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Chris Martin

Capt. Chris Martin proudly owns and operates Bay Flats Lodge in Seadrift, TX, overlooking San Antonio Bay. Chris has been fishing Texas Gulf Coast waters, from the Galveston Bay system to the San Antonio Bay system, since he was eight years old.

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March 22, 2012

"APRIL EXPLORATIONS"

by

Captain Chris Martin

Recreational fishing on our Gulf coast is ever-changing, and the popularity of the sport continues to grow faster than that of collegiate-level lacrosse in today's America. Youth and elderly, amateurs and experts, genuine Texans, and other folks from all parts of the globe have recently showed an increased interest in a chance at learning and discovering all that our coastal regions have to offer in the way of Texas saltwater angling. And one of the more notable groups of people to venture into this realm lately has been the women. We've had the pleasure of hosting many women's groups over the course of the past few years that have been true producers when it comes to photo time at the end of the day. Now then, I know there are a lot of us guys out there that'll swear that part of the pleasure that we experience from being out on the water while fishing comes from the fact we have been successful at freeing ourselves from the confines of female control. But I'm here to tell you that I can honestly say to a lot of men out there that they can only hope to someday become as good a coastal angler as that of some of these women have proven to me to be. A lot of these ladies simply have it going on when it comes to fishing. They show up ready to fish, and they show our guides the true meaning of what it sometimes takes in order to make a name for themselves as a minority in an otherwise male-dominated sport. If you happen to find yourself fortunate enough to be wading alongside one of these talented ladies next time you're out tossing one of your favorite plugs, you may wish to consider giving things your best effort, as in failing to do so might just result in her embarrassing you at the cleaning table at the end of the day.

Over the years, many of you may have heard of the term "prospecting". Definitions of the term include the infamous California gold rush of 1848. The dictionary defines it as a meaning to explore an area, especially for mineral deposits; or to inspect (a region) for mineral deposits. I, too, have adopted a similar meaning for the word "prospecting", but my definition denotes a somewhat different indication. While it's true that I do tend to explore and inspect a lot of different spots and areas on a regular basis, I'm not looking for silver and gold in the mineral sense - my quest is simply the constant pursuit of silver-backed speckled trout and gold-shouldered redfish.

Now then, more times than not, our Gulf winds dictate how we're going operate our fishing activities on any given day down here along the coast. That's why I regularly speak to you about fishing the conditions, and not simply fishing your favorite spots. I prospect new locations in each different wind condition, and what I've learned from doing so allows me to share the following analogy with you...Go to your kitchen pantry, open the door, and make mental note of the numerous and many different varieties of food groups. Now imagine each of the boxes and cans as being different varieties of wind conditions (instead of food groups). For example, while taking inventory of the pantry, you happen to note there are four boxes of SSE wind at 5-mph, but only one box of NW wind at 25-mph. If, however, while on your next fishing trip, you find that you happen to be facing a NW wind at 25-mph, you only have one box to choose from in a pantry that contains many different choices. This particular scenario puts a lot of us in a sudden state of distress as to us knowing where to go from there, and many of us tend to begin to second-guise other available options - only due to the fact that we have not properly prospected other areas or regions. Another common example is that a lot of us often experience anxiety in the fact that we've been waiting all week to go fishing. We finally make our way down to the coastal town that we'll be fishing out of only to find that heavy winds have the tops of the palm trees bent over in the pre-dawn hours after we've awaken from a short night's sleep. We immediately think to ourselves that there's a strong possibility that our favorite fishing spot may be blown-out. However, we seem to remember our favorite spot is sufficiently protected from a wind coming from this direction, so we pack up our buddies and their gear and make our way across the bay, only to discover upon arrival at our favorite spot that another early-riser beat us there, or that someone pitched a tent overnight in order to beat everyone there. There goes your spot - enough said? This is why I always prospect, remembering to never limit my opportunities based solely upon those areas which are most familiar to me. I always make it a practice to build wind conditions into many different equations and scenarios.

