F ishing along the Texas Gulf Coast in the month of February can at times be pretty tough.
From the bone chilling north winds, to the frigid waters, extremely low tides, and seeming lack of action, it’s no wonder most folks choose to find something much more comfortable to do. There are fish to be caught, however and the experienced diehards know exactly where to go and what to do.
Experience from years of winter fishing can help eliminate a lot of water. First of all, bait fish and game fish don’t particularly like the cold any more than we do.
Shallow flats and shorelines are not exactly where they like to hang out on blustery February mornings. They will seek out deeper, warmer nest beds until the sun warms the shallows to something a little more tolerable.
Look for deep holes or channels. Finding hidden structure like oyster or clam beds can be like finding a hidden treasure. Baitfish will utilize these areas for comfort as well as protection.
The south end of Sabine Lake is basically one giant oyster reef with depths fluctuating from four to about fifteen feet. There is also a deep channel for large boats just north of the Causeway Bridge that allows them to enter the Sabine Neches Waterway or the Intracoastal Canal. The entire reef can be an ideal location when targeting Sabine specks in February.
Your sonar is your best friend as it helps you mark bait and find guts, humps and ledges along the massive oyster bottom. Anchor or drift over those areas and work them thoroughly with long soft plastics.
Gilraker worms, sand eels, and Assassins rigged with 1/2 oz. or 1/4 oz. lead heads work well. Darker colors like Morning Glory, Red Shad and Purple usually do the most damage.
Another time-tested hotspot in February is the Entergy Outfall Canal. Located about 1/2 mile up river from the Veterans Memorial Bridge, this is a very consistent wintertime fish producer. The water discharged from the power plant feels as warm as bath water making its way down the canal and into the Neches River.
The mouth of the canal is always a good place to start. Drop the anchor and cast toward the middle of the channel. Live mud minnows, finger mullet and fresh dead shrimp work well for specks, reds, flounder and black drum.
Place an egg sinker or split shot about 18 inches above a 3/0 Kale hook and let it roll along the drop-off with the current. The very back of the canal can also be hot at times. Mud minnows, fresh shrimp, gold spoons and Rat-L-Traps work well on the redfish that stack up along the rocks.
Location: Port Neches Riverfront Park
Species: Redfish, Croaker, and Whiting
Baits/Lures: Finger Mullet, Mud Minnows, Fresh Dead Shrimp
Best Times: Moving Tides
Email Eddie Hernandez at [email protected]