Cold boat rides are not fun in February, however, a little winter low tide exploring can prove profitable when tides finally return this spring.
If you ever wondered where that reef is that sits two feet under the water, now is the time to find out. Every piece of shell, hump, sand flat or dangerous obstruction that sits a few feet below the surface is exposed.
Now is the time to take a boat ride and mark these spots with a GPS so you can find them when spring tides arrive and cover the locales with three feet of water.
With low tides, fish are congregated in guts and channels. Waders have stood in waist-deep guts and caught reds until their arms ache, while boaters have found fish in holes and drops next to reefs.
Trout action slowed with water temperatures in the upper 40s this week, however, a warm-up is on the way that should spark a better trout bite.
Big trout chasers in the Corpus Christi and Baffin Bay area have found trout to nine pounds on plastics in deep guts of mud and grass. Limits of trout in the 2 to 4-pound range were taken as well. Big trout love to be caught around the winter full moon; and with mercury readings rising, expect big blows from yellowmouths around the rocks.
Around Galveston, schools of trout found solace from the cold over shell in 8 to 9 feet of water. When the sun popped out and the cold winds died down, anglers found those large schools on the shorelines with soft plastics, MirrOlures, Corkies and Soft-Dines. The same pattern should hold through Spring Break.
Guide James Plaag of Silver King Adventures in Galveston said he has been wading in waist-deep water and finding trout on Bass Assassins and Double-D Texas Custom Lures.
Anglers setting a later alarm have done well with afternoon wades over mud and shell. Corkies, MirrOlures, Soft-Dines and Down South Lures rigged with light jigs have scored best with lethargic trout in West Galveston Bay and East Matagorda Bay.
Expect more trout to show in traditionally drifting spots like mud and shell along the lower and upper ends of Galveston Bay. The same holds true for East Galveston Bay, though waders this time of year like to work the north shoreline mud around the Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge.
Redfish, black drum and sheepshead have been solid around the jetty rocks up and down the coast, especially in Port O’Connor. Fresh shrimp under popping corks have been the go-to baits for sheepsheads, while Carolina-rigged mullet, crabs and squid have worked for the drum.
As tides warm and swell through March, large black drum will be roaming the channels leading to the Gulf more frequently in preparation for their spawn. I released one black drum pushing 25 pounds that ate a pink Soft-Dine while wading on a cold morning for trout.
Sure, the cold is not the most pleasurable way to catch a fish; yet, if you pay attention to the subtleties winter tides offer you will be that much ahead come spring.