February is my least favorite month of the year, and for obvious reasons. The last football game has been played, the last duck has been shot, and dreary gray weather often persists for days on end. However, it’s also a month to catch my breath following a long and strenuous duck season and do all those refurbish jobs at the lodge to get ready for a busy spring season.
I don’t enjoy bundling beyond motion just to survive the chilling boat ride, yet, if you choose your days and fish between cold blasts, truth of the matter is February is quite productive.
Cold weather narrows down the productive water in the bays. We focus on the guts and sloughs when fishing during February, since this is normally the month of the consistently lowest tides of the entire year.
We work toward the guts with Chicken of the “C” Down Souths, Bass Assassin Sea Shad, and Texas Custom Lures Soft-Dines and Corkys. The slightest twinge of the line signals the bite. Sometimes it’s more like a peck; but the sharp hook finds lips.
That's what I look for this time of year – the slightest sign of life. One mullet in February is like an acre of mullet during summer. Though, many times it's hard to find one mullet.
We like the water temperature around at least 53°. It seems the trout bite a little better. Anything lower and it's 50/50 whether they will be willing to take a lure.
Find points of sloughs and bayous and anchor within casting distance. These points normally hold the deepest water as outgoing and incoming tidal flows carve depressions in the soft bottom. Live shrimp under a popping cork works every time, but plastics like Gulps and Bass Assassins also draw plenty of attention.
If speckled trout don't cooperate, redfish are readily available in guts and bayous up and down the coast. 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 to waist deep in February. Remember these areas because you will find the same fish in July when the lowest tides of summer commence.
Sand trout are another winter option that requires minimal skills. Channels and bayous with ardent tidal flow to and from the Gulf holds plenty of sandies. Carolina-rigged fresh shrimp and/squid gets plenty of pulls. Large black drum and redfish will begin to hang around the jetty as well. Finger mullet or crabs bend poles for hours.
The Colorado River has been a mainstay all fall and winter. We have not received much rain for the past four months and the river has remained a beautiful emerald color with trout hanging along the ledges, willing to inhale soft plastics. It’s a great place to fish, even when the cold winds blow – a great backup plan when the bays are blown out.
No doubt, February is an unpredictable month. Fish when you can and when you catch fish, figure out why you did.Follow our reports @matagordasunriselodge on Instagram and Bink Grimes on Facebook.