Mexico Beach Fishing Report: Feb 2014

By Capt. Charlene Burke
WOW, January was a good month for fishing even though we had sub-freezing temperatures. I love telling fish stories, and I have two for the month of January! First of all, I love fishing for Black sea bass around the navigational markers in the bay. We took advantage of one calm, sunny day to try and catch these yummy tasting treasures. We were using 1.5 oz. egg sinkers, with a light 20 pound leader and 4/0 circle hooks loaded with live shrimp to drop down around the markers. It wasn’t long when one member of our fishing party called out “fish on!” I was waiting to net the fish after she got it to the surface and was amazed at what I saw. She caught two Black sea bass on ONE hook! Both keepers, they must have both tried to grab the shrimp at the same time and both were hooked right in the lip just like a circle hook is suppose to do! The other story is a classic for the winter months and it involves a beautiful 72 year old grandma named Judy. It was her first fishing trip in St Joseph Bay. We were actually fishing for Black sea bass when her drag started singing with line running off at a frightening speed. My first thought was “giant Bull red”. I thought she would never get the fish to stop running, but it turned and the battle was on! When the beautiful redfish breached for the first time everyone on the boat screamed with surprise at how big the fish was. Judy won the battle after quite a fight. The Bull redfish was 40 inches long and weighed 25 pounds! Her arms were so fatigued that I helped her hold the fish for photos before setting it free.

Remember the flounder and sheepshead can be caught around structure and in the outlet of the bay and flounder can’t resist live Bull minnows. The specks have moved in the intra-coastal canal and I use ¼ ounce jig heads with Gulp 2 inch finger mullet. I free line bull minnows near walls and structure too. So get out there! Remember the fishing can be very good in February with less fishing pressure.