Mansfield Report: November 2014

Capt. Tricia
Mansfield Report: November 2014
No matter where you live or where you have been fishing, you really have to love what the Lower Laguna Madre has to offer as summer fades into fall. November is when Port Mansfield returns to its original laid-back coastal atmosphere and great fishing can found just minutes beyond the harbor. We will have lots of water to ourselves and like every year come fall, the fishing here has been great. Our water is in pristine condition and redfish and trout are plentiful. It appears that we have a great late-fall and winter season ahead of us.

As soon as the cooler temperatures arrived with the first fronts and the tides rose on the equinox, we began seeing a huge turnaround in the fishery. Good groups of solid reds and trout in the early morning shallows and predictably dropping down to the grass lines and potholes as the day progresses. It is already going on, and should get even better as the frequency and strength of the fronts increases.

Along many other parts of the coast strong fronts can shut down fishing for several days. But here on the Lower Laguna things are very different. We have vast expanses of heavily-grassed bottom that provide surprising water clarity even with 25 mph winds. Our seagrass beds are coming along nicely since the Great Flood of 2010 and they are the key to water clarity and foundation of this unique ecosystem.

Schools of bulldozing reds and trout are beginning to favor the shallow, grassy flats, taking advantage of abundant shrimp, finger-sized mullet and small blue crabs. Traditionally, sight-casting is at the top of the November things-to-enjoy list and quite often the terns and gulls point the way to our best fishing opportunities on the miles of shallow flats. Casting skill and long, accurate shots are the keys to success and I would like to address this in more detail.

You simply cannot get it done in good fashion unless your reels are cleaned and lubed to perfection, and equally important is having them spooled to full capacity with high-quality line. Also, practicing at home with a lightweight lure, casting at varying angles to the wind toward specific targets can make a world of difference in your sight-fishing game. I highly recommend this for those who want this kind of adventure. Of course, we can also get lucky blind-casting, but I feel most of us would be gratified with the more sporting aspect of seeing and throwing to a specific fish and having it take a lure.

With the progression of the fall season we can also expect a much better trout bite, and larger surface plugs will come into play, more so on the windier days. We are already having some success with She Dogs and Super Spooks. The better fish will soon be adding some good weight as they feed more often and for longer periods anticipating the winter months ahead when their diet becomes mostly mullet. Patterns will also become much more predictable both before and after fronts and, down here, major temperature fluctuations should not occur until much later in the month.

In short, November should be quite a month for making memories. Much of the outdoor crowd will be moving inland to pursue feathered and antlered game, which always leaves more choices for those born with fins and scales on the brain. With any luck at all, some of us will land one of the monster trout the Mother Lagoon has long been famous for providing, and some awesome reds to boot.

Now is the time for getting your winter gear together. Yes, conditions can get uncomfortable, but they are also easy to fix. The right stuff for me are my Simms G4 Waders and jacket, and layering with their WaderWick Fleece products is more good insurance for elevating your fishing memories into the awesome category. So let us all enjoy what fall has to offer, and remember to practice casting to help you enjoy it even more.

"Down here in Port Mansfield; we ain't scared of no stinking wind!"