In closing, and now that the water is getting warm enough to wet-wade without the aid of waders, I wish to remind everyone not to get too comfortable with the fantastic Spring weather! Yes, it feels good not to be under the confines of several layers of clothes, but this time of year can present drawbacks as well. Remember to protect your arms and legs with long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and protect your exposed skin with an ample of amount of sunscreen during the day. You'll be glad you did! Remember to practice CPR, "Catch, Photo, and Release", whenever possible on trophy Trout and Reds...Guide Chris Martin, Port O'Connor/Seadrift region. www.BayFlatsLodge.com

1-888-677-4868

PHOTO: Greg P. and guests enjoyed drift fishing with live shrimp - "Just the night before winds were gusting 50 mph and turned San Antonio Bay upside down"...You never know, unless you go! Captain TJ Christensen did an excellent job putting them on the fish.

FREE Tee Shirt "That's How We Roll" for the BEST analogy related to this article.

March 05, 2012

"These Changing Times"

by Captain Chris Martin

"These Changing Times"

I think March might just top the charts as being one of the more challenging fishing months of the year. It's a time when we seem to experience the most amount of change at any one given time with regards to the fishing patterns and our fishing situations. Last week was a prime example. The first day of the week was mostly cloudy with temperatures ranging from an overnight low of 40-degrees to a daytime high of 66-degrees. After that, the weather went downhill for the next few days. Periods of brief and intermittent rain actually resulted on day 3 and day 4 with temperatures that approached the 80-degree mark, and the wind couldn't make-up its mind as to whether it wanted to blow out of the South, out of the North, or whether it wanted to blow at all on those two days. By the time day 5 rolled around, the wind had died completely and the fog had rolled in, leaving things warm and balmy most all of the day. Then, day 6 started out calm and 59-degrees. The sun was bright and the daytime temperature sailed into the low 80's. The wind went from being absolutely nothing to that of being NNE at 10 mph before sunset. And by the time we were closing out the week on day 7, we awoke to a morning temperature that had now dropped back down into the 40's. The day was bright and sunny, but the daytime high only reached into the 60's. A strong North wind was blowing at 12-18 mph, with gusts nearing 25 mph. Wow, what a week that was. In that one week we came full-circle with regards to daily temperatures – we started, and ended, the week with lows in the 40's and highs in the 60's, but witnessed the mercury soaring in excess of 80-degrees during mid-week. We also were dealt winds from almost every direction imaginable, and with speeds averaging from absolutely nothing to that of strong gusts. We endured precipitation and fog near mid-week and adjusted accordingly to alternating levels of cloud cover the remainder of the week. Along with all these interchanging conditions are the increasing tides that are provided for us at this time of the year, and it's these frequent, sometimes daily, alterations that help me and other coastal anglers recognize March as being possibly one of the most difficult months. Water temperatures will soon start to slowly warm with the passing of each day. And in the absence of winter's cold-water conditions, trout and redfish will soon become more than active and aggressive as they forage for their springtime food supply. So, with all these different changes taking place (basically) at the same time, you may be asking yourself, "How am I supposed to be able to effectively locate a bite pattern?" Well, it can sometimes truly be a contest between you, the elements, and the fish!
In attempting to gain the upper hand in these March situations, one thing that is of utmost importance is that you not limit the area(s) in which you fish to those which have become most familiar to you. Something that has paid great dividends for me in the past is my pursuit and investigation of new wading spots during this time of the year – areas that may have been inaccessible over the course of the past few months due to extreme low-tide conditions. Adding to this, it's at this time that I'll begin looking to areas of mud, grass, shell, and even sandy bottom structure in shallower water, as the air and water temperatures will continue to rise and the bite will begin to increase in skinny water. Now then, because the fish do start to become more active during March in order to fulfill their appetites, I like to make it a general practice to key-in on the actual location of active bait fish whenever scouting some of my more favorite and productive fishing spots. And realizing that there are many changes in tides and winds, I know that the bay waters often become disturbed to the point of being severely discolored. Don't let that simple fact discourage you from fishing any one particular area. Learn to fish the signs and conditions, and not the spot. If you happen upon jumping baitfish in "chocolate milk" water, get out of the boat and throw a top water or plastic bait of your choice – especially if there's bait that's being driven against the windward shoreline. Most of my best results in these situations have come from my utilization of dark-colored baits, and have yielded me and my parties with quite a few handsome catches when we thought all else had been lost due to the conditions. In other words, never give up on the situation at hand during March…just keep grinding!
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, Port O'Connor/Seadrift region. www.BayFlatsLodge.com 1-888-677-4868
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