Went on several “for fun” trips this month, with varying success. That’s the way it can be in the winter, totally depending on how frequently the cold fronts come through and how much warming we get between them. We had some two fish days and some 30 fish days. While the latter are more fun, we also did some exploring in some new areas.
Around the middle of the month I took my old friend Doug Fertig out for a trip, and we struggled to find some good fish. The weather was warming after an extended cold front, but the water temp was barely above 50 degrees. After trying a number of productive areas, we finally found some fish in some areas south of the river…but it was a struggle.
Later in the month, Tommy Thompson, Doug Barrett and I did some exploring. We went to some areas several miles south of the river, both north and south of Rocky Creek looking for redfish. It was a beautiful day, sunny but cold, and we found what we were looking for…lots of redfish on the flats. Unfortunately they were in no mood for eating anything. The water temps were still down, and we literally ran across several nice sized fish before they spooked. We probably found 25 fish with no hookups, fishing a variety of lures. We did find a few trout in some of the deeper holes.
The next day looked to be a better day. More forecasted bright sun, negligible wind, and we had some reports of some fine catches at Dallus Creek. At 9 AM, the Sea Hag marina was heavily fogged in, with no wind. Figuring this was sure to burn off, we crawled out of the river to fish some closer spots. We waited for the fog to lift. And we waited some more. And some more. With visibility of about 150 feet, we weren’t about to run 5 miles to the north so we fished some of our regular places closer to the river. Tommy was fishing the DOA BFL (Big Fish Lure), a large soft-bodied floating lure with a small lip that ran about two feet below the surface. I was fishing with a special-order original Corky lure that we had ordered several years ago from Paul Brown. We ordered a bunch of magnum-sized Devil lures, similar to the current Paul Brown Devils that Mirrolure is selling, but a few inches larger and much heavier. When we got these from Paul, it turned out that they didn’t sink like the usual Corky lure; in fact, they ran just a few inches below the surface and basically suspended there. As we were fishing over shallow rocks, that seemed like a decent choice. We did find some schools of nice fish, although by and large they were a little smaller than some of the winter fish we like to see; most were in the 17 to 19 inch range. I finally found one really nice fish that weighed almost five pounds. We probably caught and released around 20 fish.
As you can see, the fog never lifted. At noon, in fact, the fog got heavier, the wind picked up and the temperature dropped as the tide slacked. At that point we figured we would call it a day so we idled slowly back to the river. Just past the mouth of the river, the fog was left behind and we found ourselves in bright sun and 70 degrees. The fog bank was hanging right over the cool gulf and vanished over the warming land.
February is one of our favorite months, primarily because trout season is closed. As we almost always practice catch-and-release, this makes no difference to sportfisherman….but it does keep most everone else off the water. We’re hoping to get some great warming trends and some space between fronts and get some of those big boys on fly rods this coming month. By March, the water temps should be up and the spring bite will be on…lots of trout and redfish in the picture.