I believe the question was, where might I rather be than running around on small, remote lakes near home? Pike are lots of fun, but so are these acrobats. Snook and/or tarpon fishing somewhere along the rim of the Gulf of Mexico might, potentially, be my first answer. In years past I spent many a pre-dawn moment stalking the banks of canals lined with mangrove roots, public piers, and beaches from Sanibel Island on the Gulf side around to Jupiter on the Atlantic side, in search of shallow, spooky snook like this one.
Chasing Arkansas stripers in lakes like Norfork and Ouachita has occupied a lot of my time between February and April in years past, too. "Waking" big minnowbaits, like the magnum Cotton Cordell Red Fin, on the surface is especially intriguing — if you like sudden explosions reminiscent of depth charges going off next to the boat.
Though it might be great anytime between December and May, my best trips for Niagara River steelhead have generally taken place in February. This is Captain Frank Campbell of the Niagara Region Charter Service, hoisting a pretty typical fish for this time of year. The drain plug for all the Great Lakes is a deep, powerful, and exciting fishery for all kinds of fish
Reminiscing about past Februaries is more fun than I thought. Does any of this beat chasing big pike through the ice? Hmmm. Depends how big. But this is just the beginning. Think I'll pick up where I left off tomorrow. Unless I decide to write about pike. In which case I'll pick up on this again in a few days.