Warming Trends: How to Catch Redfish, Snook & Trout in February

As February unfolds, the waters surrounding Anna Maria, Bradenton, and Sarasota gradually begin to warm, heralding subtle shifts in the behavior of the area’s most coveted inshore species: redfish, snook, and trout.

This period of transition is a boon for fishermen, as these game fish adjust to the changing conditions, offering unique opportunities for those ready to adapt alongside them. The slight uptick in temperature stimulates feeding activity, making February a great time to target these species.

Redfish Resurgence

February’s warming trend particularly benefits redfish, which become more active and increasingly visible on the shallow flats. As the water temperatures rise, redfish start to venture out of their winter haunts, congregating in areas where sun-warmed waters mix with cooler currents. This makes spots like oyster bars, mangrove shorelines, and shallow flats with dark bottoms, which retain heat, prime fishing grounds.

Live bait like shrimp or cut mullet can be particularly effective this time of year. Sight fishing for redfish becomes increasingly rewarding, as these fish are more likely to chase down a well-presented lure or bait in the slightly warmer water.

Snook’s Seasonal Shift

Snook begin to show signs of increased activity as well, though they remain somewhat temperature sensitive and cautious. February often finds them in transitional zones between their winter hideouts and the more open waters they favor in warmer months. This includes areas around creek mouths, deeper channels adjacent to flats, and near structures that offer both warmth and access to open water.

Night fishing near lighted docks and bridges can be particularly productive, as snook take advantage of the warmer waters to feed on baitfish attracted to the lights. Artificial lures that mimic these baitfish, such as soft plastics or slow-sinking plugs, can be very effective in enticing snook during these conditions.

Trout on the Move

Spotted seatrout continue to be a reliable target in February, with larger females often found in shallower waters preparing for the spring spawn. Grass flats with a mixture of sand and seagrass patches are ideal, especially if they’re located near deeper channels or holes where trout can retreat if the water cools suddenly.

This time of year, a slow and steady retrieve with soft plastic jigs or live shrimp under a popping cork can be irresistible to trout, as their metabolism starts to increase with the warmer water. Topwater plugs can also produce thrilling strikes, especially on warmer days when trout are more active on the surface.

Tips for February Fishing Success

  • Monitor water temperatures closely, as even small increases can significantly affect fish behavior and feeding patterns.
  • Focus on the warmest parts of the day, typically late morning to early afternoon, when fish are most active.
  • Be versatile in your approach, ready to switch tactics, baits, and locations as conditions change.

The subtle warming trends of February offers a unique window to enjoy some of the year’s best fishing. With redfish, snook, and trout all responding to the gradual increase in water temperatures, every trip to the water can be a new adventure.

Whether you’re poling through shallow flats in search of redfish, casting into the night for snook, or drifting over grassy expanses for trout, February’s waters are full of promise. As the season edges closer to spring, the days spent on the water now can yield impressive catches.

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