The View: February 2024

The View: February 2024

February catches are often a patient play of methodically presenting a slow-sinker or tick-tocking a light jig and soft plastic across every inch of cold shell. That’s head-banging torture to folks who have cell phones in their hands 24/7. Patience is not a universal virtue, you see. The texting generation wants it now and often, and are not willing to wait.

Slow down. Enjoy a sunrise. Enjoy a thump on a winter Corky. Put the phone down, take a deep breath, and enjoy life. February fishing will make you do that.

Some of the lowest tides of the year occur this month, so you can quickly eliminate lots of water. Concentrate on the areas that fall from waist to chest deep during summer – those same areas are probably knee- to thigh-deep in February.

Find points of sloughs and bayous and work the troughs and guts. These points normally hold the deepest water as incoming and ebbing tides carve depressions.

It’s often tough to establish presence of baitfish in winter. One mullet in February is like acres of them in June. Sometimes it's hard to find even one, but that doesn't mean pack up your tackle and go home. The best way to figure out February’s patterns is to keep fishing.

East Matagorda Bay’s mid-bay reefs is where we like to drift and wade, but you have to pick your days. A typical February sees a good bite about every three days. Chances are if the water is fishable in East Bay, and if they did not bite today, they are more likely to bite tomorrow. I have seen this pattern too many times to remember over the past twenty-five years. I still have no answer as to why.

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 and green.

We have received more precipitation this year than last, but overall we remain below average in rainfall for the year. That means the Colorado River has been green for a long time. 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.

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 just to post it on social media.

We have a gem of an estuary in Matagorda. I have seen more pressure from anglers of advanced skill making 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. Thankfully, limits and laws will be changing this spring, back to a more conservative stance for our speckled trout.

We have a chance to bring our bays back to the days before the 2021 freeze, back when 5-7 pound trout were cheap, and our estuaries were thriving. The weather and the Almighty have a huge hand in this. However, man can do his part as well. Let’s be better stewards of the bay and of our country.

Come see us at the Sunrise Lodge and Properties booth at the Houston Fishing Show February 14-18 at the George R. Brown Convention Center. We would love to shake your hand, talk a little fishing, and sign or sell a book or two.