," Jeff says. "We were really catching them good until the heavy rains, both trout and redfish. Now it's mostly redfish in the fresher water, but as soon as the saltier flow returns, we will be on some big trout too. We like the suspending baits when the water is warmer and saltier. We'll throw the Corkies in pearl/chartreuse and pearl/black, any natural color. And we like the Catch in gold/chartreuse and green/gold/chartreuse. We also have good luck on floater divers like the jointed Thunderstick, especially the black/gold one." Most of the best fishing if the water gets saltier will be in the north end of the lake. "From Commissary Point north will be the best place to focus if the salinity level goes up. On the south end, West Cove will be the hot spot. The redfish are everywhere, and they have been for a while. That shouldn't change. We should also see a flounder run develop somewhere from the middle of the month on. We catch a lot of good eating sized flounder this time of year."
Sabine Lake | Dickie Colburn
Colburn's Sabine Connection | 409.883.0723
December fishing on Sabine was even better than advertised, but an incredible amount of rain the first week of January has made it very tough to predict how fishing will play out over the next month or so. Both Toledo Bend and Rayburn rose sharply and with the rivers already full, we have very little room for any more rain. If we can avoid constant runoff through the next month or so, we can look forward to dealing with our largest trout of the year. The prime areas will be the 2-5 foot flats bordering drains on the east side of the lake as well as the flats on the lake side of the islands on the North end. Tidal movements and bait are always key factors, but as a rule, the afternoon hours are much more productive for us this time of the year. Soft plastic suspending baits like the Corky, Crazy Croaker and Rubberback are popular choices, but my "go to" lures have been the Catch V and Catch 2000. There will also be those days when you cannot take a bone/silver Spook or Top Dog away from the trout.
Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures | silverkingadventures.com | 409.935.7242
James is still amped up about the recent run of fishing in the Galveston Bay complex. "It was about as good as I can remember. From about Thanksgiving until the turn of the new year, it was just on fire. Didn't matter which bay you went to or what you threw, the fish were everywhere. I was using mostly 52 series Mirrolures, and catching lots of fish on them. We averaged about 45 fish a day for that whole period of time. Best big fish day we had was on Bass Assassins, though. We caught 14 over 5 pounds, up to 6 3/4, all on the last two passes of the day. We'd gotten off the Mirrolures because the darn redfish were eating them up and keeping us from catching the trout." He plans to start trophy trout hunting in the very near future. "I will rest up for a couple of weeks, then I'm going trophy hunting. We'll be throwing lots of Catch Vs and 2000s, and rigging seven inch Bass Assassins on weighted worm hooks. I bet I catch more big trout on that than anything else, truth be told."
Jimmy West | Bolivar Guide Service | 409.996.3054
Jim has been doing a lot of duck hunting in recent months and a little fishing too. "Duck season was excellent and the fishing's good also. We were out last week and caught a bunch of nice trout. Then yesterday we had 36 reds and 10 trout. The reds were really solid, up to 26 inches. Left 'em biting to go after the trout. These fish were really stacked up in some deep holes and ditches, making for easy catching. Then we got that five inch rain in Chambers County and the back of East Bay's fresh right now. Elm, East Bay and Oyster Bayous all flooded and the back end is totally sweet. I heard of at least six big trout over 8 pounds being caught in that area before the deluge, so I'm sure some big fish will be coming out of there once the salty tides return." He expects to be doing a lot of wading in February in search of big trout. "We hope that the return of higher tides and salty water will move those big fish right back to where they were. Key will be to find the schools of bait and be persistent with the old standby plugs, Mirrolures and Corkies."
West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves | Groves Guide Service
979.849.7019 | 979.864.9323
Randall was on the water with Bob Norton of Norton Lure Co. when I talked to him. "We are trying the new shrimp that Bob has come up with. It's got legs and it humps up when you pull it in. Looks just like a shrimp swimming in the water." Fishing has been steady in the west end of the Galveston Bay system, he says. "The fresh water messed us up a little, but as long as you can get to the six foot depths, the numbers fishing is good. There are a lot of fish still stacked up deep. Our best fish have come while we were wading shallower water though. Finding mud streaks and schools of mullet along shorelines that are shallow enough to wade is the key there. I like it when the tide is high, that way there is more water on the shoreline flat and the fish move up there too. I've been throwing a quarter ounce head when the tides are low and a three eighth ounce head when the tide is higher." In February, he says he'll be wading as much as weather and tide allow. "Fat tides are ideal for finding the big trout."
