The View: February 2021

The View: February 2021

It can be tough sometimes to get anglers excited about fishing in February. Patience is not a virtue for most folks. The texting generation who want it now and often are not willing to wait them out. February catches are often a patient play of methodically working a slow-sinker or tick-tocking a light jighead over every inch of cold shell. That’s head-banging torture to those guys who have their phone in their hand 24/7. There remain plenty of us though who enjoy a sunrise or a frigid thump on a Texas Custom Corky. Slow it down – life and lure – and enjoy it. February fishing is good practice.

It’s often tough to find baitfish to key in on fish activity in winter. One mullet in February is like acres of mullet in June. Sometimes it's hard to find even one mullet, but that doesn't mean pack up your tackle and go home.

Some of the lowest tides of the year occur this month, so you can eliminate lots of water. Concentrate on the areas that fall from waist- to chest-deep during the summer – those same areas are probably knee-deep in February. Find points of sloughs and bayous and work the troughs and guts. These points normally hold the deepest water as outgoing and incoming tidal flows carve depressions in the bay floor.

The best way to figure out February is to keep fishing. The middle of East Matagorda Bay is where we like to drift, but you have to pick your days. A typical February sees a good bite every other day, believe it or not. Really, we guides have tried to figure out why, but we are still searching for the answers. Those tough days when everything is right but they don’t bite are head-scratchers. However, if they don’t bite today, better chances are they will feed tomorrow. I have watched that happen in East Matagorda Bay too many times to tell.

If you would rather stay in the boat, the Colorado River and Diversion Channel are always players no matter how hard the wind blows, provided the water is salty-green. For years locals have fished the river at night from lighted piers and caught trout that would make most blush. Those fish are still there and fishing only gets better the colder it gets. Winter rains in January have the river flowing a little fresh right now. However, with a dry-out, it doesn’t take long for the green brine to return.

If you target oversized trout, treat them with respect. They are the prize of our estuaries. Do the same with redfish, especially the over-sized breeders. Treat our bays with respect. Think of the bay as your backyard pond. You wouldn't throw trash in your pond and you wouldn't keep everything you catch from your pond just to post it on social media.

We have a gem of an estuary in Matagorda. I have seen more pressure from improved anglers with better catches than I can remember in a decade. Without sounding like a crazy liberal, we must be aware and remind ourselves to keep only what we need. The law says only one trout over 25 inches; however, if I truly believe in making our bays better, I as a steward of the bay, must be proactive instead of reactive. I have a tough time sticking a knife in a trout over 20 inches. The encouraging thing I have noticed is the clients on my boat agree. “Times they are a changing.”

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Matagorda Bays - February Fishing Strategies: