N ormally in February we begin noticing an increase in the frequency of frontal passages, which means there is a good possibility that there will also be a lot of variation in water levels, water clarity, wind direction and speed.
To top things off, it’s going to be cold when you’re out there fishing in all of this. But, don’t worry because the fish will be cold too. They’ll be looking for a warm place to snuggle-down and rest for a while whenever a strong front rolls through that drops air and water temps considerably.
They’ll be looking for places where the bay floor consists primarily of thick, dark mud that may be spotted occasionally by grass or shell. Mud serves as a solar-panel of sorts in that it soaks up the day’s heat and then releases the heat throughout the night and day. Because of this, fish will naturally stay close to the mud bottom during periods of extreme cold.
Another prime wintertime spot is shell. Shell offers protection and cover to small baitfish, so if the bait happens to be hiding within a shell environment, you can almost always anticipate that trout and red fish may very well be gathered in the same area.
Because the number of days between fronts can be minimal right now, anglers might not have the option of waiting a certain period of time after the passage of a front before heading out in search of their cold-water treasure. Instead, a lot of folks will probably be forced to endure a significant amount of wind change while fishing in February.
This may also mean that we may not be able to find a huge amount of really clear water each time we’re out wandering around the bay. Don’t let this dampen your hopes at success, as it is not unheard of to experience an epic day of fishing on a muddy shoreline even right after a front has passed.
In these conditions, look for a patch of fairly shallow real estate that is protected from the strong north wind. There’s a good chance you’ll find bait activity in the area. That’s because just before the arrival of the front, the wind was pumping out of the south, pushing bait fish tight against the north shoreline areas.
That same strong south wind also muddied the water of this north shoreline considerably, but don’t let that bother you—where there’s baitfish, there’s almost certain to be game fish.
Park the boat in waist-deep water, and start your wade session at that depth while casting into more shallow water toward the bank. A lot of anglers like throwing some of the heavier models of top water baits that contain loud rattles because they are usually attempting to cast directly into a fairly stiff north wind.
As you slowly make your way toward the shallow water, Note any troughs or slight undulations you may come across. As you walk into these small guts, turn to either side and cast your bait directly down the somewhat deeper water that you’ve just stepped into. Water temperature often varies by depth, so even a few inches might mean a couple degrees difference in warmth to a big wintertime trout, especially in really cold months like February.
If you’re out fishing immediately following a major cold front and are able to get to some of the more secluded back lakes, take advantage of the opportunity. These secluded backwater areas will not see much boat traffic this time of the year, which means these areas will not have seen much fishing pressure.
It will be quiet, and you may feel alone, but that’s not a bad thing. In fact, it can be welcome when you’re hunting for a February trophy trout. So, enjoy the solitude and accept the opportunity that might mean a visit to the cleaning table at the end of the day.
Whenever you’re fishing in some of the back-lake spots during the cold months, try experimenting with artificial baits both above and below the surface of the water. Toss top water baits only when conditions are ideal for doing so. This means cloud cover over shallow areas consisting of heavy mud and grass, with a bit of wind and off-colored water.
If you happen upon some really clear water conditions in the back lakes, present some of my more favored plastic baits, especially some of the suspending baits. Regardless of tops or tails, when it comes to lure color this month I stick primarily to the dark colors with bright accents. Colors light pumpkinseed, plum, and black, all with chartreuse accents.
There is, however, one exception to the dark-color rule. That’s the selection of a pink, slow-sinking, plastic bait. You’ll find a lot of folks throwing this particular lure throughout the entire year, but many have found that its action and efficiency in cooler water conditions can seldom be matched.
For those coastal anglers looking primarily for redfish in February, place your focus on the same basic environmental and structural elements—shell, mud, and bait fish. But also look for your prizes in some of the more shallow waters. Red fish are hardier than trout, especially when it’s really cold, so they can handle some extremely shallow water.
All of the fish will probably be moving a lot slower this month, so above all else, remember the necessity for patience and the importance for you to keep grindin’!
Contact Capt. Chris Martin at
or visit bayflatslodge.com
Email Chris Martin at [email protected]
or visit bayflatslodge.com