April 9, 2015
By Captain Chris Martin
Gone are the days when there was but one major manufacturer for most all outdoor equipment. In recent years, manufacturers have learned the significance associated with them being able focus on outdoor sports and hobbies individually versus attempting to address the entire array of outdoor sports as a whole. In today’s world, downhill skiers require the absolute latest in the way of computer-designed skis and binding’s, and hunting and camping enthusiasts demand tent fabrics and technologies comparable to those one might expect to find designed to withstand the environmental hardships most often only experienced by mountaineers attempting to climb once in a lifetime challenges such as Mount Everest or K2. Today’s outdoorsmen insist upon the very best equipment available, and that holds especially true for those who happen to enjoy coastal saltwater fishing as their favorite pastime.
The fishing tackle industry is no newcomer to the realization that anglers can often be some of the biggest suckers on the planet when it comes to wanting one of the latest and greatest fishing lures. Freshwater tackle makers learned early on that they could make a drastic impact upon the market simply by taking a longtime producing lure and changing something about that lure in the slightest fashion, and then place it back on the store shelf with a new “catch phrase” name assigned to it. It’s important to make note of such freshwater tackle follies, because it just so happens that more than just a handful of yesterday’s and today’s saltwater artificial baits commonly originated directly from the freshwater fishing world, especially from the bass fishing arena. Over the course of the past forty to fifty years, the evolution of saltwater artificial baits has truly been a sight to see, especially for someone who had little knowledge of artificial baits to begin with. But for those “old salts” that have spent a lifetime chunking plugs instead of live bait, life has really changed a lot over time.
In the years following the end of World War II, America’s populations began spreading out to where the jobs were at the time, and a lot of those places included locations sustained by the petroleum, gas, and other such related industries. For our particular state of Texas, many of the major oil and chemical companies at the time constructed oil and gas refineries and chemical plants that they strategically placed right along two the largest coastal arteries of the state, Houston and Galveston. All of these refineries and plants required workers, and all of these workers had to do something in the form of entertainment and as a hobby. So, a lot of the coastal population in that general area began to fish what we commonly refer to as the Galveston Bay complex.
That’s not to say that these folks had never fished before moving to the Texas coast. On the contrary, many of them had spent a good amount of time fishing for freshwater fish in lakes all across the country, and brought with them a good amount of the “hardware” that had previously proved to be productive for them. Now then, I’m generalizing quite a bit here, but that’s exactly how many of the artificial baits known to coastal anglers over the past few generations have found their way into to saltwater market. A lot of lure companies, some of which were nothing more than just mom and pop operations at the time, took existing freshwater lure designs and changed a feature or two about the lure and then placed their own name on it and sold it as a saltwater bait. A lot of such companies have come and gone over the years, and many of them were really successful in marketing and selling their own saltwater versions of different types of plastic tails, hard crank baits, and even the ever-popular top water jerk baits.
There are any of a number of different styles of baits available to coastal saltwater anglers via today’s current market, with new competitors forging the horizon all the time. There are some really crazy lures out there that some one person, somewhere, will absolutely swear to us produces fish for them on a regular basis. And with social media being what it is today, all it normally takes is for just one person to catch just one nice trout on the “new” bait before it becomes an overnight success, regardless as to how long it may, or may not, remain at the top of the charts.
Personally, I’m a true believer in confidence-fishing, so you are more than welcome to call me “old school” if you will, but I prefer sticking to what has worked for me since the beginning. Some of my favorite lures today include some of those that are no longer manufactured and that can only be found elsewhere, but I’ve kept a good amount of these lures over the years and continue to hold them close to my heart because I have confidence in knowing they will still catch fish for me tomorrow. They’re not new, and I’m not saying they’re any that much better than any other lure. I simply believe in them based upon the experiences I’ve had with them producing some pretty impressive fish me in the past. Remember to practice CPR, “Catch, Photo, and Release”, whenever possible on trophy Trout and Reds…Guide Chris Martin, Port O’Connor/Seadrift region.