Matagorda | Tommy Countz
Bay Guide Service | 979.863.7553
Tommy predicts excellent fishing in a variety of locales in February. "The west end of East Bay is great for drifting this time of year. Focusing on mud streaks and using relatively heavy jigheads are keys. I like a quarter ounce head. I'm throwing the Norton Sand Eel in glow/chartreuse a lot. Using braid line helps too; the bite can be light. Keep it low and slow." He also mentions ample wading opportunity in East Bay. "After cold fronts, the wading can be good for big trout. We like all the suspending baits. Topwaters will work too, especially on warm afternoons when the water temps inch over the sixty degree mark. We'll focus most of our wading effort on the muddy guts in the south shoreline coves." He also mentions that the river can be good. "If the river clears, it can be best of all. Move up to a 3/8 ounce head and feather it off the ledges." If the tide is low, he says, get to West Bay for the reds. "We catch a lot of reds in West Bay on low tides this time of year. FInd the guts in the coves and you'll usually find easy limits of the old rubber lips."
Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam
www.palaciosguideservice.com | 979.240.8204
Fishing has been steady in the area for small redfish and speckled trout. Low tides have fish ganged up in deep holes in the rivers and turning basins in the Palacios area. The Tres Palacios, Carancahua, Colorado, and Lavaca Rivers have been hot lately for folks trolling shorelines and throwing Berkley Gulp Swimming Mullet in watermelon and pumpkinseed and Texas Trout Killers in plumkin and salt/pepper chartreuse. Most reds and trout have been on the smaller side, with the trout running in the fifteen to eighteen inch range and the reds mostly about twenty to twenty four. February is one of the best months to hunt for big trout in the Palacios area, as it is all over the state. The flats around the mouth of the Tres Palacios River and the flats out in front of turning basins one and two are good spots to look for these big gals. Corky Fatboys in pearl/black and pearl/chartreuse would be good lures of choice. Work these flats on sunny days after the weather has reached its coldest point and has just begun to warm up for best results.
Port O'Connor | Lynn Smith | Back Bay Guide Service | 361.983.4434
Lynn has been leaving the dock a little later than usual and fishing the warmth of the afternoon. "We're leaving mid-morning and fishing until dark. We really like the warm up that the afternoon brings. Throwing a lot of Corkies and topwaters too. I like the pearl/chartreuse Corky most of all, but when the water gets really clear and the sky is bright, I like the silver hologram even better. Key is to work them slow and wiggle them in the potholes or on the edge of the guts. We've been fishing some deep guts lately with these cold fronts and we'll be working the flats adjacent to those on the warmer days. As far as the topwaters go, I like a Super Spook; anything with a white belly will do. I also like the chrome ones if the water gets a little sandy. We'll be heading to the Baffin Bay/Laguna Madre area some this month. Fishing for wallhangers over there is always good and the fish like the big lures I like to throw. I'll be trying to find the clear water and working potholes and guts near rocks adjacent to dropoffs to deep water."
Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service | 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
Blake has been busy casting and blasting his way across the prairies and local bays. "The dove hunting has been up there with the best years ever. We limit out every day and it doesn't take too long either. Duck hunting was good too. On the fishing side, we are catching some nice trout and redfish as well. The trout have been hanging around shell reefs mostly. We've been wading them and casting glow/chartreuse Sand Eels. The redfish have been coming mostly out of sloughs and marsh drains. They've been biting the Sand Eels, but we have also had good luck throwing spinner baits. It's a treat to see how easy it is to catch reds on those." In February, he plans to focus his efforts on the big trout. "I'll be wading back bays on most outings in February," he says. "I like to concentrate on muddy, grassy areas adjacent to known wintering holes. I'll be throwing Corkies a lot, and of course looking for an excuse to get out the old Super Spook. Every year, some of my biggest trout are caught this month on the topwaters."
