Mansfield Report: July 2014

Capt. Tricia
Mansfield Report: July 2014
Louisiana native and fishing guide, Todd Black. First visit to Port Mansfield. Got what he came here for!
I realize my report last month appeared rather dreary; it is not my nature to spin fairytales of great fishing when it isn't happening. I can only hope my honesty was appreciated.

I mentioned that we needed a break from the relentless wind to allow access and opportunity to work and pattern areas that had been off-limits for such a long time. We finally got that break and I am happy to say things are looking a lot better down here in paradise.

Within days of that report, the gusts of 30+ from north and then south seemed to die to zero overnight and temperatures rose enough to finally shuck the waders. The fishing improved almost immediately. Hallelujah!

The opportunity to work deeper grassbeds that had been virtually inaccessible for months to wade fisherman paid off with plenty of trout and redfish action. Trout size is still disappointingly small, the majority have been 13-14 inches, keepers are averaging 16-19, and only a handful are running 20 and above. Several trophy class trout have been in the mix while concentrating on small points and structure in traditionally rich areas of spoil banks, shorelines, and sightcasting on the skinny sand. This is certainly welcome, and some faith is renewed as regards this fishery. But with that said; I am not convinced it is as healthy as it should be, even if suddenly better than expected!

When this story hits the newsstand the days of heavyweight trout will be pretty much behind us for the rest of summer, the stresses of spawning definitely takes a toll, weight-wise. None-the-less, a trophy is a trophy and we will handle and release each one with utmost care.

During July the traditional summertime patterns will be running at full tilt and getting bites in an array of areas should take our minds off the fatter fish of spring. Redfish should be roaming the flats in larger schools, and when located, can offer every type of saltwater angler loads of fun. Remember to start in the refreshing cool shallows early, and then relocating steadily deeper as the thermometer rises.

Lure choices will be many but, to be honest, my arsenal does not change all that much heading into summer. I will be pulling out my trusty 1/8 and 1/4 ounce weedless gold spoons and adding them to the lure boxes almost daily; it seems the reds just love them that much.

Downsizing topwaters in summer is also recommended, and there is something very special about the Top Dog Jr. in the green/chrome and the tried and true bone/silver Super Spook Jr. Another go-to in calmer conditions is Heddon's One-Knocker in the Okie shad and bone colors. During breezier times, such as when the wind kicks up a bit in the afternoon, full size Skitter Walks green/chrome (again) and the woodpecker (red head/white body) are usually very effective for both trout and redfish.

You know the floating grass will continue to be an issue through summer as it is already here and this calls for swapping treble hooks for singles. Lots of anglers get the idea that this applies only to topwater baits but, trust me, they are equally effective on your suspending baits as well. That grass you see on the surface is only the tip of the iceberg, if you know what I mean.

Another good idea is to lay in a supply of weedless-style hooks for your soft plastics if you do not have some. There is nothing more frustrating than having your jighead clog with grass after only a few turns of the reel handle when you're on a hot bite.

The Texas coast is a beautiful and unique gift that deserves our respect and dedicated effort to keep it that way, for now, and always. The next few months we will see many enjoying the beauty, and the bounty, as it should be. Please, let's all be mindful of the resource, and courteous to others on the water. As Billy Sandifer says, "If we don't leave any, there won't be any."