Mansfield Report: June 2010

Capt. Tricia
Mansfield Report: June 2010
The long awaited topwater bite is finally here!
Hopefully, all is back to situation normal in the Lower Laguna. We received a powerful surge of springtime tide and, for now, most of the brown tide has dissipated and fishing is in high gear. Forage, gamefish and angling options are currently abundant and wide-open, except perhaps on nasty wind days.

As of this writing, trout are thick-bodied and full of roe. Redfish have started bunching up in the shallows more consistently. Most of our better trout continue to come from knee-to-thigh-deep grassbeds sprinkled with potholes. I am very partial to paddletail plastics when the fish are staged on this type of structure and especially at these depths. I am really liking the four inch Kelly Wiggler paddletail, especially in the root beer-metal flake. The silhouette of this bait is larger than most paddletails of this size and I believe this adds lots of appeal. The Brown Lure Devil Eye is still my go-to straight-tail bait when working water deeper than three feet.

Note to topwater junkies: Know when to take it off!
We have had some excellent topwater days, but soft plastics are still the most productive lures. When they're not coming up and feeding aggressively, go down and catch them. These fish are simply too good to miss.

As mentioned, best areas have been in heavier grass marked with sandy potholes. However, reds are hitting the high sand with increased regularity and we have seen quite a few upper-slot to oversized fish tear up poorly maintained tackle. Even if they are scattered, a nice walk in the park will catch them, unless careless boaters push them downmore on that later. Trout have been in most places you might expect them; everywhere from knee-deep depressions on shallower flats to deeper grassbeds, some almost too deep to wade. Spoil banks and drops near deeper water have also produced some thick and aggressive trout, but of course these open areas are very wind sensitive. As always, good bets are along water color changes and seeing active baitfish never hurts.

Not much will change in June pattern-wise, although we will soon begin to feel the heat. I usually start shallow and then walk the fish down as they bail to deeper water with the sun. On cloudy, windier days we can often stay shallow longer, but for the most part, just slide down to the color changes when you start to sweat. June will continue to produce some heavy trout, but look for those brutal redfish to become an even a surer bet up shallow. There's nothing like the pull, and a redfish crushing a topwater shin deep is about as gamey as it comes unless you are a pure trout snob. For me, and if you love fishing, you love it all.

June will bring lots of fishermen to the Lower Laguna and this also qualifies as "heat" in my book. We all just have to deal with it, but we can all help increase each other's enjoyment by practicing good etiquette.

-It is NOT OK to burn up and torpedo schools of redfish and there are actually new laws on the books about doing so.

-It is NOT OK to run in front of waders, drift through them, or put other waders out in front of people already on a line.

-It is NOT OK when you see people wading, poling or drifting up shallow, to burn the whole area up looking for redfish and ruin it for everybody.

-It is NOT OK to go burn somebody up just because they are on fish and you are not.

-These "NOT OK" practices teach others that retaliation is a proper response and the cycle simply continues. An "eye for an eye" doesn't work on the water.

It IS OK, though, to see what others are doing and then attempting to duplicate, just make sure you do it at a respectful distance. Look at the pattern those bowed-up rods are on instead of the spot, and simply target a similar area. And, it is ALWAYS OK to be nice and do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Crowded water can still work for all of us if we remember the real reason we go fishing in the first place.

Right now all signs point to a great late spring and early summer season. However, you can't catch them if you don't go. Let's be thankful and all try to keep only what we need and leave the rest. We'll probably want to do this again!