Capt. Robert Brodie with Team Brodie Charters, who has his boat based at Biloxi's D'Iberville Marina, says you can find the big speckled trout in the coastal rivers and other species around the rivers during February.

If you're hunting large trout, go up the Biloxi or the Tchoutacabouffa rivers, and look for the trout in deep holes and bends in the rivers. They'll be holding near the Jack Watson Power Plant, Bernard Bayou and Gulfport Lake.

But remember, if you go up the coastal rivers looking for speckled trout, you'll either be a hero or a zero. You may limit-out and have one of those glory days catching 3- to 7-pounders, or you may catch only five to seven trout.

"You'll catch many of the better trout on soft-plastic lures like H&H Cocahoe Minnows and the Berkley Gulp Shrimp in the chartreuse and white colors with a 1/4-ounce jighead and 10-pound-test fluorocarbon line on a spinning rod during February," Brodie said. "I tie my jigs directly to the line, and don't use a leader."

Last year in February, Brodie and one of his clients caught 30 trout that weighed from 3 1/2 to 7 pounds during an epic trip. However, an average trip would be 15 to 20 nice-sized trout from 13 inches to 3 pounds each.

"The trout will be found in these deep holes and bends because they're looking for warmer water and places where baitfish congregate," Brodie said. "The rivers don't get churned up by the north wind like the Gulf of Mexico often does in February."

These non-stationary river trout act like a thermometer. When the thermometer goes down because of cold weather, the trout go down in the holes in the river. When the temperature starts to rise, so do the trout.

"During the afternoon, if we're having a warm day, the trout will come out of those holes and feed on shallow shoals," Brodie said. "I have caught trout on topwaters in February, but many times the fish will be in 2 to 3 feet of water on a warm afternoon."

 

Bet on the bridges for variety

The Biloxi-Ocean Springs Bridge and the Biloxi Bay railroad bridge always pay-off in catchable fish at any time of the year. In February, Brodie recommends fishing for black drum, big sheepshead that will weigh from 3 to 7 pounds each and occasional redfish. On an average February day of fishing the bridges and the rubble, Brodie usually will catch a good mess of black drum, several big sheepshead, one or two redfish and a few speckled trout. Since the black drum may weigh anywhere from 2 to 40 pounds, you may think you've hooked a Volkswagen.

"When we hook one of those big black drum, I have my client move to the front of the boat, and I try to keep the boat positioned right on top of the drum," Brodie said. "Then the angler is fighting the black drum straight up and down to keep the line from tangling in the debris on the river's bottom. I ask my clients to put a lot of pressure on those big drum, so they won't go under or around the concrete rubble and break their lines."

You'll find the redfish in the deeper water around the bridges. Brodie catches 20- to 30-inch-long redfish, fishing primarily with scaled cut mullet. But he catches both redfish and black drum while using jig and shrimp techniques and fishing vertically.

Brodie fishes with a heavy jighead like a 5/8-ounce, either in white or red colors, to get the bait straight to the bottom. Coming up from the grub, Brodie ties on 3 feet of 30-pound-test cigar fluorocarbon as leader material.

"I bait with a big live shrimp, and hook it under the nose, bringing the hook out through the top of its head but missing its brain," he said. "This way the shrimp moves up and down in a natural fashion to attract the big redfish. We often can catch three to five redfish, if we're strictly targeting those fish.

"Or when going around the bridges, I keep the motor running, motor around that old underwater structure and have my fishermen drop straight down on that structure, as soon as I locate a pile of rocks or some type of structure. I make that call on the order I'll fish in February, probably choosing the speckled trout in the coastal rivers first. The chance to catch those big trout may be the trip of a lifetime.

"However, when you take a big gamble, you've got to be prepared to lose as well as win. Or if the purpose of my trip is to get fish for a Friday-night fish fry, I'll bet on the bridges during February. They are the safer bet if you're meat fishing."

Mississippi's Gulf Coast has plenty of good-eating fish to catch throughout February, and with deer and duck seasons closed, you can get the jump on spring fishing.

 

For more information, contact Brodie at (228) 697-7707, (228) 392-7660 or captainbrodie@teambrodiecharters.com.