It would be easy to pass February off as a time to let the fishing gear rest and tackle some of that maintenance needed to be prepared for the soon to come spring and summer season. Those people lying low can certainly fill that time making sure everything is ready for their angling adventures to come, but not keeping a trained eye on the weather will have them missing some great fishing opportunities. February is notorious for winter’s grip holding tight with consistent cold fronts keeping those lagoon temperatures in their lowest range of the year. When those winds blow cold it will be a lot harder to find a bite in all but the deepest canals and dredged holes. However, for those paying attention and watching the weather some windows of prime conditions can be found when the frontal winds calm, and clear skies have the chance to warm the shallower waters. On those magic days the flats and shorelines adjacent to the deeper water refuges will fill with predators looking to not only warm themselves, but also get a bite to eat. These fish will be lethargic for the most part due to the cold. So, plan accordingly with smaller offerings and even some live bait like freelined mud minnows can be needed to get the hit.
One big target on the list will be the snook that has been so prolific in our lagoons the last few years. Threse fish are particularly susceptible to cold temperatures as they are considered a subtropical species. Though, if you find the right shoreline and the right warming conditions you can have chances at some great fishing. This is also a great time to get in on seatrout action. They pile into the deeper holes and canals in mass and are always willing to keep a rod bent regardless of your angling proficiency. This is where all our canal front Islanders can shine, even more so if you have a light on your dock. Those cool early morning deepwater sessions will not only get you plenty of fish, but your chances at hooking a true monster seatrout are high. I personally have all too fond memories of hitting some of the undeveloped canals with my father on the coldest days of the year. The banks and fishing holes in the trees would be lined with locals all looking to find those hefty trout looking to stay warm for the night. Long gone are the undeveloped canals for land fishing, but kayaks work great for this action. Imitation or live shrimp freelined or under a popping cork is a time-tested way to catch as many seatrout as you would like, soft plastic paddle tail lures will also hook plenty of fish for the artificial crowd. Black Drum also makes a solid showing for lagoon bound kayak anglers. They can vary in size from small fun ones to absolute sea monsters. Shrimp or crab are a must to be successful in this game when you find them on the flats, in the mangroves, or on the bridges.