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February Best Bets with Captain Mike Farmer

Hard to believe but we are more than a month deep into 2020. January seemed much more like spring than wintertime. The weather has been extremely mild for what you would think during the dead middle of winter. But yet, everything is very much alive and the weather has been awesome. If you haven’t been out on the water, you have been missing some of those Chamber of Commerce advertisement sort of days.

Boat docked at Steinhatchee River ClubDuring January the water temperatures had risen back up to near 70 degrees out on the flats. Trout are scattered out across the grass flats in much like a springtime pattern with these warm days. Pinfish have become active and all around as well. As you know, this is a primary food source of Speckled Trout during the warmer months. Normally we don’t see much activity from this little baitfish during the wintertime. If you have tried fishing with shrimp lately you are quite aware of their presence. It only takes a few seconds once you cast one out under a cork before the nibbles begin. If February weather patterns continue to bring us warmer temperatures we can expect to see much more of the same patterns continue to develop.

This month you’ll want to continue to follow the movement around on the grass flats in 2-4 feet of water. Unless we see another major cold front move in and have several weeks of cold, the flats should produce more fish than the creeks and rivers, with the exception of the moon cycles during the months that we have negative low tides. During these periods the creeks will still be a great place to be if you have an airboat or a much smaller boat to navigate these areas. Most of us have larger boats that don’t navigate the shallow creeks during periods of low tide so the grass flats are our main areas to hunt our prey.

Although shrimp under a cork will still work, you may want to use something a little more durable to present under your cork with the presence of pinfish around. A Saltwater Assassin Sea shad or jerk shad is a perfect choice right now. Colors haven’t seemed to matter much lately. This is probably because of the wide availability of food sources. But in the wintertime I always like anything with pink in it. So Stinky Pink or Pink ghost is a great choice of colors to start with.

If the water temperatures remain warm we should see a fairly good top water bite as well. Many people love a top water bite but we usually have so much floating grass that this becomes a difficult method to fish during much of the year. Right now we have very little floating grass and water temperatures that are very conducive to providing some great top water action. One of my favorite baits is the Unfair Lures Dawgwalker. This bait is very easy to work in a slow side to side manner that produces breathtaking strikes from Trout and Redfish. My color choices are anything with gold or pink in it during this time of year.

Don’t forget in February not only can the fishing be great but Steinhatchee also hosts the Annual Fiddler Crab Festival. It will be held February 14-16th this year. This is a great family event with lots of things going on. For more information contact The Steinhatchee Chamber of Commerce or check the events tab on their website.

Also, don’t forget a Valentine treat for your significant other. Keep em happy and take em fishing !

Thanks for taking the time to read each month and come see me for a good day on the water. God Bless and I hope to see you soon in “The Hatch”.

Captain Mike Farmer