Mansfield Report: August 2013

Capt. Tricia
Mansfield Report: August 2013
Low wind and cool morning temperatures have been giving us some exceptional trout fishing opportunity.
Another dazzling month has passed and I am happy to report summer fishing has been good to outstanding, and no one has been disappointed with the allure of the Laguna.  If you have never been here or have always been intrigued, this is the season to do me, it will be love at first sight.  The water is pristine and the scenery breathtaking, so even if you have a slow fishing day, who cares?  Don't will catch fish and, with a little luck, some very good ones.

Redfish have traditionally commanded the local show in August, yet at this time seem to be rather late showing in the numbers we expect.  Quality trout have been the headliner!  Low wind and cool mornings have been exceptional on the Lower Laguna, especially on less-crowded weekdays.  Soft plastics and smaller surface plugs have pulled in plenty of small fish but full-size topwaters and suspending baits have been very effective when the time is right.  When it is, large mullet and assorted smaller finfish show themselves escaping and darting, we then read the signs and adjust accordingly.  Top Dogs, Skittter Walks, MirrOlure Series III 94MR21 and Corkys can turn boils and swirls into take downs, and we have had a fair number of 27’s and 28's fooled this way. We do not ever want to emphasize lure selection over angling skill, but over time we have found even the tiniest of changes can make a huge difference.

I have to mention sharks. We have grown to expect a few encounters this time of year, even a few getting aggressive toward stringers, but this year they are in some areas they have not frequented in the past, and more of them.  They can certainly cause apprehension and sometimes stop the bite, and I personally would like to understand why we are seeing more and more each year.  Needless to say catch and release seems an attractive option, along with 25’ stringers on a quick-release snap.

Redfish have been something of a mystery to me. Tough to pattern lately; hopefully that will change as July rolls into August. Super-skinny sand near sloughs, spoils and eastside sand in the mornings, and then deeper grassbeds as the day progresses, has been the most consistent game plan.  Running the flats on the eastside grass-sand transition has basically been devoid of redfish most days, and one has to wonder if the great number of boats zigzagging barely eight inches above the grass has pushed them all off for everyone.

While on this subject I can’t help but mention the West Bank, aka King Ranch Shoreline.  The almost unbelievable number of boats drawn to enjoy the bounty of the Lower Laguna, some coming through the Land Cut from Corpus Christi, could do all anglers a favor by showing a bit more courtesy. Please try stay at least two to three hundred yards from the shoreline while running to your destination, and then slowly idle in to wading depth. This one simple act will give hundreds of anglers much improved opportunity compared to roaring along the shoreline. The west shoreline from the Land Cut to Port Mansfield is eighteen miles, and just a few of the many dozens of boats using it on any given weekend morning can absolutely ruin one of the most prolific fishing areas on the Texas Coast.

August should bring some changes, although maybe subtly, condition-wise. We do know the tides will be super-low early in the month and then gradually increasing as it comes to an end; unless of course a significant tropical weather event comes our way.  Boat traffic should lessen somewhat as school re-opens. Fewer boats and less traffic, along with shrinking playing field as the tides recede, could improve our odds for memorable catches significantly.  Hopefully large schools of reds will return to the flats and remain there a little longer.  Early morning shin-deep wades with exploding topwaters!  I'm excited, you should be too; and I cannot think of a prettier place to do it.

Tricia’s Tidbits:
▪ Lots of hot jellyfish; wear long pants.
▪ Single hooks on topwaters; floating grass will remain an issue until fall.
▪ ICAST was held July 9-12 in Las Vegas; keep a lookout for exciting new products.
▪ Rule of Thumb for CCA STAR trout anglers; during midsummer our trout are lean, a 27-incher might make six pounds, 28-inchers run six to seven, and so forth. Please carry a digital scale and practice Catch-Photo-Release if it will not make the leaderboard.