I’m not really sure what to say about February. It seemed as though Father Time forgot about Mother Nature on Valentine’s Day. Suffice it to say that even a supreme being gets miffed when a man misses a Hallmark holiday. I’m not sure how bad ole Father Time got it, but we as fishermen took a beating in the repercussions. It reminds me of a couple anecdotes, one involving an elephant’s memory and another involving the stubbornness of mule. The winds and seas were unrelenting for a majority of the month. Fortunately, she had to sleep sometime, so there were a few fishable days. As for Father Time, I imagine he didn’t get much rest, having to sleep with one eye open an all.
If I had to call out a star for February, it would have to be the amberjack. If I heard it once on the VHF, I heard it a dozen times. It was a captain saying “Thank God for an amberjack”. Of the limited days we had to fish last month, several of them were saved by the aj’s. Many trips started of with a long run to catch a limit of amberjack. In most cases, that limit was followed by a few triggerfish and seabass with a bunch of grouper and red snapper to throw back.
In all likelihood, this trend will continue into March. Hopefully, somebody got her box of chocolates by now and we will spring into a more settled weather pattern. If the weather is fishable, the amberjack should remain a good bet as they should start staging for the April spawn. As we get towards the end of March, we should start to see some of the bigger fish showing up. Big live baits will be the bait of choice. But, the jigs could work well if there is a good showing of fish. On some of the spots, there are plenty of snapper and grouper. If you want to get a little practice turning their heads, you shouldn’t have a problem getting them to bite.
With the falling water temperatures last month, the slow trolling came to a screeching halt. Most slow trolling trips last month turned into bottom fishing with chicken rig trips.
If the water warms back up to over 70 degrees, we could see a turnaround in this trend. If the temps on the reefs stay below 70, it likely won’t turn around until next month.
The water temps put a crimp on the trolling the same way it did the slow trolling. Much like above, you will likely have to wait for warmer waters to have much success. If you just like to put out the baits, crank the tunes and have a couple coldies without too many bites interrupting the fun, then be my guest and go trolling.
Many people in the area are keeping a close eye on the water temps because it’s that time of year again… Cobia season! The temperature gradient from the beach out to the reefs is looking like the right stuff for a cobia run to happen. Although we didn’t see a late February run, there’s still hope for March, which is the traditional month for the cobia migration. Keep your fingers crossed!
The majority of the cobia action will occur where the water temps are between 68-70 degrees. Look for areas where there’s a hard temperature break, birds working, bait shoals, flotsam and/or manta rays. Any on or a combination of these could be where the action is. Jigs tipped with squid and/or live baits will be the best baits.
Either way, things should start warming up both on land and sea. So get out there and take advantage while she’s in a good mood. If you bring candy on the boat, you may want to throw a couple pieces of chocolate in the ocean as a peace offering..
See ya on the pond!!
Thanks and tight lines!