Reports & Forecasts: February 2009

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe | Big Lake Guide Service | 337.598.3268
In February, the trout should still be on the flats. Twitch baits will be the lures of choice. Catch 5s and 2000s, Corkys and Thundersticks will produce many sow trout. Soft plastics on 1/8 ounce or lighter heads will also be useful in the quest for the big one. Large concentrations of mullet and buck shad are good indicators that big trout are in an area. The redfish are everywhere on shorelines and all the weirs; they're biting soft plastics the best. Reds have been so plentiful we have even caught them on a bare hook! Flounder will begin their return trip sometime between Valentine's day and the end of February. They can be found in cuts leading from the lake to the marsh. Fishing is best on an incoming tide. You will also pick up trout and reds while flounder fishing. The best lures for flounder are minnow imitation soft plastics such as H & H Cocahoes and stinky baits such as the Berkley Gulp.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures | | 409.935.7242
"Fishing is off the hook bubba," James reports with his typical colorful
enthusiasm. "It's mostly a drift fishing thing. The fish have been in two and a half to maybe five feet of water. All the bays are salty and green, and we've been catching them everywhere from Christmas Bay to the Trinity River. Best bite has been on Blurps in those dingy dark colors. I've been throwing MirrOlures all the time, mostly a 51M in yellow/silver/pink. Also that Texas Chicken MirrOdine. You don't get as many bites on it, but the quality of fish is good. I had one trout over twenty six inches on it the other day. A typical catch is 40 or 50 trout. One day we had about 70, with 40 of those over 20 inches. Another day, the reds ate us up and we caught about 30, up to 35 inches. I'm about to start wading more of the time, targeting big trout. As long as we don't get a flood or freeze, we're set up for some productive trophy fishing."

Jimmy West | Bolivar Guide Service | 409.996.3054
Jim is winding up his duck season and getting ready to start doing some
serious trout fishing. "I've been in the marsh hunting ducks most every day.
I have fished a few times, mostly in some deep holes in the marsh drains.
We catch a mixed bag of trout and reds in there usually. I like to keep doing that some as we get into prime trophy trout time too. We'll start the day fairly late in the morning, go after our reds in the marsh, then come out and wade the shoreline for the trout as the sun is beginning to set. Often, the best big trout bite is right around dark. We'll be throwing a lot of Catch 2000s, Catch 5s and 5M MirrOlures. I also will be bumping some soft plastics on the bottom, especially the Stanley Wedge Tails and the old standby Bass Assassins. There will be some heavy stringers caught in coming weeks by those who are willing to stay out late enough and find the schools of mullet on area shorelines."

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves | Groves Guide Service
979.849.7019 | 979.864.9323
Fishing has been steady in Randall's area bays lately, and he says that as long as we don't get a bunch of rain, it should stay that way through February. "The fish are in a typical winter pattern; we are catching most everything over mud covered with scattered shell. The Norton Sand Eels are the main ticket. We like the flashy colors like red magic on bright days and darker colors when it's cloudy. The new voodoo color has been good for the dark sky duty. Topwaters have been effective on the warmest days too. We've had some extended warm ups and if that kind of weather holds through February, we should have even better topwater action. This time of year, you can choose to target bigger trout by wading. When we do that, we typically expect to catch a few to maybe five or so each. On the other hand, if it's numbers you're after, drifting deeper water will usually give you a real good shot at catching a limit."

Matagorda | Tommy Countz
Bay Guide Service | 979.863.7553 cell 281.450.4037
The Colorado River may be a good option in February, Tommy predicts. "Things are set up good for the river right now, especially if we get some colder weather. The water is green and salty. We catch fish in there by drifting and chunking soft plastics in the conventional way and by dredging them behind the boat too. Heavier jigheads like 3/8 ounce work best, and you want soft plastics with a little movement in their tail. On warmer days, we sometimes catch quality trout in the river by keying on the west shore with MirrOlures too. Other options will be of course the scattered shell over mud in the west end of East Bay, in the off colored streaks. Also, the drains on the south shore will likely produce some really big trout on Corkys and other suspending baits worked really slow. In West Bay, fishing for reds will be outstanding behind the fronts when the water drops out and stacks the fish into the guts."

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam | 979.240.8204
Winter fishing has been very good in our area. Corkys and slow sinking MirrOlures have dominated our wading boxes as the trout and redfish have moved over deep mud mixed with shell. Corky Fat Boys in pearl/black, chartreuse/pearl, and dayglo have been the best producers for solid trout up to twenty six inches. MirrOdines in pink/black and green/silver have also accounted for some big gals. Redfish continue to eat almost any Gulp shrimp; pearl, new penny, glow and nuclear chicken have all been good for slot fish. The local rivers have been producing both trout and reds when the weather has dipped into the thirties or forties. The Tres Palacios, Colorado, and Lavaca Rivers have been holding smaller trout, with best lures in the deep locales being anything colored glow/chartreuse on a 3/8 ounce head. In February finding concentrations of mullet over mud and shell will be the key.

