by Capt Craig Lambert
Fishing can only get better as February progresses. It has to get better because January was rather uneventful. The very best days in January were the days before, during and right after the frontal passages. And I expect this trend to continue for the next few weeks. Stay away from those days with no wind and no clouds unless you like to just practice your casting skills. Wind, tide and more wind are the environmental conditions you are looking for to offer best results on our bay system right now. The day after a front! NW @ 20! Hammered em!
With water temperatures staying above average this winter I would expect the Black Drum run to begin a little earlier than usual. I am expecting to see them showing up along the jetties and the ship channel in the next few weeks. We typically catch them on and around areas of very thick and heavy shell while fishing for specks and reds. On light tackle they are a lot of fun but make sure and release these big brutes properly. Take a lot of care to revive them by pushing them back and forth through the water while holding their tails. They will let you know when they are ready to be released by swimming away from your hand on their own. The smaller fish are best for eating as the bigger they get the more worms are found in their meat. Typically I will keep any black drum under 20 inches and over the 14 inch limit. These are the tasty ones. Lots of Fun!
The redfish bite hasn't been very good lately. But the trout are still very thick and are spread out over shallow flats with scattered shell and muddy bottoms. I have been targeting them in the 3 to 5 ft range along and near structures like pipelines and clam reefs. Plastics are bringing in larger fish on average over live shrimp but a popping cork with a live shrimp under it is not being turned away by any size trout. The speckled trout will continue to stay shallow as water temperatures continue to hover in the low 50's. Also expect a switch over from outgoing tides being best to the incoming tides being more productive by the end of this month.
Look for fishing to improve steadily over the next few weeks. Warmer water temperatures are going to give us an early spring and the kick off to some of the best fishing of the year.
Take a kid fishing!!!