Targeting Cold Water Tolerant Species This Time of Year is Key By: Capt. Mike Anderson

February is the month I target sheepshead, speckled trout, silver trout and redfish. They are all very cold water tolerant and remain easy targets even in winter-like months. Normally, cold windy conditions this month drop water temps and make some species less active.

Use live shrimp or artificial baits that you can work slowly for the best results. Shrimp digest much easier and faster than pilchards or mullet. With the cold water slowing down the metabolism of most fish this month, shrimp are an excellent bait choice. For sheepshead, I like to tail hook live shrimp on a ¼ ounce jig head and pitch them under docks or near bridge pilings. Use a jig head with a small hook if possible. They don’t call sheepshead convict fish for no reason! They will pick even the most seasoned anglers clean from time to time. This tactic will work on redfish as well. Target dock lines that are older and adjacent to deeper water. This gives the redfish a safe travel path and the safety of deep water if water temps should suddenly plummet.

As for speckled trout and silver trout, they are probably the most active and easiest to catch in a variety of ways. My favorite speckled trout and silver trout tactic is to throw soft plastic paddle tail baits at them like the Mirro-Lure Marsh Minnow on a ¼ ounce jig head or the Strike King Trout Magic ¼ ounce. Working deeper grass flats, you can cover a lot of water and get your bait in front of a lot more fish, which increases your opportunities to catch. Live shrimp will work under a popping cork as well for both species.

Target grass flats in 4 to 8-feet of water. I find better concentrations of fish on the lower tides. Moving water is always a key as is trying to find slightly warmer areas. Even a two-degree temp difference can turn the bite on. Target those areas with darker bottoms, as they tend to warm fastest on sunny days. Large schools of silver trout can also be found in deep water around the bridges and passes, as well as, up on the flats. February weather can sometimes be challenging, but targeting the right species with the right bait can make all the difference out there.