by Capt Craig Lambert
In my eyes February is really the beginning of the prime spring fishing season just because so much is happening this month. As the days get longer the urge to feed begins to overwhelm most species in our bay system. Hungry speckled trout and redfish are found in their typical shallow haunts along shorelines and flats surrounded by mud and shell. At the same time our flats and shorelines are being overrun our bay complex and ship channel is being invaded by spawning oversized black drum and for anyone looking to really stretch a line this is your kind of fish! Beautiful Speckled Trout!
As metabolisms of hungry fish increase the primal urge for feeding activity booms. This increase in energy will sometimes supercharge those speckled trout and they just put up an unbelievable fight that most hardcore anglers just can not resist or get enough of. That being said, February and March are prime time and are by far the two best months of the year for the wadefishermen as they intercept the bigger trout on shallow flats and shorelines. You can think of this time like the rut in deer season. This is the time of year when you absolutely know that those bigger and smarter female trout will be shallow and looking for easy meals and therefore much easier to predict and intercept. In retrospect this is your best shot of the year for that trophy trout of a lifetime. That is true for the wader as well as the angler that stays in the boat.Black Drum that is eating size!
Expect several areas of the bay system to turn on this month including West Bay, Upper Trinity Bay and the jetties. Early this month the jetty anglers will be the first to see the increase in black drum catches. The Black Drum is an extremely adaptable fish that can live and be caught in any environment along our coast line. They spawn in both the open gulf and bays and begin their spawning in February and continue through April. The size limit is 14-30 inches with one fish allowed to be harvested over 52 inches. Unless you catch a state or world record or want to start a worm farm I would let the oversize ones go for sure. In fact the larger they get the wormier they get so for eating purposes I would keep it in the lower end of the slot limit for good table fare. Remember to release the bigger fish with great care and make sure you revive them properly before releasing them. We want to make sure these big females get a chance to spawn and provide good quality fishing and table fare for the future generations.Incredible colors on that fish.
As usual weather is the most important factor to how well our gamefish feed. This is another month where 12-17 mph winds are ideal and those overcast and soupier days will bring on extreme feeding urges and excellent fishing opportunities. Look for incoming tides to produce a lot of bites as the incoming becomes the best tidal movement typically for a springtime pattern. I expect afternoons to continue to be the best bite throughout the month of February and well in to March so keep that in mind when choosing times to fish. Late afternoon and sometimes right at dusk the fish can go off the charts for about 30 minutes and it is awesome but you have to be out there to see it happen. And dont forget when you go to take a kid fishing!!!
See you on the water!