Reports & Forecasts: February 2020

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures - silverkingadventures.com – 409.935.7242
James says the fishing in the parts of Galveston Bay he's been using has been consistent lately. “Both wading and drifting have really good potential this time of year. As a rule, the low tides and cold weather favor fishing out of the boat. The old-school plan was to head out to the open waters around Green's and Mecom's Cuts and look for muddy streaks in the water. The fish are usually concentrated in areas where there's some scattered shell on the bottom. Fishing with soft plastics rigged on jigheads heavy enough to allow for maintaining contact with the bottom out there works best. Throwing 51 and 52M MirrOlures and working them with rhythmic movements of the rodtip, with it pointed at the water, is another proven method. Wading perks up when onshore winds blow the tide back in, and is especially good in the coves and along the shorelines late in the afternoons. February is a great month for catching big trout that way. We're looking forward to some excellent wading if this mild winter weather holds up. But if we get some sustained cold weather, we should be able to keep right on catching out in the middle.”

Jimmy West - Bolivar Guide Service – 409.996.3054
Jim was headed out for an afternoon/evening wade on the day he gave this report. “I like fishing late-afternoon hours, into the first hour of the night this time of year. Especially when we have strong moons and incoming tides after a spell when the tides have been low, fishing right around dusk can be outstanding. When wading the shallows along the shorelines this time of year, I throw slow-sinking lures like Paul Brown Lures mostly. We're also catching plenty of trout and some redfish in the drains and bayous, in a little deeper water. This pattern works best when the weather's cold and tides are really low. Catching fish in those areas is easiest on tails, usually ones rigged on fairly light jigheads, like eighth-ounce, unless the current is strong, then we sometimes have to use heavier ones. We've had a decent influx of fish move into East Bay recently, after months without much going on. The floods ran our fish out for much of the year, but they're coming back. And February's a great month to catch 'em, especially some of the big trout. We should be set up for a decent run on the shorelines and around drains and patch reefs in the back of the bay.”

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves - Groves Guide Service  979.849.7019 – 979.864.9323
Randall said he recently experienced some excellent fishing on days after westerly winds blew the tides out to low levels. “Lately, we've been fishing pretty shallow water along area shorelines, throwing Paul Brown Lures and Norton Sand Shads most of the time, catching plenty of trout with a good number of reds mixed in. On the leeward shorelines, where the water is clear, natural colors like emerald green/silver and copper top have worked really well, when we're throwing the slow-sinking twitchbaits. Sand Shads in chicken on a chain are working well in those same kinds of areas. In the dirtier water on wind-blown shorelines, brighter colors and lures with stronger contrasting colors have worked better. In all cases, working the lures slowly, and pausing to let them fall has been the best way to get more bites. We're rigging the soft plastics on sixteenth-ounce heads most of the time, because the fish like the slow fall-rate this time of year. Another great pattern to work when the tide falls out is fishing from the boat in depths of four to seven feet of open water, where the bottom has a mix of mud and shell, especially in places where muddy streaks are interspersed with clear, green water.”

Matagorda | Bay Guide Service
Tommy Countz- 979.863.7553 cell 281.450.4037
Tommy mentioned something lots of people already know, that East Matagorda can be a great place to target giant trout in February. “We've seen some really big trout caught recently, mostly by waders over in East Bay. Best bets over there include fishing some of the pockets on the South Shoreline, places with a little depth when the tide goes out, throwing slow-sinking twitchbaits like Paul Brown Lures or SoftDines. Lots of people do well by sleeping in and fishing afternoon hours, right up to dusk or a little after. When the water's clear and low, the shallows heat up well under the sun, and bait activity picks up from mid-afternoon on into the night. We might also have plenty of trout in the Colorado River if water temps fall into the mid and low-50s for several days. Catching is often best in there early in the morning, from just before dawn to about the time the sun hits the water. Throwing soft plastics on jigheads weighing at least three-eighths of an ounce usually works best in the deep water. In West Bay, low tides concentrate redfish in the subtle drains coming out of the shallow backwater areas on the peninsula.”

