Mansfield Report: June 2015

Capt. Tricia
Mansfield Report: June 2015
The Hind family prevailed again this year!
Fishing around Port Mansfield so far this spring has been very good overall, even when Mother Nature threw some interesting weather challenges for us to deal with. We often did very well through the 25- and 30 mph blows but, when afternoon gusts push above 45 it's just not as much fun and can be downright dangerous. Yet, for those determined to give it a shot we were rewarded with some good catches in blustery conditions.

Water levels rose significantly in late April and with that many "new" areas came into play. Naturally we had to rethink fishing plans during high winds, mostly fishing where we could instead of where we should. Thankfully we usually managed to locate green streaks in leeward shallows and on the worst days these would often hold until at least midday. In these "new" areas, color changes with flipping bait and several pelicans working signaled where you wanted to start.

Water conditions at this writing are good except for a few areas on the King Ranch shoreline and into Gladys Hole during and after northers. Also worth noting, the springtime bloom of fluorescent green Easter basket grass (OK its real name is filamentous algae) is probably the worst in recent memory on the west side of the bay. I expect the clarity up north will improve with fewer north wind events in June but the nasty "Easter grass" will most likely linger a bit longer.

The topwater bite is still strong. Full-size Rapala Skitter Walks and Heddon One Knockers are still my go-to in most conditions. When the wind really gets cranking, pulling out the noisier MirrOlure She Dog can keep you in the surface game. A good presentation is usually more important than color pattern but a darker plug in dark water and lighter patterns in clearer seems to work for me. I favor color patterns such as Okie shad, bone-silver, and chrome-green in green and clearer water and solid colors like plain old bone or black in dark or murky. The same concept applies in bright sun versus overcast skies. I generally select my soft plastic baits via the same criteria.

I am often asked which brands and styles of soft plastics I prefer. First let me say that I prefer paddle-tails over rat-tails. As for brand, I can truthfully say that most often you will probably see me throwing K-Wiggler paddle tails for their durability and tail-thumping action. Saying that, Norton's Sand Shad and Bull Minnow along with Down South Lures are certainly also part of my arsenal. There is no denying the tail action each of these lures exhibit is outstanding, and can trick fish even during a finicky bite.

My fishing program and outlook will take on a new face this month as daily trophy seeking gives way to a fun day, focused more on simply catching fish. There's still great opportunity to catch magnum trout in June, 28- to 30 inches and maybe longer, but with spawning well into its second month the daily expectation of heavy-nines and tens can only diminish. So while June is still a great month for hardcores and tourney types it is also a great time for less serious stuff. School trout up to three and maybe four pounds should feed voraciously on deeper grass and along spoil edges and that's always a ton of fun. For those still locked in trophy mode, great places to look are shallow, windward shorelines, remote backwaters, and also along spoil banks that drop quickly to deep water. Another option is stalking the flats and sight-casting to them midday on shallow sand with sketchy grass patches.

June's just a great month all the way around. Great for waders, drifters, polers, and even anchored-boat anglers. Everything the Lower Laguna is famous for should be in play... ankle deep to armpits. Wind will continue to be an issue but hopefully not as bad as springtime. We actually need some wind and a little chop to enhance feeding periods. A good plan is an early start, up shallow, and eliminating water going deeper until you find them. A strong south wind can mess things up as it discolors the water rather quickly. Remember that fish do not leave the area when this happens, and correct lure choice and presentation can still prevail. I am looking forward to early summer and I hope to see you out there. Please be courteous, safe, and please leave a few out there so we can all continue to enjoy a healthy fishery.