Mansfield Report: November 2021

Mansfield Report: November 2021

Kyra Hudson with a very nice trout during the TWA Fish Camp.

Greetings from Port Mansfield! I am glad fall has arrived, glad for the cooler weather and excellent redfish opportunity that comes with it. I am glad for reduced boat traffic and fishing pressure on the fragile LLM. I’m glad that TPWD enacted emergency trout regulations, although I would have liked to seen more. I am glad that major tournaments this past summer like the Shallow Sport Owners removed speckled trout from their program.

On the other hand I am saddened that snook season is drawing to a close. I would have never dreamed we’d catch so many after the freeze. I am also sad (more concerned actually) what to expect for big trout season that is fast approaching. I will never forget what I witnessed following the freeze. You cannot remove thousands of large female trout from the LLM and not see and feel the void.

There are distinct differences in fishing guides. There are some that bet on who will be first back at the dock with a limit. Others work hard all day to fill the box with all that the law allows. Some can’t wait to arrange the catch in neat rows across the bow for posting on social media. I understand all of it. I too made stringer-shots back in the day, but those days are long gone. My guiding journey has led me to a place I would have never guessed, a complete paradigm shift that I call “the evolution of the angler.”

As I guide more and spend more days on the water, I rarely find myself just fishing for “fish.” What does that mean? I would say that 95% of the time when I fish with clients they will be set up and focused for a fish of a lifetime. The other 5% of my time consists of demos, videos, and media related content for KWigglers YouTube channel, along with my unwavering commitment to my sponsors.

Capt. Ernest and I recently conducted a three-day women-only fish camp (Texas Women Anglers) where we taught five women anglers everything we could about fishing and all that comes with it. The first day was in the classroom; the science behind fishing, knot tying, gear inspection and maintenance, lure selection and, most importantly, stewardship of the resource. On day two we took the classroom to the water; safe boat operation, effective wading techniques, hook removal, fish cleaning, etc. The women gained a general understanding on the “how” and “what” to do while on the water, and we caught a lot of fish, mostly reds. Deep down though I knew we could do better.

That evening over a fine meal we studied the winds, tides, and lunar phase for our third day. I call it my fishing equation. I made the suggestion, based on the information at hand, “What say we try for something epic tomorrow?” I reminded them we could repeat today’s redfish action, but let’s consider something bigger. I knew that based on conditions where we could go to set us up for just that. All the women grinned from ear to ear and said – “Let’s do it!” It is my belief they were eager for this “shift from a likely outcome” because of the classroom presentation and our message throughout the course.

We set out bright and early with one of the women at the helm of my 24’ Shallow Sport Classic powered by my 300hp Mercury ProXS. They hit the water and set up perfectly, all in a straight wading line, all equally spaced. They kept looking up at the moon and you could tell they were eagerly awaiting its drop to the horizon. As it did one of the women hooked up. Her rod bowed deeply and I recognized the tell-tale whitewater headshake we all hope to see. A 27-plus trout came to hand. That magnificent fish was tagged for Harte Research Institute and released after a quick photo session. What a treat it was. Stay tuned to the KWigglers YouTube channel for the full video coming soon.

Moving into fall I will stay in the shallow stuff. Bait will be super active and redfish will keep us busy. I’m hoping we will also pull some good trout from those redfish schools. When I slide off the boat each morning I will have a topwater on one FTU GT-II Green Rod and a KWigglers soft plastic on the other, each paired with Shimano reels.

Previously Hooked Redfish Eats Again