South Padre: February 2010

South Padre: February 2010
We hope to be seeing lots of these in February.

At present, the Lower Laguna is producing lots of smiles for anglers who dare to brave the elements. Since the beginning of December we have experienced outstanding catches of big trout. The numbers of trout caught between three and seven pounds and a few bigger have been right on track as recorded the last few years. Our trout population looks really healthy but the redfish have been hiding from us. However, our efforts have been geared more towards the trout. We are truly enjoying the reduced boat traffic and the abundance of open water nearly everywhere we go.

I try to make it a point if the opportunity arises to fish nasty, cold weather, what most fair weather fishermen would call harsh conditions. In doing so, I have learned many lessons on cold weather fish behavior. On one recent outing I was scouting for an upcoming trip. The day was cold and drizzly; not another soul was out. The first two hours had me wishing I had stayed home. Not a sign of life could be seen on the surface or beneath, not even the pesky, trout eating dolphin were around. I continued my efforts tracking through the cold water in deep mud hoping for that one big bite. Suddenly it crossed my mind, "Think like a predator." That thought provoked my mind and I actually started to visualize the bottom structure of the area, keeping in mind the tidal flow, water temperature, and water level. I can positively say that this led me to discover where fish might be holding and, lo and behold, it turned out to be a pretty good day. My point here is that in order to experience success we have to think out of the box at times. It's not always going to be as easy as starting up the boat and go fishing. The signs are there if you have been paying attention to not only what's on the surface but also what is not. Sometimes all it takes is one swirl, one six inch drop, or a mud bottom versus a hard sandy bottom. Be vigilant like a predator would; that's if you want to go to the next level. In all honesty I have learned more about fish behavior on tough days when the fishing was slow versus the days where the fish were just jumping on our hooks.

The tides will continue to run low through February, so look for deeper pockets with mud bottom to be good producers, especially when the tide is moving. The fish will usually be holding near bottom in about three to four feet and the bite will often be a soft tap. Other areas worth looking at will be muddy flats near deeper water. This time of the year fish will leave the warmth of deeper water to feed on the flats between cold spells. A muddy flat that has a channel nearby makes the odds even better because a channel means there will be more tidal flow. Our best producers of big fish have been areas such as the one I just mentioned. The bigger fish we are catching have been stationed in muddy, and I mean muddy, potholes. Working a Corky Devil through the bottom of these potholes has produced some nice, thick-shouldered trout. Adding a split shot near the split ring allows the lure to sink faster and remain low on the retrieve.

Despite the general shallowness of the Laguna there is structure that can make a difference in finding fish, even on cloudy days in the middle of winter. I personally carry sunglasses for cloudy and sunny days. I highly recommend the Costa 580 lenses in the copper and grey coloration. Costa lenses are made of glass and very durable, and the protection they offer is unbeatable. I like my glasses to completely wrap around my eyes and the sides of my face for maximum protection from sunlight and the Eliminators are my top choice. Costa Del Mar does offer many styles and lenses for every individual so be sure to checkout their web site and get every advantage on those fish.

In closing, this is the month where the trout will really put on weight.
As previously mentioned our trout population is in really good shape for now and hopefully for the future as well. If your dream is to catch a trophy-size fish, you will have a good chance of making it a reality in February. Don't let the weather keep you off the water, get out when you can and make it happen.