Mansfield Report: November 2012

Capt. Tricia

Mansfield Report: November 2012

A refreshing change is in the air and we are certainly ready for it!

At this writing the first decent norther has brushed through; cool enough to make you feel energized and ready to experience the wonders of the outdoors. We can imagine the fishing will become more energized as well, and indeed, things have already taken quite a turn for the better. November is one of my favorite months to fish in the Lower Laguna, so I am excited to be reminded why.

After a disappointing summer season things have finally started to look more normal recently. Overall trout catches have improved and so has overall size. They seem to already be putting on some thick winter shoulders, as last week we had a 28-incher weighing right at 8 pounds, a healthy fish for any season. We are seeing more in the 24 to 27-inch range as well and topwater fishing has become more consistent. Little junior-sized plugs, especially the Super Spook in the clown pattern, have done very well in shallow and calm conditions. Full-size baits are also getting slammed much more readily in deeper or choppier areas. Skitter Walks in green-chrome or speckled trout have been getting attention as well as the Okie Shad One Knockers. Concentrations of baitfish have been the best key as usual, and our pelicans have begun to return to the Lower Laguna for the winter and help us find promising areas to start. Quite a few shrimp can also be seen leaping from predators when the bite is on.

Our strangely-absent redfish also finally found their way back to the parts of the Laguna we expect to find them. Many oversized fish are making their way toward the Gulf passes, and we have been catching some in the mid-thirty range. Tackle-busters for sure, and exciting when you can sightcast to them or watch a beast of that class violate a topwater. The best areas for both trout and reds have been all about thigh-deep grass beds with nervous baitfish but, we are also seeing more fish use the shallow sand. Its good to see big trout up there again. Other good opportunities have been western shorelines and ICW spoil banks. However, either they pull into wading range in those areas or they dont, sort of an all or nothing deal.

November will be about revolving winds once fronts start to come through more regularly. Temperatures should not be extreme, so the better chase will be the water levels as they push and pull accordingly. Northwesterly winds will dump many back areas and stack fish in nearby depressions, where south winds will fill them back up again. Following the bait will be the gamefish, especially when there is a good current. We typically see a lot of fish in the extreme shallows throughout the day in November, as cooler water and less traffic will be a nice encouragement. They can be very spooky in low wind; so long casts and quiet wades are needed. Most folks still coming down with half spools of line will have a hard time with the distance needed, especially when throwing lighter offerings. Kelly Wiggler ball tail shads on a 2/O 1/16-ounce jighead is deadly up shallow, and a newer color that has been working very well has been Smoke & Mirrors basically a translucent black back with a clearer belly. It doesnt seem to spook them and just looks like it needs to be eaten.

Ducks are already starting to raft up down here, the deer are moving, and every wild creature seems to be putting on winter weight. November is such a pleasant month frisky temperatures and active wildlife, with many would-be boaters plying the fields instead. However, whether hunting or fishing is your primary passion, it will be an exciting time to be outdoors. Ill be out there living my passion with a rod-n-reel and good people. Hope to see you this fall.