C oastal fishing in the month of February is written off by lots of anglers for several reasons. The obvious one being that it has notoriously earned the reputation as the coldest month of the year.
That, and others such as: “The fish just don’t bite in February.” “The weather is just too unpredictable.” Or, “I can think of several much better things to do.”
These are a few of the reasons people opt for staying closer to the comforts of home rather than taking on the elements in the open bay. The fact is, some days this month, the better choice is to stay home.
However, on some other days, getting out there and exposing yourself can pay off big for putting fish in the ice chest. Even some of the “iffy” days when people look at you as if you’re crazy to go fishing, can produce for you in a big way.
The key to locating and catching fish in February is to fish the warmest water possible. For this reason, deep channels, outfall canals and mud flats are places you want to hit once the mid-morning sun begins to feel good on the back of your neck.
The term deep is used loosely here because most of the channels I’m referring to have a depth of no more than seven feet. The deeper water will maintain a more consistent, slightly warmer temperature than shallow water, and it won’t fluctuate as often or as quickly when the air temperature drops.
The slightest variation in water temperature can make a big difference in whether a particular area, or depth, will hold fish. While you fish the flats, it is important to experiment within the different levels of the water column.
We usually start by slowly bouncing soft plastics on ¼-ounce lead heads along the bottom. If this approach entices a few strikes, stick with it and experiment with different colors or baits.
If it’s not working, try the mid-range levels by throwing slow sinkers like Corkys and swim baits. If you’re still not having any success, switch to a good ol’ mullet-imitating top water plug like a Skitterwalk or Super Spook.
If any fish are in the vicinity, one of these tactics should get the job done. I think the numbers of solid trout that the Sabine ecosystem gives up in February would surprise a lot of people.
Fishing for trophy trout this month is commonplace up and down the coast. The idea of catching limits of solid trout in February, however, doesn’t enter lots of people’s minds simply because they don’t think it can be done.
The truth is, it can and does happen fairly consistently You just have to fish the right places and figure out where they are in the water column.
Location: McFaddin Beach
Species: Redfish, Black Drum, Croaker and Whiting
Baits: Fresh dead shrimp, cut bait and soft plastics
Best Times: Early with incoming tide
Email Eddie Hernandez at [email protected]