Mansfield Report: June 2016

Capt. Tricia
Mansfield Report: June 2016
An awesome catch for angler Ted Sunderland…what a surprise!

Late spring on the Lower Laguna has been giving us many days that would likely be blowouts on many Texas bay systems. This is such a unique area that even during a prolonged stretch of dry and wind-whipped weather patterns, our local waters have been holding up well and the fish have been mostly cooperative. We are still enjoying some great fishing and things should become even more interesting as we move into June. As fun as it has been, we all certainly look forward to days with less than 40-mph gusts!

Even before the waders came off, troublesome creatures such as skipjacks, jack crevalle, and sharks started showing up. The skipjacks were especially annoying, and trying to remove sharp topwater trebles from a skippy can be quite challenging, not to mention their unmatched ability to fray leaders. I wish I had a dollar for every time I've had to cut-off and retie to avoid the risk of breaking off a solid trout over the past month. They were all after the same thing and it seemed all the inshore predators were concentrated around an extraordinary shrimp migration.

It was also all about the grass as that was where the favored forage has been congregating. The best trout have been found about knee to thigh-deep over sand bottom dotted with grass clumps. Several clients landed some great trout from 27 and 30-inches. Pictured below is Shawn Dinwiddie with a nice 27-incher. This fish was fooled by a K-Wiggler paddletail, which remains my confidence bait most of the time.

We have also been experiencing a steady topwater bite for both trout and reds. Skitter Walks in green chrome, blue chrome, and bone have been living up to their reputation as good producers, as have the One Knocker and Spook Jr. When the fish are finicky and will not come all the way to the surface, K-Wiggler Ball Tail Shads are a very good lure for getting them to commit.

Besides enjoying steady trout action, redfish appear to be thriving too. They can be fickle, though. One day you can find them in predictable areas and the next day they simply seem to vanish. Redfish opportunities should grow more consistent as summer moves closer and those exciting sight-casting chances should become more likely.

My fishing program will take on a new face this month as the pressure to produce trophy-class trout gives way to simply having fun days of catching. School trout should be feeding voraciously on deeper grass beds and spoil bank edges, but don't think that a big lady can't show up without notice. June is fun fishing, and everything the Lower Laguna is famous for should be in play from sight-casting reds on the flats to wading shoulder deep for trout.

As a side note, two things we have no shortage of is stingrays and fishing pressure. We always get spoiled in cooler months when the rays pull off the flats and we have the water mostly to ourselves. Fishing participation on the Lower Laguna continues to grow every year, or at least it seems to, but still lighter here than in most other bays. There is plenty of water for all to enjoy if areas with anglers present are approached respectfully.

More about the rays, the entire system is alive with things we want, and also with things we don't, so please consider wearing protective gear. Rays are nothing to be frightened of, but it's better to be safe than sorry.

The only thing I enjoy as much as fishing is creating ways to cook the ones we keep.
Fish cooked well can be gourmet fare, but remember to take only what you need for a meal or two and leave the rest. CPR is good insurance that we can all continue to enjoy the best sport available standing up. Here's to a great summer!