Monday, February 14, 2011

February Cabin Fever

Saltwater Angler Magazine
On-Line Edition
February 9, 2011

About mid-February, a shallow water angler’s patience is growing thin. With the recent freeze scare and cold snap after that, everyone hopes that it’s about over. It does appear that the bays, fish and anglers were spared a major freeze and fish kill event this time. Thank God for that.

After reviewing the long-range forecast, late February looks to be trending warmer. In South Texas, thankfully, winter only lasts a couple of months and hopefully it’s about over!

Cabin fever is a tough thing for Texas coastal anglers to endure, and ever since duck season ended, the cabin has been getting smaller. No matter what the weather, however, there are a lot of hearty souls out there who brave the elements in search of a trophy trout or hungry redfish in the winter. But most anglers hang back and wait for the weather to get warmer. Post cold front fishing can be fantastic, however, and after a few days of warm sunshine and not much wind, these cold-weary fish are going to inch ever so slowly into the shallower waters to warm up and then feed.

Don’t totally write off fishing until temperatures rise, however, just watch the weather and take advantage of the good and productive days when they do come along. Water temperatures in the shallow water need to remain in the above 60 range to hold fish, so target sun-warmed areas near deep water, out of the wind, if possible. The Intracoastal is the place where lots of fish drop into to survive, so stay close. Find bait lurking around darker, grassy or muddy bottoms and your odds go up. Also, with the water levels so very low, lots of flats are empty, so it makes it even easier to pinpoint where to fish. These classic winter-time rules really do work!

Since it’s the dead of winter, there are always a few events scheduled to keep us all in tune with the outdoors and fishing. The first one is the TPWD Crab Trap Cleanup event. “In order to help clean up the Texas coastline, the 9th Annual Texas Abandoned Crab Trap Removal Program will run from February 19-28, 2011. During the ten day period, all Texas bays will be closed to crabbing as volunteers assist in collecting traps.” Give your local TWPD office a call and find out where you can get tarps and other gear to pick up the traps, and find out where the collection points are.

Also, on February 19th, Bass Pro Shops in Pearland will again be presenting their day-long event, “Fly Fishing Texas and Beyond”. With a great array of speakers and demonstrations that last all day long, anglers can learn about fly fishing in saltwater and freshwater from some of the leaders in the industry. I will be speaking there at 10:30am and doing a kayak fly fishing demonstration at 2:00pm. Check out their website for all of the information and please stop by and say hello!

March 2nd through the 6th will be the 36th Annual Houston Fishing Show at the George R. Brown Convention Center. This is a “must attend” event where anglers can talk fishing with most of the guides in Texas and check out all of the new fishing gear and kayaks. The daily seminar line-up is a who’s-who of Texas fishing. As usual, I’ll be in booth 518, and hope to see you there. I’ve got a lot of new adventures up my sleeve for 2011!

The 16th Annual Billy Sandifer Big Shell Beach Cleanup will be held on March 19th. Go to for all of the details, but, if you can be there, it is an inspiring, fun and exciting day, filled with new friends, fresh air and lots of exercise! Capt. Billy Sandifer is an icon of the saltwater. If you’ve never met and talked with him, or fished or birded on the beach with him, you are missing one of the great adventures of life.

Add Spring Break and the end of winter to this list and, before you know it, you’ll be trading in your Under Armor Cold Gear for sunscreen, shorts and flip-flops! Time flies when you are having fun!

See you on the water soon!

Capt. Sally

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