Skinny Water Adventures

Port Mansfield Fishing Reports 2005 Page 2


December 19th 2005  

Many apologies for no recent updates. We have been consumed with building Capt. Tricia's new house for one thing (almost done!), and have generally been playing a good game of hide & seek as well. In short, fishing's good and is only going to get better with winter's predictable fury. Large trout await the efforts of a few and we look forward to your coming. You guys on standby stay at the ready. 

We'll see some of  y'all at the Houston Boat Show, but it will just be a drive by for us with a few days of fun and festivities. We will have a booth at the Holder Show though, ...can't wait. Best Show out there with fishing as a feeble excuse. 

We'll start a new reports page in 2006- with new high end cameras and a dedication to documenting each trip...good, bad, or scramble. If you enjoyed some of the videos & pics for '05, there is much more in the works for '06, like techniques, working the water, and even the process of finding better fish. Some of y'all will be wading guinea pigs on fun film, so dress like your mamma told you with clean underwear.  In the meantime, we'll try to close out 2005 with a sea of pictures that didn't make it the first time around.  Stay tuned, and go get wet in the meantime.  Later soon, and Happy Holidays to all. 

November 6th 2005  

O.K. Bottom line is that fishing has really been tough the past few days.  Since the Halloween storm, mucho floating grass and funky water has been a significant factor. Best consistent bets have been along and near the ICW and out toward the rocks.  Yesterday was a little better as some of the water finally started to clear north of Greens.  Some reds and trout pulled in very shallow over heavy grass, but they were still near deeper drops. Reds have started to tail some again, but over very grassy & muddy bottoms which presents it's own challenge. Expect to find small pinfish and small shrimp on autopsies. The flats proper is still fairly void, and so far, the upper shoreline bite just hasn't happened with any regularity.  Give it another norther or two, and better, more consistent patterns will start to emerge. Hey, it's fishing, and we all know that. We do expect things to change soon, but in the meantime, work hard and enjoy the day on the water for what it is. 

October 28th 2005  

Of course a lot of things have changed since the last ancient update. Water levels are more towards average now and Fall is officially here after the last norther.  Yes, it's breathable wader time early in the mornings or with high wind/no sun. Water is hanging in the upper 60's for now. 

In short, the fish have not been on either the flats or the shorelines of late...not in great numbers anyway.  That should change soon however, but we all need to remember that despite what cheerleaders say, the first few northers tend to mess patterns up more than establish them. It takes a little time for a lot of fish to adjust and become more concentrated and predictable. We shall wait, but in the meantime, think little shrimp, current flow, level changes. and off color lines. Try to avoid huge concentrations of big mullet happy jumping. There's nothing under them and that's not what they are eating. We are having the most fun with small bone topwaters and darker colored paddle tails on 1/16th oz. heads. Here's a few pics of some of what's been happening.  Go when you can, fish hard, and try really hard to tell the truth about it. 


Fishing's good!

News: We recently had the pleasure of fishing David Sikes of the Corpus Christi Caller and Ron Shepherd from FTU. This Sunday's Caller will have a piece about Port Mansfield in the Outdoors Section. We had fun. 

October 5th 2005  News:  We have even more water in the system now, gaining 6 to 8" virtually overnight. The Gulf clear water of yesterday has been replaced with yellowish looking stuff from the pipeline south.   With water streaming into the cut, a few dead fish are coming in with it from the jetty area.  So far, the red tide is still mostly confined to the beachfront with a minimal amount coming inside on this end.  Hopefully the norther forecasted for Thursday will make most of it go away and we will dodge this one.  

Check this out. J.D. took his people into North Cullen today to check out the higher water. Unbelievable, but it was full of 3 to  5' + sharks!  J.D. counted 5 around the boat and his waders counted many many more, pushing wakes and thrashing around in knee to thigh deep water.  We're talking way in the back of North Cullen here, and that is a LONG way of shallow water to cross. One theory is that the area was also full of cow nosed rays, and the sharks may have followed them in there.  Needless to say the game fish were out of there, and so was J.D. He caught his fish elsewhere, mainly working chest deep water that only got your belt wet yesterday. 

