February Fishing

February Fishing


With limited options for keeping fish offshore. Hog fish and snapper can save a day and fill a dinner plate. Look for live bottom in 40-50ft of water or ledges/small shows in 65-70ft. Take as many shrimp as you can. A good practice is to take 5 dozen shrimp per person along with plenty of hogfish jigs. Pink 1oz jigs always produce well. It doesn’t hurt to have some snapper specific chum to use like super shrimp form aquatic nutrition. You have to pick through the grunts and porgy’s for a little bit but eventually you’ll get into the hogfish.

You can also target mangrove snapper using the same tactics for hogfish as well but supplement shrimp with small whitebait and other available chum.  Using a 7' or 7'6" Medium heavy fishing rod with a 4000 or 5000 size fishing reel is a great setup to target snapper offshore.

Kingfish are always offshore in that 70ft plus water depth. I’d recommend always having a free lined bait out the back. With a big live pinfish, cigar minnow, ladyfish or mullet being good options. Another good tactic would be to drop a 1.5-2 oz bucktail tipped with a dead sardine to about 30-40 foot of depth. Trolling is an option but it's typically more productive to bottom fishing as well.

Cobia on wrecks can be found using the flat line method as well. It's good practice to have a pitch rod rigged for them anytime you venture offshore. Use live pinfish, whole squid, or cigar minnows. They will not shy away from a 10” hogy when visible on the surface near the boat.

For Cobia and Kingfish use a 12 to 16 size conventional reel with a medium heavy or heavy power fishing rod in a 7' length. An 8' heavy spinning reel paired with an 8000 size  fishing reel  will give you an option to cast a bait back to these fish as well.



Cold fronts dictate where you can find fish and what you can use to feed them while inshore fishing. Expect redfish to be in big schools around feeder creeks, potholes, pockets, and behind wind protected points. While they begin to spread out on higher and warmer water, fish will concentrate in larger schools because of the big north winds and low tides associated with the winter time. Add in colder water temps and you'll need to slow down presentations of artificial lures. Use as small of a lure as you can cast while sightfishing. Some of our favorites include the Z-Man Finesse TRD and Salty Ned Shrimpz on 1/15th ounce nedlockz jig heads. You can also use a 3" DOA Cal, NLBN, or Z-Man Minnowz rigged on an 1/8th oz head swam or jigged slowly off the bottom. Lead fish as much as possible while still getting them to see the lure.

My favorite setup for sight fishing redfish is a 7' Medium or Medium Light Fish rods with a 2500 or 3000 series reel. These setups are usually very light and can cast a light finesse lure a good distance. A 7' rod is easier to make a more accurate cast which is important when sight fishing. 

If power fishing for redfish, it is hard to beat a light gold spoon this time of year. Swim it slow enough that you occasionally tick bottom and the spoon should just barely be wobbling back and forth creating vibration in the water column. You can also bounce a Savage Gear shrimp, Monster 3x X-move or Babysoft, or a Henn Shrinnow along the bottom. Swimming a 3" swim bait is also not a bad choice. Just don't be afraid to fish it slow. 

A good power fishing setup for the winter would be a 7'6" Medium rod with a 2500 or 3000 size reel. Lighter setups are great for power fishing because you often are on expansive flats covering water. The longer rod will help you gain more casting distance. The over weight of a 7'6" medium rod and a smaller 2500 size reel will keep you in the game longer and help you catch more fish. 

Speckled Trout can be found in potholes, along flat edges, and channels in our area. Using the same baits as redfish with a little more weight will do the trick. Close to a cold front the trout will not chase a bait as much as they will with warmer water. Often these fish will hit a still bait. Fish your lure of choice as slowly as you can handle. These fish will not see many baits larger than a small pinfish all winter long. Keep that in mind as you decide what soft plastics to use. 

Fishing a sinking mirrolure or bucktail can also be productive in the right areas. Don't be afraid to use these options along deeper edges, potholes, and docks where they baits won't get hung on grass. 

The end of February will usually be characterized by a warm spell where snook can be targeted moving from the backs of rivers and creeks to creek mouths and nearby flats. Once the water temps begin pushing towards and into the 70s you can upsize your lures some. However the small presentations will work just find on laid up, sunning snook. Also, if targeting snook this time of year, Do as Branson does and tie on a yo-zuri pencil. Anytime can be topwater time if you have one tied on. 


Check out some of our favorite winter time offshore gear here

Grab some cold water inshore staples here!

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