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam
www.palaciosguideservice.com – 979.240.8204
Fishing has been really good, off the charts, maybe the best winter of fishing we've had in over a decade here in the Palacios area. Our trout have been biting regularly in many locations. The Tres Palacios River has been holding good numbers of solid sixteen to eighteen-inch trout. They're mostly hanging close to ledges when the water's warmer and moving into the deeper holes when it's colder. The DSL in dirty tequila and chicken of the sea rigged on three-eighths ounce heads slowly bounced along the bottom or fluttered down the faces of the ledges have accounted for the most bites. Night-fishing in town and in the turning basins has been great too. Glow beetle spec rigs have worked best under the lights, especially when the tide is moving. Fishing for reds has been unbelievably good. We've had typical low winter tides and the shorelines adjacent to drains are loaded with slot-sized fish. For the first time I can remember, we've been able to sight-cast and catch all the fish we want. LSU Matrix Shad, three-inch Gulp! shrimp and quarter-ounce gold spoons have all been urging plenty of strikes. These patterns should all hold up as long as the weather patterns remain the same.

Port O’Connor | Lynn Smith
Back Bay Guide Service – 361.983.4434
In February, Lynn predicts he'll be fishing mostly muddy, grassy flats, targeting big trout. “We like to spend most of our time this month looking for some of the biggest trout around. We stay in areas with a muddy bottom, covered with plenty of grass beds. The mud and grass seems to hold more bait and more big trout in the colder months. We don't usually go out early in the morning; we usually leave the dock around ten o'clock or so, and fish through the afternoon, to let the sun heat up the shallow water on the flats. As always, we look for signs of life in an area before we spend much time there. Concentrations of bait are much easier to find after the sun has been up for a while and the early morning chill burns off. For lures, we like to throw mostly slow sinkers like the old Paul Brown Original Lures and Fat Boys, also MirrOdines and SoftDines. We do use topwaters some, especially if the bites come easy enough and we see lots of bait jumping, but the slow-sinking twitchbaits work better on a daily basis than the topwaters. Soft plastics serve mostly to keep off the smell of the skunk.”

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service - 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
Now that the hunting seasons have ended, Blake will be back to fishing as much as he can. “We'll still spend some time in the back lakes targeting reds. Fishing in those is usually good for reds when the weather's warm for this time of year and tides are high. Sometimes, big schools gather in there and are pretty easy to find. When targeting trout in February, we like to fish main-bay shorelines and coves which have a mix of mud and grass on the bottom. The slow-sinking lures work well in places like that, especially when water temperatures are in the 50s. If the weather's a bit warmer, the topwaters work better, so we won't hesitate to try them anytime we have a warm spell and we see lots of bait moving actively around us. Of course, as always, we'll keep the Norton Sand Eels in dark colors with bright tails ready. When the bite slows down, the catching is often best on those. The water's in great shape in all our bays right now, so I expect we'll have some great days in the second half of winter. It's a great time to be on the water in the Coastal Bend.”

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata – rz1528@grandecom.net – 361.563.1160
Since it's now February, the hunting seasons are all over or just about over. Many more people will start getting serious about hunting for the trout of a lifetime, because this month is such a great one in which to do just that. The water temperatures are usually pretty cold, so the trout usually move into fairly deep water during the night. Because of this, I normally start my days of fishing along area shorelines where flats about two to three feet deep lie close to drop-offs close to water at least five feet deep, preferably deeper. I like to use Bass Assassin Die Dappers in colors like chicken on a chain, plum/chartreuse, trickster or salt&pepper silver phantom/chartreuse rigged on eighth or quarter-ounce Spring Lock jigheads. Mostly, we cast these lures along the drop-offs and bounce them along the edges, or on the bottom out a little ways, in deeper water. As the sun climbs in the skies, the shallower parts of these areas warm up and the fish move into them in better numbers. We spend most of our time working our lures slowly, near the bottom. Most of our bites come in the form of a very light tap, barely perceptible, even with sensitive braided line.

