Reports & Forecasts: February 2012

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe - Big Lake Guide Service - 337.598.3268

February is gonna be on this year! Very little rainfall and a rather mild winter should make for some awesome fishing. Look for numbers of trout to be scattered throughout the whole estuary. Most of the big trout will be on the northern end of Calcasieu around the Turners Bay area. Fish flats around the island and on nearby shorelines. If you are fishing from a boat, a Power Pole is a wonderful tool to slow and stop the drift. Be careful with it though; if it drags on oysters it'll scare fish all around the boat. I prefer Corky Fat Boys, but Devils and Originals are also very effective. Devils seem to produce more bites, but Fat Boys and Originals seem to catch bigger fish. Fish them slowly. If they move six inches, they‘ve probably moved too much. Redfish should be at the weirs as usual. Fishing for them from the rocks has been tough this year because the water is way too clear, causing most of the fish to spook far out of casting range. Best bite is on Gulp! products rigged on quarter ounce jigheads.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures - - 409.935.7242

“This has been the best run of fishing I’ve seen since the fall of 1983,” James says. “We’re catching incredible numbers of trout consistently, and the size is impressive too. I just finished a run of fishing where I averaged almost 40 trout per day for three months. Caught dozens and dozens of four to six pound fish, with a good number of bigger ones too. Most of our fishing has been done drifting, tossing 52 MirrOlures and Catch 5s in pink/chartreuse and pink/yellow. We’ve been catching better numbers out of the boat, and a little bigger fish when we wade. In February, I plan to wade as much as possible, and we should be catching some of the biggest trout in recent memory if we have some luck. The water is still salty well into the backs of all the bays. Heavy rains over the last couple of days might make it a little sweet for a while, but it should come right back around. The fish have been where they are for a good long time, so if they move, it won’t likely be far. I expect to see some impressive fish caught from now through April.”

Jimmy West - Bolivar Guide Service - 409.996.3054
“This is one of the best winters of fishing I can remember in the Galveston area,” Jim emphatically states. “The fish piled up in the back parts of all the area bays this fall, and they’ve never had any reason to move much. Overall, it’s been dry and the amount of runoff has been minimal. Because of that, we’re still catching plenty of trout and redfish in the bayous, mostly keying on depths of six to eight feet and using soft plastics. When the tide is high enough for good wading on the shorelines, we’re catching plenty of fish there too. The average size of the trout is impressive; there are lots of three to five pound fish. When wading, we’re doing better with slow sinking twitch baits like Corkies and Catch 2000s. These patterns should hold through February, especially if we continue to have warm and dry weather. I’m getting ready to put the shotguns away and get after the fish in earnest. I’m also doing a seminar focused on fishing East Bay on the 25th of February at Stingaree Marina. Anyone interested can call me for more details.”

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves - Groves Guide Service - 979.849.7019 - 979.864.9323

Randall was busy working the boat show when we talked. “I stepped out of the boat yesterday wanting to get some good fish for the show and the first three trout I caught weighed a total of fourteen pounds, so it turned out great! That’s been fairly typical of the fishing lately; we’re catching lots of solid trout in the three to five pound class. When tides are right and we’re wading, we’re using Fat Boys and topwaters. As usual, pink has been a good color on those. When we’re not wading the soft, muddy areas, we’re drifting in deeper water and keying on scattered shell, throwing Norton Sand Eels. The salty chicken color has been hot.” He mentions a couple of new sources for the Norton products. “Roscoe’s in Clute has started carrying them, and also the Buccee’s store in Surfside. As for February, it sets up great. The wading should be good for bigger than average trout, for those who don’t mind the mud. For those who prefer drifting, the dirty streaks of water out in the open bay should be holding plenty of fish.”

