This February we found the most consistent action hanging tight to the residential docks and canals for reds, drum and sheepies using live shrimp. The bad news for this month is we never locked into large numbers of slot to oversize reds on any one trip. Most days this month we have had to put time in to catch a keeper size red with by catches of drum and sheepies to take up the slack. The up side is the stock of reds seem really strong in our area with easy double digit (over 30 on one trip) undersize rat reds being caught on a regular basis this month.
The trout are still holding off the deeper edges of grass flats and some larger single fish being found in the shallower flats in sand holes. I like to work artificial jigs to cover more ground when trout fishing. Live shrimp work well too, but be prepared to burn up a lot shrimp feeding all the pinfish on the flats.
I have also spent more time this month honing my paddle boarding skills which gives the ability to sight fish. The key is having a kayak stable enough to stand in allowing you to raise your line of vision and “sight fish”. This takes some core strength and balance to pull off, but don’t think you need to be a yogini to attempt this. I am 6′ 3″ and consider myself on the low end of balance spectrum, but have been able to pretty quickly develop(still have room to improve) these skills in my Malibu Stealth 14 kayak. One drawback to kayaking for me has been the inability to sight fish, but with wider kayak designs, this is changing. The trade in for a wider stabler kayak is the loss of speed, but for me, the advantage of sight fishing makes up for this loss.
With February waning I have my eyes already set on March. Snook season opens the 1st of the month in the Bay Area!! I love eating snook, but I have developed a healthly respect for this amazing fishery and now a days I would rather catch em than eat them. But with that said, and the stock bouncing back from the winter of 2010, I am looking forward to bagging one keeper snook this season and introducing it to some panco, cajun seasoning and peanut oil in my deep fryer.
It is also time for me to start getting my gear ready for hitting the beaches and near shore reefs for flounder, grunts, catch and release grouper and by the end of the March, kingfish. March is also a great month for sheepies if you can catch the in there spawn as they feed aggressively.