Plan a Getaway

Plan a Getaway
Harbor view of the lodge.

Reasons to escape a tired old routine are as numerous as the stars that twinkle above the Laguna Madre on a clear night. Almost as plentiful as the non-stop flights of wigeon, pintail, and redhead ducks that trade across the salty backwaters at sunrise and sunset. Fishing out of Port Mansfield last fall, I was mesmerized with the incredible numbers of puddlers and divers that filled the skies during the chilly morning boat rides up to Gladys Hole.

A genuine blue norther had drained about a foot of water from the Laguna Madre the day before I arrived. If you’ve ever experienced what happens in the expansive gut that runs along Gladys’ south shoreline under these conditions, you will understand why my shotgun never left the truck the two days I was there. When the tide falls rapidly, lots of trout, big trout, settle into the safety of that mushy-bottomed swale until the water creeps back. I probably could have knocked down a limit of teal and pintail with a long-handled shovel but the chomping the trout were putting on my Corky Fat Boy and MirrOlure Top Pup simply wouldn’t allow it.

What a dilemma. Capt. Ruben Garza and Capt. Aaron Cisneros, who both run fishing and waterfowl hunts for Getaway Lodge, and know me to be a waterfowl fanatic, had been steadily sending reports of limit shoots. “You need to get down here,” resonated all too clearly. Especially since the hunting on my waterfowl lease in Calhoun County was uncharacteristically slow through the middle of last year’s first duck split.

The fish ended up winning that tug of war, assisted in great part by the dream that I will someday get that ten-pounder. And though my biggest speck through two days didn’t quite stretch the Boga beyond six pounds, I lost count of them. As for redfish…I’d have needed a calculator.

Swinging out of Getaway Lodge’s driveway for the four-hour trek back to Seadrift I vowed to return soon…and shoot some ducks.

But the chance to roll world-class shotgunning and wade fishing into a single day outdoors isn’t limited to just duck season. Situated a short drive from the Rio Grande Valley’s famed whitewing fields makes cast and blast adventures of that flavor another great reason to visit Getaway Lodge.

September and October are both prime months. Fishing heats up as the bay cools down and the doves…well, they just keep coming.

On one memorable trip, Pam and I caught a trainload of redfish with Getaway’s Capt. Paul Johnson in the morning and Ruben took us to a sunflower field in the afternoon that reminded me of Argentina – sans the grueling 20 hour plane ride. We strapped limits of plump birds as fast as we could load the guns and our dogs could pick them up.

Equal to the quality of the days on the water and in the fields is the lodge itself. Mike Sutton purchased the place when Bruce and Shirley Shuler retired and settled into the peaceful countryside up near Belton. Mike set about almost immediately to renovate and redecorate what was already a comfortable sportsman’s retreat.

Sandra Garza is the lodge GM, overseeing all the scheduling of guests and guides who take them fishing and hunting. She also manages the kitchen staff and housekeeping. Busy gal!

A lifelong angler, Sandra is as handy with a rod and reel as her fishing guide husband, Ruben. But don’t tell him I said that.

In effort to better acquaint Sandra with lodge guests and a perk for her hard work, Sutton sometimes assigns her “fishing duty.” A nice change of pace from the rigors of lodge management that is appreciated by female guests who enjoy having another woman on the boat or wading beside them.

Nothing beats a turnkey deal and that’s what we love most about Getaway. We’re there to have fun in the outdoors and relax. What’s not to like about getting off the boat and sinking into a comfortable chair in the shade, or cooling off in the pool with a cold beverage? Seems every time you turn around, Capt. Steve Ellis who doubles as fishing guide and head of hospitality, is offering hors d’oeuvres and freshening drinks.

All we ever do is rinse our tackle and wipe our guns. Guides clean and bag your catch and pretty soon the kitchen crew rings the dinner bell. If you love authentic Tex-Mex food, put in a request ahead of time for Sandra’s signature carne guisada. And don’t be bashful when she starts passing ‘round the homemade tres leches cake and key lime pie. Oh, and the ribeyes are to die for!

Get the full package – guide services with meals and lodging – or bring your own boat and book the lodge for a comfortable place to stay and enjoy great food. Either way, Mike, Sandra, and Steve will do all they can to provide a pleasant Getaway to the great South Texas outdoors.

Getaway Lodge – Port Mansfield, TX – 956-944-4000 –