The View: February 2016

The View: February 2016

Football is over, baseball has yet to begin and hunting season is history. Thank goodness February is the shortest month of the year!

Now the good news–you can catch fish this month–good ones. It may require you leaving your fishing comfort zone, but February fishing can be productive.

By now you have read countless times how dark, soggy bay floors hold the warmest winter waters. It's true. One degree of difference is often the only variable in an area holding schools of fish.

Now, look for bait. It probably will be scarce. Frigid waters turn baitfish lethargic as well, so if you see one mullet flip, you better fish that area.

Sometimes all I see are a handful of mullet all day, but trout don't need a whole lot of mullet this time of year–they may only eat a few times a week.

Redfish, on the other hand, are readily available in guts and bayous. Some of the lowest tides of the year occur this month, so eliminate miles of shoreline with only inches of water. Concentrate on the areas that fall from waist to chest deep during the summer those same areas are probably shin to waist deep in February.

February redfishing is often too easy. If your boat can get you in those sloughs with only a few inches of water, lots of redfish will be waiting in the guts. Sure, it's a cold boat ride, but these cold reds will pull your arms off.

Find points of sloughs and bayous and anchor within casting distance. These points normally hold the deepest water as outgoing and incoming tidal flow provide depressions. Live shrimp under a popping cork works every time, but plastics and gold spoons work as well.

A species that rarely gets rave reviews is the sheepshead. The convict-looking striped fish with human-looking teeth is a winter staple along riprap, rock jumbles and granite jetties. Most sheepies hang just below the surface and dine on crustaceans and organisms hanging against the rocks. Live shrimp under a popping cork is the most effective bait; and, once you get past its motley mug, the sheepshead's white meat will surely please your palate.

Sand trout are another winter option that requires minimal skills. Channels and bayous with tidal flow to and from the Gulf of Mexico receive regular influxes of these shrimp-loving bottom-feeders. Carolina-rigged fresh shrimp put plenty of fillets on the deck; and, despite the rumors, the white fillets fry up really nice and store well in the freezer with a little lemon juice.

Provided flooding rains do not persist, the Colorado River and Caney Creek in Sargent should be winter players at night. Pier anglers set up lights and find trout, reds and sandies on shrimp and glow plastics.

When the wind allows, we will be drifting over deep shell in East Matagorda with plastics. Some of the largest trout of the year are caught over these locales.

Never overlook guts in West Bay for wading. Many February days last year I took a MirrOlure Soft-Dine and came home happy.

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