This week was met with some ups and downs. We had a few decent days of fishing, but then the winds became more than we wanted to deal with, so some of our repeat groups opted to pick another day in the summer.
With these strong winds, we had to pay attention each day as to what direction it was out of. The more south it had in it, the lower the water. This made us change game plans and adjust our wades to locate better trout. These weren’t big moves to different areas, simply micro moves or adjustments depending on the water levels on a particular flat we wanted to fish.
Most of our success was found throwing Down South Lures soft plastics. Depending on water clarity and sunlight, we either through colors like magic grass, plum/chart, and chicken of the c, or blue moon and strawberry wine. Trout were aggressive early before sunrise, then a small feed but not as aggressive during the middle of the day. That is to be expected with these hotter than normal temperatures. All our trout and few reds that we caught out of small pods were released to fight another day.
Some of the areas that we fished depending on what the wind was doing. We could either walk across the top of the flat more in the strike zone, or we had to stand off to the edge of the flat, throwing up on top of it and working the baits off the edge. This was more affective the hotter the day got.
This past week was much of the same action as last week. This is to be expected this time of year as conditions stay relatively the same. Our biggest challenge during these hotter periods is knowing when to be where. Feed periods, tidal movement and bait activity help us key in on bigger fish.
Our bait selection this week with the higher winds was DSL’s victorious secret, chicken of the c, and plum/chart. Early in the mornings before the big winds, we did have some pretty aggressive topwater action. In the San Antonio Bay system, when the wind shifts from ESE to SSE and S, it causes bay waters to shift from the south side over to the north side. When this happens the bay gets stirred up and water goes more sandy brown than green. This color change along with cloudy, partly cloudy, or sunny skies plays a role in our bait selection.
With the future forecast holding much of the same winds next week, I would suspect we will reload the boxes with the same tackle. Although we had some hot air temps already, the better trout have seemed to hold up shallow longer than expected. But, by 11-12pm the bite would tapper off, instead of the hard thumps from earlier in the morning it was just that hung up in grass feeling, with a head shake. It is hard to do, but most successful way to land these types of fish is to just start cranking, catch up to them and get tight.
On a side note, we have been able to enjoy God’s work leaving out in the morning, and witnessing something called a planet parade. Before sunrise in the East sky you can see 4 planets in a line. from right to left it’s Jupiter, Venus, Mars and Saturn. At least that’s what the article I read about it said. Pretty cool getting to see things like this in the pre-dawn hours.
We were down for a couple weeks, but it feels good to be back on the water this past week after getting the new boat rigged and ready. We saw a lot of changes in just a short span. From near Coastal Flood Advisories to a tide that is now about a foot or so low. When the 20-30mph SSE winds kicked up in the early part of the week, we witnessed the bay water being pushed from the south side to the north side of the bay. When this happened, naturally it drained to back marsh, and with it came hundreds of thousands of small bait fish. Shad, glass minnows, and even the baby grass shrimp poured out into the bay.
This was key in a couple different reasons. Mainly because locating the isolated areas was key on finding a good bite. But also, this told us that we needed to down size our selection. Spook Jr topwaters, 4″ Down South Lures instead of 5″, and Double D’s worked well, especially when the trout were suspended and in feed mode. This event takes place every Spring, and if you will make note of it, future outings can be more successful. Although the first half of the week saw just a water shift, the second have had more south in the wind which has lead us to this lower than normal tide. For that we had to make small adjustments, but was able to stay on fish through the tide swing. Remember micro moves can make all the difference sometimes.
We have decided to continue to release all our trout again this year, in an effort to help the bay system continue it’s rebuild. The trout this week were released in good shape.
Well it was an interesting winter on the Lower Laguna. Just when you think you got the big trout figured out, mother nature throws you a curve ball. Not only did we have big temperature swings with the air and water, but we also had multiple different bait hatches because of the big warm ups we faced. These different hatches, and near 78 degree water temps at times, forced us to think outside the box and fish a completely different pattern than we are used to for this time of year.
None the less, once we figured out the pattern we were able to stay on fish we were hunting for. We used a variety of baits to catch these fish, and what we saw was on warming trends they wanted small mirrodines, baby softdines, and soft plastics. We never had a very explosive topwater bite, at least not from the trout, but the reds would give us a show. On days during or before a front, softdine xl’s and a few fatboys did the trick. Personally I like throwing mirrodine xl’s and softdine xl’s over anything.
