Mansfield Report: May 2024

Mansfield Report: May 2024
Brady Walker scored big on this 32-inch snook that weighed an honest 11-pounds – CPR!

Greetings from Port Mansfield! What an epic trophy trout season we’ve had. One of the best for consistently being able to put folks on big trout. Most of my trips this season resulted in personal bests (PBs) for some and we certainly had some missed opportunities. You simply cannot land every blow up, hookup, or swipe that presents itself. Maybe this is part of what keeps anglers casting.

Highlights this season were several trout over nine pounds, a few more in the 8-pound class, along with multiple 5- to 7-pounders. This season was also special to me as I now have a new PB of my own. I am proud to claim a trout weighing more than 11 pounds. This fish was a little over 31 inches with a very robust body, and it’s worth noting that it was not even during the beginning of the spawning period. I was super stoked, especially because she came on a Mansfield Knocker. Had this fish been caught around the full moon in March she might have weighed 12 pounds or more.

If you are thinking about next year already, so am I because each year moving forward has potential to produce the next new state record trout. If you have hunted trophy trout with me you know I can be stubborn when it comes to leaving areas, but my diligence has paid some handsome rewards thus far and I’m planning to stick to it and hope you might decide to join me.

As all should be aware by now, our new trout regulations became effective March 26 and I am very hopeful this will lay the foundation for establishing an epic fishery. All our trout 20-30 inches are protected until September 1, at which time anglers may only keep one fish twenty-eight or longer with a trophy tag. This mirrors the redfish tag policy that has been in place for years. Kudos to anglers across the state and to Texas Parks and Wildlife for taking appropriate action on this issue.

Now back to fishing; our water levels have risen and we have been dealing with high winds as expected this time of year. I am still working in some areas for big trout, while also fishing back lakes for tailing reds, which incidentally can also present shots at big trout mingling with redfish in the recently flooded backcountry.

Another early summer pattern is fishing high on the sand where you can find both pods of reds and occasional “wolfpacks” of big trout. I am also happy to report that we have been picking up a few flounder lately.

Topwaters have been getting the most time by far on my G2 Classic Green Rod. I have been having very consistent results with the floaters, and when I cannot talk them into taking one, my trusty G2 Spinning Rod rests in the holster of my wade belt with a KWigglers soft plastic at the ready. Depending the structure and depth being fished and/or the attitude the fish display, that soft plastic bait could be anything from a 4-inch paddletail to any of the full or junior-size Ball Tails, Willow Tail, or Wig-A Lo.

I’ve heard a lot of chatter over the years about topwater colors and whether or not the color of the top (dorsal) side truly matters to the fish. Well, I have put some thought into that subject and at first I would probably have said the fish are typically seeing it from underneath, so the belly is what they’re focusing upon, and therefore more important than the topside coloration. Check out the video discussion via the attached QR Code to learn my current opinion on this topic. You might be surprised.

I expect boat traffic will increase significantly all across our bay system in coming weeks, which means we should all be as courteous to our fellow anglers as possible at all times. Remember to go upwind of waders and give wide birth to other boats and anglers. This alone will help dramatically. Additionally, tournament season is here with one of the biggest on the Texas Coast – that being the Shallow Sport Boat Owners Tournament scheduled for May 10– 12 at South Padre Island. This is not just a fishing tournament but an event many wait for all year. We are anticipating more than 1200 anglers and Shallow Sport will be giving away a 24-foot Classic. Check their website for more details. Hope to see you there. I’m sure it will be an exciting time!

Remember, fresh is better than frozen.