Padre Island National Seashore
Billy Sandifer | Padre Island Safaris | 361.937.8446
February typically has some of the lowest tides of the year which makes for excellent beach driving. It is prime time for pompano and large whiting for bottom fishers and black drum and redfish are usually available in varying numbers and sizes. Peeled, fresh shrimp and "Fishbites" produce good action on all these species. Sharks are available during warming trends. Speckled trout have been present whenever conditions have been moderate since late December and should be available to dedicated "grinders" throughout the month. Day in and day out, model 51 and 52 Mirrolures tend to be the best producers, but during times with light longshore current Corkies, Tsunami's, Rubberbacks and other soft plastic plugs also do well. Lure color selection is important in the surf zone and the choice of color can vary from day to day. Never totally count out the use of a 3/4 oz. silver spoon in the winter surf. Large numbers of birds have been feeding daily near shore for some time and if this continues we may well have a run of little tunny by month's end.
Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata | [email protected] | 361.563.1160
The month of December turned out to be a good month for the Laguna Madre. We had a few cold fronts that came through the area and some of them brought much needed rain, which was beneficial for the Laguna. Fortunately, the air temperatures have not remained too cold for too long and that has allowed the water temperatures to remain in the low sixties and upper fifties. These higher water temperatures translate into shallow water fishing. Two to four days after a cold front moves through, high pressure usually moves in which creates clear skies, which then allows the sun to warm up the shallow waters. On these days, I've been fishing in two to three and a half feet of water that has scattered potholes and a mixture of sand and a little mud. I've been using Exude RT Slugs in colors like bone diamond, pearl/chartreuse, plum/chartreuse and mardi gras rigged on eighth ounce jig heads and catching trout up to 29 1/2 inches and many slot reds.
Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez www.sightcast1.com | 361.937.5961
Joe expects to see some incredible action over a wide area this month "The water around here is running much more clear than last year at this time. The King Ranch Shoreline is crystal clear and has been producing some big trout already. The channels near the JFK Causeway fill up with fish every time it gets really cold. I'll be fishing that pattern after hard fronts, tossing my Exude onto the edge and working it off the deep drops. When it's warmer, it will be wading time. Right now, there is clear water in the front of Baffin, places like the Badlands and the Meadows. Walking among the potholes and throwing the Catch V and Catch 2000 will produce some big trout and redfish this month." Sightcasting reds is still a possibility too, he says. "Nine Mile Hole has clear water too. There are still plenty of reds in there at times. The tide needs to be relatively high for this time of year, and when it is, we are seeing lots of redfish and a few giant trout too. Tossing the RT Slug or a paddletail at them will work just like it does in warmer months."
Port Mansfield | Bruce & Brandon Shuler
GetAway Adventures Lodge | 956.944.4000
Bruce is pumped over recent results on big trout. "Of course I had that fish that went nearly eleven pounds last month and Ted Springer and his customers have caught three others right at nine pounds. We are seeing good numbers in the seven to nine pound class." He says the wise will focus their efforts on the days just before and after the new and full moons in February, and will also try to fish the days just before and after frontal passages. "Put the right moon with the right weather this month and the fish of a lifetime can be the reward. I've been doing really well lately on the Baby Bomber Long A. It's only about three inches long. Twitch it, then stop. It takes it a really long time to float up after you stop. That's what I like about it; it forces you to fish slow. Most of these big fish we've caught lately have bitten on a super slow retrieve. Of course, Corkies, Catch Vs and Catch 2000s will also be a big part of our arsenal this month. We'll also be watching for days when the water warms into the sixties and throwing topwaters then."
Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Janie and Fred Petty | www.fishingwithpettys.com | 956.943.2747
The new year started off with a bang. We've been bringing in limits of reds and have tagged some oversize giants that are measuring up to 32 inches. You can tell how healthy these fish are when you clean them and see the extra layers of fat they're carrying in the rib section. Most of our redfish are coming on the red Mansfield Mauler with a three inch Berkley Gulp shrimp, but the smaller topwaters are also hot for wading or days with no wind. The trout just keep getting bigger; with temperatures above normal, the sows are hanging out in shallow water on Gas Well Flats and around the drum boats. They're easy to see, but can be difficult to trick. We have better luck in pot holes with about two feet of water using a Texas Thunder cork and quarter ounce jig head with new penny Gulp shrimp. Check with Rip at Hook, Line and Sinker. Freddy says, "Strong north wind and outgoing tides make February one of the best months of the year for nailing big fish!"