First and foremost, let’s cover one of the main important backbones in your angling arsenal world. YOUR ROD AND REEL! For 90% of flats and inshore fishing, a good quality 7-1/2’ rod does the trick. Make sure it’s a good IM6 or 7rod construction with medium to medium heavy action. It’ll say. It should have 7 to 9-rod eyes for less friction and further casting. And never secure your hook into one of the eyes. It will eventually burr it and cost you cut line. A good rod should have a hook keeper near the handle. Or if not, have one put on for little or nothing. A good cork handle and you’re set to go with a good quality rod.

These are what I use in conjunction with 2500 series Shimano Symetre model reels. Here’s a combo that is good quality, won’t break the bank, and will give you years of use with proper and good service done annually by your rod and reel tackle shop professional.

Now, on to the rest of the story.

February can deliver a Nature Coast angler some challenging fishing situations.

Think about it. (1) This month is the latter part of winter. So with it, we still can have a little bad weather. And with it brings the cold east winds, and temps, both air, and water. (Current water temp at writing is 58 degrees). (2) The (6month) closure of grouper. Possibly longer. YUK! What the heck are our offshore guys supposed to do?

From the outside, kinda looks bleak, no?

However, from the inside not to despair, if you still choose to do some angling in this neck of the woods, it can be worthwhile.

So, let’s cover some species we can target and KEEP shall we decide to venture into some angling.

Starting with the fresh scene.

Some of the best bass and crappie fishing will be this month. Now is the time to utilize those frisky shiners for your wall hanger. Right now, the shiners are friskier, stay alive longer because of the cooler temps, and bass love em.

The specks, (crappie), won’t forsake a good lively minnow coupled with a jig.

On the salty pond side:

Like I mentioned earlier, forget about the grouper unless you just enjoy catching and not keeping. However, there are still the good eating grunts that can help fill a cooler.

But then there are the black drum, sheepshead, redfish, mangrove snapper and mullet for the eating kind that is inshore. And then throw in the ever prevalent at this time, the ladyfish and jacks which are fun to catch and abundant at this appointed time.

You can find and catch most all of these up near the headsprings of the rivers and the mouths before it empties in the gulf. Be safe and good fishing.

Submitted By: Capt. Rick Burns
Reel Burns Charters