Matagorda | Tommy Countz
Bay Guide Service -979.863.7553 cell 281.450.4037

Many potentially productive patterns exist in the Matagorda area in February, according to Tommy. “One of my favorite drills this time of year is to drift the west end of East Bay, keying on dirty streaks of water. The fish will be in the dirty water. The easiest way to catch them is with soft plastics on jigheads weighing at least a quarter ounce; the heavier heads make it easier to maintain contact with the bottom. Colors like chicken on a chain and tequila sunrise are good bets. 52 MirrOlures worked low and slow will catch some good trout out of the boat too. I like to work them with short snaps of the rod tip made to the side, to keep the lure moving just over the shell. Wading the coves in West Bay is another productive idea this month. We’ve got lots of reds in that area and they stack up in the guts when the tide is really low. The Matagorda River has potential in February too, though it hasn’t really produced like it can so far this winter. If we get some decent run off from these January rains, it might chase some fish into West Bay.”

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam - 979.240.8204

Fishing has remained pretty consistent in our area. Lately, water temperatures have been in the fifties with all the cool weather. Drifting scattered shell in four to six feet of water has worked best for locating keeper trout. Plum/green and pumpkinseed/chartreuse Assassins rigged on quarter ounce lead heads worked slowly over the bottom have been the best soft plastics. A few bigger trout have started to show up on area mud flats and we have been targeting those fish with Paul Brown Fat Boys in pearl/chartreuse and pearl/black. We have had some nice ones up to twenty four inches. The redfish bite has slowed a little, with lots of fish just under the slot showing up. The few keepers we have been finding have been in deep holes in area bayous. Flounder fishing is still good. Not all the fish have left the bays, and we have been catching a few on Gulp! shrimp out in front of drains and bayous. February is a good big trout month; fishing Corkies around jumping mullet and other active bait is usually a good strategy for targeting them.

Port O’Connor | Lynn Smith - Back Bay Guide Service - 361.983.4434
Deer season was winding down for Lynn, and he said he’s itching to get back on the water and start fishing regularly. “I’ve been getting good fishing reports from up and down the coast; the fishing is definitely good this winter in lots of places. I’ll be doing my typical winter drill in February, starting my day late, usually around ten o’clock, and fishing into the first hour or so of darkness. I like to take advantage of the daily heating of the flats and target the fish when they’re most aggressive, which is generally late in the day this time of year. I’ll mainly focus on muddy flats with some scattered shell on them, particularly the ones adjacent to drop offs with deep water close by. I like to throw soft plastics and sinking Fat Boys a lot, and of course, I’m always watching the water temperatures and bait activity to help me know the topwaters will work too. When it’s on the warm side and I see plenty of jumping mullet and fish swirling on the surface, I won’t hesitate to bring out the Super Spook Juniors.”

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service - 361.790.5203 - 361.441.3894

Duck season’s over, and Blake is back to the full-time pursuit of trout and redfish. “I’ll be fishing in all or most of the area bays, trying to stay where the fishing is good and productive. Lately, the fishing for reds has been easy, since we are able to locate them by sight with the airboat in the back lakes. Throughout February, we’ll keep catching the reds, though the pattern for locating and catching them will change. We’ll start keying on shorelines in area bays with a mix of mud and grass, and throwing Corkies, Sand Eels and Gulp! products when the going gets tough. We’ll also find the trout in the same kinds of places, and catch them right along with the reds. February is a really good month for topwaters on the middle Texas coast too. I don’t really care what I catch the fish on; whatever kind of lure works best is what I’ll be throwing. Still, catching them on top is fun, and I’ll be taking advantage of that when I can. As of this report, it’s been a warm winter, and if the weather stays the same, there should be plenty of topwater action.”

