Mansfield Report: August 2014

Capt. Tricia
Mansfield Report: August 2014
The water is in good shape, fishing is not too shabby, and they are knocking the heck out of topwaters. Considering the oppressive heat of summer, catches are improving and, quality trout are still a reality. Yes, we still have our slow days but, expectations are high everyday before leaving the harbor. August should be another great month with the only threats being tropical weather and high boat traffic. The five fish limit obviously did not drive fisherman from the Lower Laguna!

Traditionally, August is known to bring exceptional redfish opportunities. Yes, we still have that but, every year they are becoming harder and harder to pattern, especially on the flats. It is the opinion of many long time locals that the massive amount of boats running the flats has changed their traditional movement and, I wish fisherman would be more conscious of it. Education is highly needed and hopefully this will be addressed more in the future.

On calm less-crowded mornings redfish are more predictable and smacking topwaters with reckless abandon. As wind increases later in the day, changing out topwater size and retrieve can keep you on fish longer. A few years ago I mentioned an experiment that worked after missing good blow ups as the wind increased. The fish were still coming to the surface, they just would not commit. I tied on a plain old Top Dog, a bait that is a proven game changer. The series 94MR21 is naturally "fishy" and much less obnoxious than his sister, the She Dog. This lure floats lower, especially the tail end, and I have watched it turn swirls and boils into take-downs many times over the years. Also of note, floating grass is a big issue down here and, can't say enough how crucial single hooks and weedless rigs will beef up your success rate.

Do not leave home without them!

While topwaters are exciting, soft plastics are still your most effective strike producer most of the time. The Hogie Major Minnow is a great choice when fish are finicky; they are soft-bodied with lots of action, especially when paired with the Hogie spring-lock jig. Of course, I am very loyal to K-Wigglers soft plastics but, they are not easily rigged in a weedless arrangement. Bass Assassins and Gambler Flapping Shads are naturals for easy weedless rigging.

In August we will not see much change except maybe some tropical storms, and while we can't predict everything, we do know we will have low water levels early in the month. Boat traffic might decrease when school starts; let's hope. Less water for fish to hide and fewer fishermen may improve our opportunities. I look forward to seeing schools of reds on the flats and staying there longer during the day. Sight-casting to fish in shin-deep water is one heck of a thrill and wish we all could experience it more. By all counts August could be the month we have been waiting for on the flats.

Let's all enjoy the rest of summer, be courteous on the water, and continue to respect and care for the Mother Lagoon.