M any enthusiasts of artificials elect to specifically target big trout in February, and they will throw anything and everything they have at the fish.
Many of those guys will opt to toss suspending lures such as the Corky Fat Boy, or any of a myriad of similar slow-sinkers on the market today. However, those won’t be the only weapons used in February’s arsenal, as a variety of top water plugs and soft plastics will certainly yield full stringers right now.
From a top water perspective, many old-salts choose to throw smaller surface walkers because they’re often much easier to work in high-wind conditions. However, one of the key things is you need to find a lure you have utmost confidence in, regardless of the type, then stick with it throughout the course of the entire day.
If you fish with the same lure all day, you minimize your number of lure changes. Consequently, you’ll maximize your comfort level with your pre-selected bait, especially when you feel there are fish in the area.
February fish may only feed once a day, so don’t let anxiety get the best of you by expecting a lot of hits. Just keep grinding.
When choosing soft plastics this month, you might find it beneficial to use a much lighter presentation. Wintertime trout tend to be rather lethargic this time of year, so substitute your 1/8-ounce head for a 1/16-ounce head, and re-spool your reel with any one of the popular braids to enhance the bite substantially.
Anglers looking for a trophy should be less concerned with the color of the water, and more focused on bait in the immediate area. During this time of the year, the color of the water does not play as big a role in the day’s outcome as does the actual presence of natural bait. If you travel a particular shoreline and witness a single sign of natural bait, stop the boat and fish the area.
Whether you work the back lakes, coves, or drains, look for fish to hold over mud and shell. You should concentrate on mud bottom this time of year because it serves as a solar panel that soaks up the day’s heat and releases the heat throughout the night.
Because of this, fish stay close to the mud bottom. Shell, too, offers protection and cover for small baitfish. If the bait is hiding within the shell, you can almost always be certain that trout have gathered in the area.
February anglers who target redfish should key on the same basic environmental and structural elements—shell, mud, and bait. However, you need to look in a bit more shallow depths. Redfish are much hardier than trout, and they do not suffer the same cold-water consequences as do trout.
Reds will generally roam the shallows, so take your hunt to the shallowest portions of the back lakes and shorelines. Many times during this time of the year, wading anglers can locate reds that travel in the bayous and channels as they follow baitfish from one lake to another.
As the day and the water begin to warm, the fish venture onto the flats in close proximity to these channels, so it is advantageous to locate flats that are close to nearby drop-offs and deep water.
The month of February traditionally presents some of the coldest days of the year. For this reason, anglers can take advantage of the solitude offered by the absence of other boats, an opportunity significant success.
Because this month can be cold, you should remember to layer your clothing, and include such items as a stocking cap and a pair of warm gloves. To keep water out of your waders in the event of an unanticipated slip or fall, use a belt around your waistline. You would hate to have to cut your big-speck career-day short because you’re too cold and too uncomfortable.
The more comfortable you are, the longer you will be able to fish. Be quiet, and remember to fish slowly. Tight lines to all!
Email Chris Martin at [email protected]
or visit bayflatslodge.com