Spring has almost arrived, and then it slips away into the foggy abyss. That’s often the feeling for February in Galveston. Beautiful spring days often only hang around for a short time, or even just a couple of hours, then the fog rolls back in covering the island in an eerie mist. The end of winter and beginning of spring often sway back and forth as the sea surface temperature is slower to change than that of the surrounding coastal plains. This can be a very frustrating time of year for fishers and downright maddening if you’re not able to break away when the weather clears. But for those willing to seize the opportunity and go fishing, there’s often some incredible experiences awaiting the eager fishermen. But only if you know where to look, or how to find it.
During this trying time of year, it really helps to have a game plan to make the best of every fishing opportunity. One of the most productive areas to get out for a fishing trip is at the Galveston jetties, situated conveniently between the Gulf of Mexico and Galveston Bay. This extensive artificial reef system provides a safe passage for shipping to the region and fantastic fishing opportunities to start the year. Specifically for redfish and sheepshead, both hard fighting and delicious fish to catch in Galveston.
Traditionally, both of these fish can be caught in the same areas, on the same baits, and rigged the same way year after year as the weather aligns to go and catch them. A light (1/16 – ½ oz) weight with a 12-18 inch monofilament or fluorocarbon (12-20 lb) leader and a live shrimp typically does the trick. Simple and easy to remember. Gently letting this setup drift in the current along the rocks is the ticket to a great fishing experience. If the tide or current isn’t cooperating, you can just drop the same setup straight under the boat and the fish can find the bait for themselves. Some of the most memorable experiences are truly that simple, it does help that these fish are often just as hungry for a free meal as you are to catch them.
Sheepshead are moving in and gathering around the jetties for an annual spawning event while redfish are certain that the jetty rocks provide a more consistent diet than the cold and shallow bay may hold. That doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of excellent days of fishing this time of year in Galveston Bay along some deeper reefs and cuts… but if I’m looking for a memorable experience, it typically not one of plenty of fishing for just a little catching.
Don’t be afraid to book a fishing charter to the jetties this time of year either, it’s much easier to step off the boat at the end of the trip and enjoy the rest of your day on Galveston Island than washing the boat and finding about the winter time gremlins that somehow manage to emerge from a boat simply sitting idle for a few months.