by Captain Chris Martin
"February Trout Intel"
February 7, 2012
February is a month when I key in on mud and grass in protected coves, area drains, small bayous, and narrow channels at the point at which they lead out of the back lakes that are situated up and down Matagorda Island adjacent to San Antonio Bay. And it's in these areas that I'll continue to work my artificial baits slower and slower as the month progresses, hoping all the while to hook a couple of really big wintertime trout. Now then, in order for me to be able to catch big trout, I must first target big trout. In targeting these big gals over my career, there have been a few different types of baits that I have liked using on a regular basis. One type is what I refer to as the slow-sinkers. These are the ones like the soft-plastic Corky, the Corky Fat Boy, and the Corky Devil, all of which sink slowly toward the mud and grass until messaged to return toward the surface via a smooth, minimal motion at the end of my rod tip. Another type of artificial bait I've used with great results on trips accompanied by low tides and cold weather are the many different makes and models of suspending lures. These are the ones that some folks refer to as twitch-baits and I've thrown a lot of them over the years, but some of the more popular ones today are ones like the Catch 5, the Series III Catch 2000, and the 27MR MirrOdine. Depending on the brand and model, these lures will automatically position themselves in the water anywhere from 6-inches to maybe a foot (or even two feet) below the surface. They can generally be tossed-out and then retrieved at a steady pace with an occasional slight twitch from the end of your rod tip throughout the course of the retrieval pattern. They're nothing short of fun and can be downright effective at catching big cold water trout and red fish when worked properly amongst the right conditions. Top waters will also produce, and my personal favorites have recently become the new GunDog series of top water baits that are now being manufactured by Texas Tackle Factory (TTF). One reason I like these new top waters is because it seems as though they are quite easy to toss and to retrieve in high-wind conditions that we're so often faced with during this time of the year. These new GunDog baits have found a permanent home in my tackle box, as they have certainly yielded full stringers for me in recent months while fishing in many different situations and conditions. However, trying to be consistent in which lure you use can most often be the key thing to remember when selecting your lure for the day. Training yourself to pick the one lure that you have the utmost confidence in, regardless of the lure type, and then sticking with that same lure throughout the course of the entire day will minimize your number of lure changes, and consequently maximize the comfort level you have with the bait you selected, especially when you're almost certain there's big fish in the area. Numerous and massive strikes in February may become few-and-far-between, so don't get frustrated when the action's slow. Just keep grinding, and remember that good things always seem to come to those who wade or drift slowly!
If you prefer hunting your big trout this month using soft plastics (tails), then you might think seriously about lightening your overall presentation. Cold weather trout and red fish tend to move rather slowly during this time of the year, and because of this I often prefer using a 1/16-ounce lead-head with my plastics instead the 1/8-ounce that I would otherwise throw. It's during this time of the year that I also like to reduce the weight and size of the line on my reel, normally downsizing to nothing larger than 12-lb. line, with 10-lb. being my personal preference. I know using smaller line may sound silly to some, but I find that doing so truly enhances the feel of the bite at a time when bites are often hardly felt at all, and that it really makes for more of a challenge once I've hooked into a big fighter. In maximizing your chances even further this month, learn to focus on the size and amount of baitfish in the general area rather than worrying yourself about the color of the water, as water color does not play as big a role in the day's outcome as does the actual presence of natural bait. Tides and water levels are also important items to pay attention to when trying to decide where you might be searching for big fish this month. If the tides are high, I'll often look for trout in some of the more remote areas along windward shorelines of back lakes. And when the water levels slack-off a bit, I begin positioning myself out in front of area drains leading out the back lakes.
In closing this edition, I'd wish to remind you of the 2012 WINTER FISHING SPECIAL going on at Bay Flats Lodge during February and March. It's a time when you and your guests can fish each day of the week at tremendously discounted rates. Additionally, Texas Tackle Factory (TTF) has teamed with Bay Flats Lodge (BFL) to bring you the BFL & TTF FEBRUARY / MARCH BIG TROUT CONTEST, where catching the biggest trout (while fishing with BFL during the months of Feb. and Mar.) will win you and three of your guests 2-nights of lodging and meals, and 2-days of guided fishing (a $2600.00 value). But that's not all, if the winning trout is landing using a TTF lure, the winning angler will also receive a $200.00 gift certificate to shop the TTF web store, a quantity of 36 TTF Gun Dog Top waters (1 of each color - Flush, Flush Jr., Dummy, Little Dummy), 2 Bags of each color KFM Jive 45 Soft Plastic Baits, and 2 Bags of each color of the Gun Dog Shock collar. Furthermore, TTF is also sponsoring various daily prizes (too numerous to list here) for the biggest trout of each day, so please phone or email me to learn more about these special BFL events. Also, keep in mind that you can always stay informed as to the latest that Bay Flats Lodge has to offer by simply signing-up on the website to receive your daily newsletter. Remember to practice CPR, "Catch, Photo, and Release", whenever possible on trophy Trout and Reds...Guide Chris Martin, 1-888-677-4868
Bay Flats Lodge on San Antonio Bay www.BayFlatsLodge.com