All in all we set a few new personal best, released all trout and reds, and even a few flounder in healthy condition. Had a blast with clients both new and old, and look forward to next year. We will be back down to Port in a few weeks to try our hand at chasing big fish in April. Between now and then, we have a handful of openings here in our home waters of Seadrift/Port O’Connor. If it’s a wade fishing artificial trip, sight casting reds, or a navigational trip to learn new waters give us a call.
As a continuing effort to help our bay system rebound, we will again this year ask clients to release all trout. If you would like to keep a couple reds for dinner that is fine with us. Thank you for the support in helping our fisheries, we look forward to fishing with y’all.
This round of Port Mansfield was met with the right weather and lower tides. With these fronts stacking up every 5-6 days the water temperature is holding which is more conducive to trigger bigger trout to feed. We lost a few days because of the strong north winds, but the pre front and post front bites were spot on. We watched fish change their feed pattern from topwaters and plastics to Corkys during periods of cold and again to plastics on warm up days. Any bait in a natural selection was the ticket. Unfortunately we all lost an opportunity at a Lower Laguna monster, but that’s what keeps you coming back.
We had a lot of fun, and with the weather continuing to roll in. I know the next round of trips will be even better. Hopefully this time with we can stay connected with the fish we are seeking.
All our trout and reds were released to fight another day in good condition.
The past week in Mansfield was a very different kind of winter fishing. In fact it was more like late spring, with air temperature near 88 degrees, and water temps from 72-82 degrees. The water level however was about 6 inches to a foot low which helped. We didn’t not find any true Lower Laguna monsters, but had several nice trout between 5-7 pounds, and more redfish than you could shake a stick at.
With the warming trend we found most of our bites on Down South Lures pure chicken of the c, white ice, and strawberry wine in the super model. They were rigged with weedless 1/16-1/8oz. jig heads. During the early morning and again during feed periods we saw an explosive topwater bite. We fished many different zones and bottoms finding fish in each, but the best was over thigh deep sand pockets. Two days before the front arrived, we figured fish would be ramping up their intake with the approaching artic front, and found a very hard hitting Corky bite. Like all our Port Mansfield trips, all trout and reds were released to fight another day.
It was a fun week in Mansfield, and we’ll be back tomorrow, with hopes that the fall in water temperature and tides will provide a more aggressive trout bite and have some of our next PB’s waiting for us. If you have never experienced what the Lower Laguna has to offer give us a call for an experience of a lifetime.
I have to describe one picture. third one down was a baby seahorse found alive in on of our wading nets upon hoping in the boat after a wade. We placed him back in the water and he hurried off to the grass and wrapped around a long blade of turtle grass.
Just can’t stay away from the saltwater. When dad called and said he was heading to Cedar Bayou in the morning, I couldn’t help myself.
We met at a foggy boat ramp and eased across the bay. Once we got in the bayou and parked the boat, it was a short 500 yard walk to the surf. And, until 1pm we caught reds at a steady pace. Never had more than about 10 minutes to sit down. We caught reds up to 41”, several in the 30-34” range.
The best part was standing in shin deep water throwing out to the fir st cut. Can’t wait to see how lower SA bay and Mesquite get in the Spring, once I get back from Port Mansfield.
Over the last week down in the Lower Laguna we saw a lot of fish caught in a variety of zones. We caught an equal amount of trout and reds all week on a variety of baits from DSL’s, Corkys and topwaters.
While it is unseasonably warm for December and the water is high, the big fish we are down here for were tougher to come by. We did see fishing during the week from 5-8#. A lot of healthy mid to upper slot reds and some very healthy 18-21” trout. There were countless trout that were 4# and measured 20-21”. Despite what these fish have been through, and the help of some very conservation minded local guides and weekenders. This fishery is thriving.
I’m excited and hopeful that when the right weather senerios get here, I think there will be some big trout caught. Now I believe it will not be as common in years past, but those who put in the time, and are in the right zip code will have the chance at a true giant. Y’all stay tuned for some winter fishing updates.
Good day with this repeat crew catching and releasing marsh reds.
With the flooded tides, we got to push way back into the marsh where few boats go. We found fish patrolling small grass flats and using the creeks like highways between the flats. Down South Lures pure chicken of the c and magic grass were the baits of choice.