Mansfield Report: July 2017

Mansfield Report: July 2017
Michelle Frazier snagged a beautiful flounder on her first-ever wade trip.

Howdy from Port Mansfield!With summer underway, fishing tournaments are happening nearly every weekend and some even on weekdays. I would like to encourage that all tournament organizers and promoters consider conservation of our fishery when planning events. I wrote last month of a unique concept called Blackjack. The perfect fish in Blackjack is 21-inches max and garners the angler 21-points on the scoreboard. Including trout, redfish and flounder, a perfect score for a day of angling would be 63-points. Pretty simple and, believe me, the competition can be very intense.

Weather and fishing patterns become more stable and consistent in July. Barring, of course, the arrival of any tropical systems. Tide levels also become more consistent. Mornings are generally calm and southeast wind typically builds to the pleasant 15-to 20-mph range by afternoon.You will still want to keep an eye on the local marine forecast as afternoon thunderstorms can develop very quickly.

I view fishing much the same as solving an equation; the more variables you can identify and understand…the greater your chances for a successful day. Although not an all-inclusive list, here are some of the variables I consider when planning each outing.
-Weather – Cloudy, rainy, blue sky, wind speed and direction, atmospheric pressure.
-Moon phase – Full, new or quarter moon.
-Solunar Influence – Major and minor feeding times.
-Boat traffic
-Tide movements

Consider these the next time you are planning a trip.Example: Tomorrow is Wednesday with light southerly wind, partly cloudy, new moon with two tides, stable barometer. I’m going fishing if I can.

I currently rate trout fishing as very good to excellent. Most of the trout are very healthy weight-wise and we have had two eight-pounders in the past month. We are also catching good numbers of flounder, most are 2-to 3-pounders, with several pushing toward 5-pounds. There is also a “hint” of redfish coming back into the picture. We are experiencing occasional good redfish days, let’s hope this “hint” turns into something more.

I have been doing a little exploring in my down time.In late-May I traveled 108 miles in one day, for the sole purpose of investigating places I have never fished. Made some great discoveries that I will soon begin including in my daily fishing plans. Should you consider undertaking such an expedition I would advise filing a float plan with at least two people…you just never know.

I continue to plan for early starts as there seems to be more boats on the water every day. I try to be set up at our first spot prior to sunrise.As of late we have been targeting shorelines where we can cover different depths when trying to locate fish. As mentioned before, with four or five anglers you can effectively cover nearly everything from belly button to knee-deep. Quite often we find fish using a specific depth and I do not have to get very involved in directing the team. Usually, as soon as one of the guys lands his second or third fish his buddies move in. Which is good…they all came to catch fish!

We typically begin the day with topwaters but I still prefer having at least one member of the team throwing soft plastic. When the surface bite is not steady at the outset I worry that we could be passing fish that would willingly take other lures. This staggered depth approach is perfect for covering all the bases.

I personally carry two rods when fishing – topwater on one and plastic on the other. I like the advantage of being able to switch instantly, without delay of cutting and re-tying. I find the EZ Wade Belt works great as it keeps your second rod out of the way and it is very comfortable to wear.

Topwater bait choices see us sticking primarily with Heddon One Knockers and Super Spooks. Over on the soft plastic side we stick with our KWigglers. As of late we have found the good ol’ 4-inch Paddle Tails in Strawberry-Cool, Punch Metalflake-Chartreuse and Plum Blue Metalflake-Cool earning go-to honors. The wobble of the tail on that 4-inch Paddle Tail puts off a tremendous amount of vibration, which seems to be triggering the strike.Ball Tails and Willow Tails have also been producing some nice fish, especially in the Red Shad Pro and Mansfield Margarita colors.

In closing - Remember to keep your boat’s ice chest stocked with plenty drinking water. Stay hydrated throughout the day, especially when making long wades. Gulp as much water as you can prior to your wade and immediately upon return.

Stay safe and be courteous on the water.