On Galveston: February 2012

Howdy folks, Capt. Mickey Eastman bringing you an update on wintertime fishing around the Galveston area bays and taking a look at what we might expect during the month of February. Hunting seasons are all behind us and unless you've been fishing you could break out in a bad case of cabin fever. I would really hate to see that happen so I'm going to do my best to talk you into getting your rods and reels and other gear tuned up and hitting the bay soon and often.

If you have been reading my column regularly you probably think I'm either full of baloney or I'm going off like a broken record for the umpteenth month in a row but, neither would be true. Galveston area anglers are still enjoying some truly uncommon fishing. We keep thinking we'll wake up any day and the dream will have come to an end but so far there is no end in sight.

We are having somewhat of a mild winter and we just have a lot of fish and it is pretty easy to catch them when the weather is right. We have had a few slow days during the northers and lower tides but during the warm-ups they are really jumping all over the Maniac Mullets and 52M MirrOlure. Good solid trout too! I cannot remember the last time we got stranded in a big school of dinks and couldn't move around a little and find some good ones.

Personally I haven't caught any legitimate seven to eight pounders but I know some folks and have seen photos from guys that have. They are few and far between but there are some true heavyweights out there. Trout get hefty this time of year and I had a 25-incher the other day that went an honest six and a half pounds. That is pretty much what we call a Trinity Bay Football.

Now during the rest of January and throughout February, fishing success - good weights and good numbers - will be pretty much a matter of timing. You pick your weather right, meaning a day or two after a front, and get out there at daylight on a good concentration of bait and if you stay with it you'll get into them at some point during a day of fishing.

Good places to try here in the Trinity Bay area are Anahuac Pocket, Jack's Pocket and over some of the reefs. Right now that old clam shell and mud structure is working real good in depths of three to six feet. That is where the Maniac Mullet really comes into its own. We jig it real hard to put lots of action on it, let it fall, bring it back up, let it fall again, etc. They are bumping it hard and sucking it all the way down on the fall. You're not going to miss many and most of the ones you land will be hooked real solid, not just in the edge of the lip. They are gobbling it up pretty good on that deep fall after jigging it toward the surface real hard.

Finding fish has not been terribly difficult. I just look for off-color streaky water with some flipping mullet in it over scattered oyster, clam, and muddy bottom. That has been the pattern for several weeks now and I expect unless we get some big shake-up in the weather pattern it will continue to hold.

Another classic winter pattern is brown pelicans dive bombing shad that trout and redfish have pushed to the surface. We have been seeing some of this and it makes it super easy to locate the action. Even after the pelicans have given up or drifted away, an occasional slick here and there in the area is all you need to get right back on top of the bite. I have seen many times when a few pelicans would give us the tip early in the day and we would then be able to work the pattern steadily into the afternoon - using the trolling motor to hop to the next slick or muddy streak that pops.

I have not been up in the rivers but I am hearing some of my buddies are catching fish up there. I have been sticking to the bays hoping I can pop me a double digit fish because I know they are here. That is what my customers want to do and you will never hear an argument from me.

Trinity and all the back bays like, San Jacinto, Crystal, Scott and Burnet have been holding fish and the drift fisherman have been doing pretty good. There has been some occasional wade-fishing success up there and that's likely your best bet for a really big one. East Bay is giving up lots of good fish in the east end around the Refuge area and if you can catch a good tide behind a norther you have a good combination to catch some good fish especially wading or kayaking that back flat over that soft mud bottom.

No secret stuff or tricks of the trade needed at this time, lots of folks are catching lots of fish in lots of places. I think with the quality of the tackle, clothing and other gear we have now days and the technology such as braided line, sensitive rods, and reels that'll cast a mile, it is definitely easier to catch fish. I can remember back in the day, shivering to death with a rod in your hand that was as sensitive as a ball bat and weighed about a pound and a half, we had a lot of trouble feeling that soft little wintertime tap on the end of the line, not so today. Heck, I tell people if a finicky trout swims by my lure today I can feel him looking at it. They just laugh and say, "Mick you've always been full of the bull." But it's true, it certainly is a lot easier than it was years ago.

Redfish are spotty right now and flounder run has slowed quite a bit. February could prove to be a whole new ball game for these two species, and if it doesn't, we'll just go catch a bunch of nice trout. Be sure to catch me on 610 Sports Radio Outdoors Show every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday morning.