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata – [email protected]
The month of February is a notorious month for producing trophy trout in the Laguna Madre and in Baffin Bay. We lost some of the water clarity in the Baffin Bay area, and this will make it a little bit tougher to find the big trout. The water temperatures during February should be cold enough to send the trout into deeper water with muddy bottoms during the cold nights and then back into shallow water around midday and through the afternoons. The fish will start in water depths of five feet or more in the mornings, and as the sun warms the surface and shallow flats, the trout will move into water depths of three feet or less. I will still be fishing with scented baits like Bass Assassin Die Dappers in colors like chartreuse dog (one of my new favorite colors), and also plum/chartreuse and morning glory/limetreuse. Another one of my favorite baits this time of the year is the Berkley Gulp! Ripple Mullet, the black with chartreuse tail. Rig these baits on eighth ounce Assassin Screw Lock jigheads on calm days and quarter ounce ones on windy days.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez – 361.937.5961
Joe has been having good success lately fishing in crystal clear water in the northern parts of the Upper Laguna Madre. “I’m still working some of the channels and drop offs both north and south of the bridge, and catching plenty of trout and redfish on most trips. We’ve had a pretty warm winter so far, so I think the patterns will stay pretty much the same in February. I’ll be targeting fish on the edges of the channels, throwing soft plastics most of the time, but I also plan to spend some hours along the King Ranch and on the big mid-bay flats too. With this clear water, opportunities for sightcasting are frequent. Some of the time, the fish are really aggressive, and it’s a blast to watch them come after the bait. Just the other day, we were looking around for something, and I saw this big redfish coming toward the boat. The customer made a decent cast, not great, but the fish just charged right over from about seven or eight feet away and attacked. It was cool to watch. We should have opportunities like that in abundance if the weather holds.”

Padre Island National Seashore
Billy Sandifer - Padre Island Safaris - 361.937.8446

February tends to be a “wild card” for fishing the PINS surf. This year’s lingering red tide could make it even more unpredictable than normal. Without red tide we typically have productive fishing for redfish, black drum, whiting, pompano and sheepshead. These species are all bottom feeders and can be targeted with “Fishbites” and fresh, peeled, dead shrimp. Cut bait is usually very effective on the redfish. Several shark species are possible during February but in general shark abundance varies year to year. Shark fishermen are typically more successful with kayaked baits in the late wintertime. Large speckled trout are usually possible on 51 M MirrOlures and other artificials but it can be a slow grind. During the past few years sargassum has made its appearance in February so check the latest reports on or Extreme Coast World Wide Fishing Forums for the latest news prior to planning your trip. Beware of northeast winds, they push tides high on the beach forcing you to drive among all the fish carcasses including hardheads left by the red tide.

Port Mansfield | Terry Neal – 956.944.2559

It's amazing how the weather can change from one day to the next and how greatly it can affect the fishing but, that is what we have to live with this time of year. Overall tide level also changes dramatically this time of year on short notice. This not only affects how the fish will use an area; you can really get yourself in trouble trying to run over a sand bar. When in doubt be safe and go around. February should give us some exceptional fishing if you can locate some bait. The bait along with the predators are still looking for cover, find that and half the battle is over. Our fishery is in great shape in general and juvenile game fish are everywhere. I cannot remember ever seeing so many and I do believe this is a very good sign for the future of the resource. I know we don't like changes in our fishing laws but being a conservationist contributes toward keeping those numbers up. Keep only what you will eat, release the rest.

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Janie and Fred Petty – – 956.943.2747

This time of year, it’s all about dressing for the weather. You know it’s a winter drift on the LLM when your back is freezing and your face is sunburned. Freddy says, “We tell customers to wear layers; when it gets hot you can always take something off.” The fish are still in shallow water, but they don’t move as fast as they do the rest of the year, so presentations need adjustment. We like to throw Berkley Gulp! three inch shrimp rigged on a quarter ounce jighead below Cajun Thunder round corks with about a fifteen inch leader. Usually, the lighter colors are best when conditions are calm. The ability to suspend the bait over a hole or to allow it to sit on the bottom is definitely a plus when water temperatures drop. Predators will be moving to the shallows as daylight warms things up, or hanging in sandy potholes. Moving slowly and giving them plenty of time to pick up the lure will prove most successful. We’ve been having good luck limiting on reds, with the occasional oversized fish, also flounder most trips, but the real story is big trout.