Port O'Connor | Lynn Smith | Back Bay Guide Service | 361.983.4434
When fishing in the Port O'Connor area in February, Lynn likes to focus on areas with a soft mud bottom and some oyster shell too. "I still like those muddy flats next to deep water which also have some scattered shell and or solid reefs on them. The big key this time of year is to locate the mullet. Sometimes, just a few can lead you to a bunch of fish. I'll throw primarily soft plastics, like Bass Assassins in plum/chartreuse and morning glory. I like an eighth ounce head normally. The key is to work them low and slow. If the fish get a little more active, I like the suspending lures like Corkys and Spros. They must be worked slowly too, but they sometimes account for some of the year's best trout. I won't hesitate to use the topwaters either. The weather is the determining factor there. If we keep having these warm spells and the water is into the sixties and seventies, the topwaters will get a lot of play."

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service | 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
Blake's cast and blast season has ended and he's planning on hunting up some big trout in February. "I've actually been seeing a lot of nice trout, a couple of real monsters in fact, while running around in the air boat on the duck hunts. Most of the trout are in places where I normally catch redfish. Muddy, shallow flats in the back lakes or on shorelines adjacent to cuts leading into the lakes are good places to find some of the biggest trout of the year in late-winter. I like to move around quite a bit and throw a lot of Corkys when I'm primarily hunting for the big trout. I also keep all my soft plastics on hand and throw them a lot too, the old standby Sand Eels in purple/chartreuse and other dark colors and even the Gulp baits. February is a fun month for me; it's a real change from the daily duck hunting and targeting reds that we've done earlier in the winter. I can't wait to get out and chose some of those monster trout I saw."

Padre Island National Seashore
Billy Sandifer | Padre Island Safaris | 361.937.8446
Fishing in February can be excellent in the surf for a variety of species but of course it all hinges on tides, water color and current conditions. Windows of opportunity are typically the second day behind the passage of a Cold Front. Avoid high tide periods and NE winds in access of 15 mph. Pompano, bull and slot reds, sheephead, black drum and whiting are usually in good supply. Cut bait or finger mullet on the reds and "Fishbites" and dead, fresh shrimp for the other species. All of the above is sit and wait bottom fishing. Winter trout have been extremely hard to come by through Dec. but Feb. can be the best month for them. These are typically sought very slowly retrieving M51 Mirrolures in a wide array of color combinations but don't hesitate to experiment. Sandbar sharks 6-7 ' in length are typically available if weed isn't too much of a problem keeping kayaked baits out. Large Whiting are as good a bait as any for the Sandbar Sharks. Other shark species may be available.

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata | [email protected] | 361.563.1160
The weather has been cooperating quite nicely and so have the fish. There have been plenty of trout in the upper end of the Laguna Madre, with some reaching the 28 inch mark and many between 18 and 23 inches. The trout have been roaming along the edges of channels, on grass lines with drop offs and pot holes in three to four feet of water. The redfish have been in shallower water, one or two feet. Coming up are my favorite months to fish. The water temperatures usually run from the fifties into the low sixties. On sunny days, I'll be wading along shorelines and areas with muddy bottoms, moving along slowly in order to cover the area around me thoroughly. On a 1/8 ounce Spring Lock jighead, I'll be rigging pearl and good penny Bass Assassin Blurp Shads or the new Assassin five inch Swim Bait in gold shiner and Tennessee shad. This is also a great time for the MirrOLure Catch 5 in my favorite "

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez | | 361.937.5961
Joe has been fishing a pattern in recent weeks that should hold up throughout February. "I've been targeting water depths of about three to maybe five feet, fishing bright sandy pockets off the west shore of the Laguna Madre. We've been throwing soft plastics rigged on fairly light jigheads. The water is in beautiful shape in the upper reaches of the Lagoon lately, and with all the north winds we get this time of year, if should stay that way. There are also some fish hanging around the channels, not only the main ditch of the ICW, but also in some of the other channels that come off of the main one. The fish there seem to be smaller on average than are those in the shallower waters around Emmord's and Beacroft's Holes, though. Actually, as the winter wears on, there are often some really big trout right on the west shore of the Lagoon. It shapes up to be really good with the water in such a pretty condition."

Port Mansfield | Bruce & Brandon Shuler
GetAway Adventures Lodge | 956.944.4000
Bruce predicts some world class trophy trout action in February. "We'll be doing the cold water wading thing, working our lures really slow. I favor two lures above all others this time of year, the Catch 2000 and the seven in Money Minnow. These lures can be worked at a crawl at various depths, especially if you are willing to play with them a little. By that I mean to use various size (and weight) of hooks on the Catch 2000s mainly. You can catch all the medium-sized trout you want around here lately on topwaters, but I believe the really big ones prefer something that sinks and is moving at a snail's pace. It's hard to argue with things that have worked for so long. We'll leave the dock later than usual, fish longer into the day and focus our efforts on soft, dark bottoms, especially in drains that extend from deep to shallow water. I particularly like areas fitting that description that are right next to the ICW."

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Janie and Fred Petty | | 956.943.2747
How about the start of '09? Can fishing get any better? The expectations for February couldn't be higher since we're limiting on redfish and trout and tagging oversized almost every trip. We're throwing Gulps under Cajun Thunder corks in shallow water, experimenting with new colors like pink and grass, but the old standbys new penny and pearl white continue to work best. Freddy says, "When the wind blows from the north, bringing brown tide to some areas, fishing is still good a little deeper on a little slower retrieve. Or use a bigger cork like the larger, weighted Cajun Thunder to create more of a pop and a longer leader to settle closer to the bottom where fish hang when temperatures drop." We're seeing more traffic than in the past winters, but it seems the hurricanes have opened up the flats and given us some new hunting grounds. We're noticing more shrimp and crab in the reds, which is a good indicator of things to come.