Greetings from Port Mansfield! About 50 miles south of the Sarita checkpoint on US-77 and 23-miles east of Raymondville on TX-186, lies this sleepy fishing village where folks come from all across Texas to relax in a slow-paced atmosphere and enjoy the fishing experience – hopefully to include a trophy seatrout. If you come to Port to fish with me, I’ll do my best to help you accomplish your trophy quest and let the slow-paced atmosphere take care of itself.
As of this writing, our fishing has been very good one day and then working hard for every bite the next two or three. It’s been an unusual spring; late-season northers followed immediately by strong southerly wind reaching 30-mph, and the fish are challenging me to a degree I haven’t seen in quite a while. Bottom line: I am currently unable to truly pattern fish on a consistent day-to-day basis.
The old saying, “Fish have tails and can swim,” has never been more-true. But, it’s not all doom and gloom, either. We are catching some great fish and most trips have been giving up at least one career-best specimen for my anglers. Additionally, there are a few signs of normalization within the patterns. I think that by the time this hits the newsstands, fishing patterns will have become more stable, the fish will be where they should be and feeding more predictably.
Water levels are currently below normal and the back lakes are pretty much off-limits, most days. Having said that, I have adapted to fishing off-colored water, simply because when tides are low and the wind is strong, nearly everything becomes murky.
Now, the upside is that fish are not scattered way back in the lakes and can be found holding in shoreline depressions and along deeper grass lines. Other places that are working for us are waist-deep potholes surrounded by thick grass. Some of our heavier trout have been found in knee-deep water with mud bottom and scattered grass. The only common denominator is that you must have some amount of bait present.
A year ago, I wrote about a twist on the fishing tournament format called Blackjack.I think it important to mention it again as I recently participated in this annual event hosted by Dr. Ken Ellis, who also serves as president of CCA’s Galveston Chapter. The rules are simple – No redfish, trout or flounder longer than 21-inches are allowed to be weighed-in and there is emphasis on catch and release. The object of the game is to land one of each species with combined length closest to 63-inches. Let me tell you, this is a very challenging format. Case in point: The winner of this year’s event took the tournament crown by less than one inch.What a great concept.
Our best fish have been coming on KWigglers Willow Tail Shads and the ol’ reliable 4-inch KWigglers paddletails in Honey Gold-White and Strawberry-Cool Tip have also been great for us. Both of these baits perform very well in shallow water conditions.Best colors in the Willow Tails have been Texas Roach, Turtle Grass and Padre Punch.In about a month you should find the KWigglers Ball Tail Shad picking up steam as we will be fishing deeper on average where the quicker sink rate and darting action of the Ball Tail works so well in attracting feeding as well as curiosity strikes. Consider colors like Flo Mingo, Plum Blue Metal Flake-Chartreuse and Mansfield Margarita.
Our topwater bite has been spotty and I have noticed more fish just slapping at it rather than eating it. Keep this in mind, if a fish wants to feed and you are throwing topwaters, they will get hooked – plain and simple. But, when all they want to do is slap at it, make the switch to a soft plastic and see what happens. You should be pleasantly surprised.
As we move into the summer season, expect a lot more boat traffic and please try to have a little more patience with other folks on the water. I often wonder what people are thinking when they run between my waders who are facing and fishing a shoreline when they have the entire bay to run behind us.
A friendly reminder to my fellow boaters: Wade fisherman generally fish with the wind on their back. So, as a general rule, the safest way to navigate around a group of wading fishermen is to swing wide behind them to avoid disturbing the water they are using. Just a friendly little tip to consider.Until next time, stay safe and be courteous on the water.