Stuart Jensen Beach Offshore Fishing Report and Forecast: February 2017

Manda Welsh releasing her first sailfish ever and her husband Mike fighting another one in the background while fishing with Capt Scott Fawcett aboard Off The Chain. Photo credit: Capt. Scott Fawcett.

February is here and although we didn’t have a very cold winter we did have enough north wind to set us up for a pretty decent early spring. Over the last couple of years, our mahi run has taken place a little earlier than normal which is typically May. I feel this year is going to be similar. Expect good mahi fishing this February and along with sailfish, blackfin tuna and a good possibility of seeing some manta rays with cobia following behind them. Your best chance at the sails would be trolling or live baiting with light line, leader, and circle hooks in 120- to 200-feet of water while the dolphin frequent areas there and usually a little deeper this time of year. The manta rays will migrate along foam edges and slim lines that run along the beaches and reefs. This is a great time of year to use live bait for sailfish around bait schools on the beaches too. Light tackle and small circle hooks will increase your amount of bites and probably your ratio. Targeting dolphin this time of year, I still prefer to troll. Covering water is the name of the game for them in February and it takes too long to drift from 500 feet into 100 feet of water. Put out a few ballyhoo rigged on J hooks and pull a squid chain and either a dredge or mullet chain as teasers. After having a couple bites in an area, if you have some live bait, it’s probably not a bad idea to toss them out, but if you go any length of time without another nibble I would put out the trolling spread again and move on. February is also a good month to live bait for kingfish or run and gun looking for schools of permit. Whatever you decide to do this February, remember to have a cobia slayer, a RonZ lure or a crab on your spinning rod ready to cast. Manta rays and cobia are seen frequently now and having a rod at the ready is key to taking advantage of that opportunity. If you have any interest getting out this February please give me a call, we have plenty of availability and I’d love to take you. Looking forward to fishing with you soon.

FORECAST BY: Capt. Scott Fawcett
Off the Chain Fishing Charters
Phone: (772) 285-1055