Fishing in February can be hit or miss with the rain, wind and ever-changing temperatures, making for some restless days stuck at home. But have you ever heard of the old adage, "You gotta go to know?"

Patrick Martino, Biloxi angler and owner of PMM Professional Land Surveyors, lives by that tenet, as a recent trip to Back Bay Biloxi illustrated.

"I loaded up the boat with the poles, tackle box, and backed down the ramp to see clean water and a rising tide," Martino said. "Just the right conditions for catching a big one."

During early spring, a warm day with light wind will push the trout onto flats adjacent to deeper water to feed. Those are the areas Martino cruised, looking for bait moving.

"From the I-110 bridge, I headed west, easing along watching for any type of swirl, flip or jump of mullet," he explained. "As I was traveling to the west, I noticed some bait activity, so I decided to stop and cast a few times.

"On my second cast I caught a 12-inch trout. About every third cast I picked up another trout - some right at keeper size but others a little smaller."

Martino was quick to point out that if you're looking for big trout don't hang around school trout very long: Pack it up and move on.

"After going a short distance, I noticed a pelican diving and decided to watch for a little while," Martino said. "After five minutes, two more pelicans were diving in the same general area. Then, I saw a 6-inch mullet flip. This mullet did not jump; it just made enough commotion for me to know it was there."

When Martino fishes in February and March, he always looks for any sign of mullet. It is his belief that larger trout feed on mullet because they typically react to the warmer water quicker than other baitfish, moving into shallow water on mud flats or oyster reefs.

He eased over to work the waters the pelicans were seining, careful not to get too shallow.

"The water depth where my boat was sitting was 4 1/2 feet deep," Martino said. "I was making as long of a cast as I could possibly throw into water that was approximately 2 feet deep."

He is a firm believer in making long casts and not getting too close to where the fish are holding because older and larger fish will spook easier than juvenile fish.

And he carefully works his lures for greatest impact.

"I fish a MirrOlure Catch 2000 or Catch 5 with quick jerks and pauses to let the lure fall approximately 6 inches when fishing water this depth," Martino said.

He decided to go with the MirroLure Catch 2000 under the diving pelicans because of its slightly large profile. On his third cast under the pelicans, he hooked what was obviously not a 13-inch trout.

"I slowly fought the fish, being careful not to put too much pressure on it," he said. "The fish came up to the top of the water and was shaking its head, trying everything it could to get the bait out of its mouth."

After a few minutes, Martino got the trout in the boat. It registered a little over 6 pounds on the Boga-Grip.

Martino released the beast to swim another day - after a quick photo, of course.

Martino stuck around to land 10 more keepers to finish a limit for the day.