Corpus Christi / Joe Mendez—www.sightcast1.com—361.877.1230
February is a prime month for targeting some of the giant trout which made fishing in the Baffin/ULM system famous. Wading can be a great way to catch the biggest trout, focusing efforts on muddy, grassy flats with a few rocks scattered on them, especially ones lying pretty close to deeper water. Places along the north shoreline of Baffin and the west shoreline of the ULM typically produce best, particularly when the weather's on the cold side. Fishing the flats on the south shoreline of Baffin and in eastern portions of the ULM produce better when it's warmer and onshore winds blow. Those of us who like to fish from the boat can pull some of the giant trout out of places close to these shallow, muddy flats, usually by throwing around rocks lying in four or five feet of water. The waders sometimes do best using slow-sinking twitchbaits, but out of the boat, we normally have better luck throwing soft plastics. We'll rig them on the lightest jigheads possible which allow us to maintain some regular contact with the bottom, normally either three-eighths or quarter-ounce. We catch a lot of upper-slot reds fishing these patterns this time of year too.

P. I.N.S. Fishing Forecast | Eric Ozolins
361-877-3583 | Oceanepics.com
The winter surf bite remains strong. Florida pompano – highly prized as table fare – have been available consistently all winter. The traditional methods of using Fish-bites synthetic bait-strips and peeled shrimp are producing well. If hardheads become a problem, try using only a single Fish-bites strip. Redfish ranging from slot to oversize are still present in the surf. This winter has also been remarkable for the abundance of little tunny. Unlike other tunas, little tunny are not regarded as highly-edible, but they provide great sport and make great bait for a variety of species. Should you be lucky to see them schooling and making a disturbance on the surface while feeding on tiny baitfish, your best baits are the smallest spoons and flies in your tackle box. In the shark category, the larger sandbars should be around until April. Please note that sandbars are federally protected and must be released. On warm and calm days, if the water temp hasn’t dropped too much, larger blacktip females should come into the shallows, eating everything in sight. Generally mild winter weather has given us a great variety of surf species – get out there and have fun!

Port Mansfield | Ruben Garza
Snookdudecharters.com – 832.385.1431
Getaway Adventures Lodge – 956.944.4000
This time of year, with fast-moving fronts coming and going, finding the right places to fish can be a challenge. Right before a front comes, the fishing is usually better south of port. Areas from West Bay to the Pipeline and the Saucer, all the way to Green Island can be productive. The spoil humps just north of Bennie's Island also produce well on a regular basis. Topwaters will work some of the time, but soft plastics rigged on eighth-ounce heads produce more consistently. Colors like pink flamingo, bone diamond and Lagunaflauge catch my eye best on most days. Heading north when winds are light and fishing the west shoreline in areas like Century Point, the oak motts and on the front side of Long Island Slough makes good sense, as does wading around the spoils to the east of the ICW near the Land Cut. Drifting the deeper waters around Dubb's and Butcher's Islands using soft plastics or Gulp! lures under popping corks works much better for some people. In many of these places, one of the keys to catching more fish is to focus efforts on water that's got some color to it, either stirred up by currents or winds, or both.

Lower Laguna Madre—South Padre—Port Isabel
Aaron Cisneros | tightlinescharters.com – 956-639-1941
Fishing has been red hot while the we've experienced mild winter temperatures. Trout are holding in big potholes, with many three to five pounders biting, along with an occasional six. Topwaters can be effective for catching them on warmer days, and we've been having good luck with them since our water temps are hovering in the mid-60s mostly. The fish have been biting floating lures best when they're worked with a slow, steady rhythm. For faster action, we switch to Kwigglers Ball Tails in strawberry/cool-tip, rigged on eighth-ounce screw-lock jigheads. We're hauling in great numbers of fish, using slow retrieves, pulling these through sandy pockets. Redfish numbers have been steady. We're finding plenty along shallow shorelines and on open sand flats. A few heavy trout usually lurk close to the big schools. Soft plastics work best for the reds, in sand color, rigged on sixteenth-ounce heads. Some of the biggest reds have been caught on reaction strikes provoked by speedy aspects of the presentation. These patterns look to be stable, and should hold up as long as the weather remains mild and warm. If and when strong fronts pass, all these fish will move toward spoil banks and channel edges with dropping tides and water temperatures.

 
Premium content for TSF Insiders.

To continue reading, Login or become a Subscriber!