Mansfield Report: May 2015

Capt. Tricia
Mansfield Report: May 2015
Ben Ramsey scored a Port Mansfield trophy.
Despite lingering patches of brown tide our flats are alive with bait, redfish wakes, and great fishing opportunity. Seemingly overnight winter's grip relaxed, at last revealing what has been so close yet not exactly where we could find them. As of this writing the tides remain lower than average level but the strong southeast wind experienced last week has been doing its thing and we are seeing increasing flows of beautiful water streaming in from the Gulf. Nothing beats a strong flow from the Gulf for canceling the poor clarity of brown tide. With hope of history repeating itself, the bull tides should offer even more relief.

Additional good news is that the system is teeming with small shrimp, mullet, menhaden, and juvenile blue crabs. An aggressive topwater bite has begun to develop as the trout and reds take advantage of all the forage skittering on the surface. April is living up to its deserved reputation for trophy trout here on the Lower Laguna. I am speaking more of quality than quantity, as we are not quite seeing the numbers of the past. We have been very pleased with trout weights for length so far, and the weights should continue heavy until the middle of May. Trout of twenty-nine inches and longer are commonly stretching into the nine pound range but we have yet to see a true ten. Hopefully May will also deliver a steadier supply of three to four pound trout as the larger spring tides roll in.

Redfish seem numerous, no doubt due to low tides, and have been fairly easy to target except during high traffic days. It seems any area with decent water clarity and depth are getting run over more and more, and it completely shuts off any feed and scatters them badly. This too should change when higher water levels open more areas for fish to hide and forage.

Another worthy topic I would like to discuss is "spots" and the "spot fishing" trap some fall into. It seems that with continuous heavy traffic and fishing pressure many of these holes are no longer dripping honey and, unfortunately, they may never again. Many areas with seagrass still not fully recovered but with longstanding reputation as producers are taking a regular beating–boats burning and taking off too shallow. It would make way better sense for more anglers to seek new places away from traffic while these recover. This plan works very well for me the majority of the time.

Basically, the gamefish and bait that ride the spring tides makes this month one of the best to fish here, and the entire Texas coast for that matter. I always become twitterpated in May. The waders are off, more sunny days than cloudy, and new areas to explore. Oh yes I am stoked, as you should be too. It is certainly not going to be as good of a "get bit" month maybe as June but large trout and bruiser reds trump "just getting bit" as far as I'm concerned. What we can expect this May? Well, everything is similar to last spring. We did not begin to regularly see roe-laden trout until late March. I can assume it is because of low photo periods due to cloud cover and lower water temperature from lingering cold fronts.

So, what I am saying is that May's predominant fishing patterns may be anybody's guess but I definitely expect it will be much like last season. Just as last year our tides are currently still low, but if you check out NOAA, they are predicting higher levels and stronger flows the next several weeks. This should create even more changes and I'm guessing for the better. Last May was pretty great for both quality trout and redfish action, so I just know this month will bring us awesome fishing.

I still have something to say about the way we fish. Yes, tournaments are fun (me too). Some tournament directors and corporations that sponsor these events have changed their formats for the better in recent years, but unfortunately there are many others that still have not. I am hopeful I will see more adopting conservative formats this season. Competition can lead us to do things we otherwise would never consider, and with technology being as advanced as it is I pray we can find new ways to compete without raping the resource we so thoughtfully care for when not tournament fishing. Please consider the future and keep practicing C&R. Hope to see ya out there.