More News: Some of you have had to be re-scheduled or swapped captains due to an unexpected death.  Captain Tricia will be in Houston for a few days, as the father of her children, Mark Corbett, 49, died Sunday while riding his bicycle. We are certain you understand and thank-you for your patience.  Sincere condolences to all affected.  Life is short and we just never know when it will come to a close, so lets remember to try and live like it. 

PS...  We'll get these cameras rolling again soon....promise, so y'all can quit the 'hate' mail just about anytime now. 

October 4th 2005

  Winds variable early to gusty NE in and around many scattered rain storms. Water beautiful green and clear of grass in most of the system south of town.  J.D. had all of his reds and they kept 18 decent trout among many small ones.  I had John Blaha, one of the Assistant Directors of CCA, and Brian, the outgoing President of the RGV Chapter here before their meeting.  We had all of our trout but very few reds. Topwaters early, then it was all tails in waist deep sand pockets around heavy grass. Many small fish to contend with, but we had a great time. We saw 2 other boats on the was J.D, so it's back to utopia again with the absence of the summer crowds. 

October 1st & 2nd 2005  

We did the annual "Shack Trip" at the Land Cut, hosted by SCA's Mark Schultz and held at Chase Smith's cabin.  Some of you might know Chase as the guy behind the scenes for the Keith Warrens Outdoors Shows.  Joe and Danny Meyer, Norma Hall, and Ron Shepherd of Fishing Tackle Unlimited came down to play with us, as did Jess Lawrence and Jeff forgot his last name. Fishing really sucked up north, but we had one heck of a time sleeping on the roof and trading stories for 2 days.   Capt. Tricia came up and joined us the second night, and she and Norma just flat wore the trout out underneath the lights.  Some were large.  Gracious hosts, excellent food, and the Milky Way more than made up for the dismal fishing, however, both Mark & Chase did land trout around 27".  The water up there is still funk, but when you're committed you're committed, so we just did it. The fish were not on the shorelines, but the ditch was FULL of small shrimp at night and it appears that is where all of the fish are as well.  Great time guys, and thank-you again. 

 Update: Rita water is still hanging in here but we've started to lose a few inches during the past 24 hrs. That sets up a lot of big opportunity as flooded areas start to drain, stacking up bait and concentrating predators. A lot of back areas are loaded with perfect sized finger mullet and some excellent fish are pulling in on them. Schools of reds are becoming more numerous and still seem to prefer knee to thigh deep water over grass. It's topwater time. We've had very light winds in the mornings, and a slowly teased bone plug (with lots of pauses) will soon get hammered if you're in the right area. After the wind starts to pick up in the afternoon, a more aggressive retrieve or a simple tail will work, concentrating most efforts out a little deeper.  The cool thing is that there is virtually no one on the water for now.  The "live croaker" flags are down as well. 

Capt. Tricia is going to Clearwater Fla. to fish the Oberta Redfish deal with Mark "Gritter" Griffin.  She'll be leaving on Oct. 16th and won't return until the 24th. That should be a heavy team, so let's wish them well.  Unfortunately, some of you scheduled hoot heads will have to fish with me instead while I pick up her slack. Just bring a lunch and some baby wipes. 

RED TIDE:  We have from a credible source (Bob Dewitt, who some may deem credible during certain lunar phases) that bands of red tide exist starting about 7 miles E. of the Mansfield Jetties.  He was out snapper fishing yesterday (09-26) and noted several bands of death headed north in a heavy current.  We did notice a few floating mullet near the east cut but nothing significant. Hopefully, whatever bloom is out there will stay offshore and disperse. News as it comes. 

We have some new cameras for your office fix,  but unfortunately they are going back because the videos don't include sound as described in their reviews.  Just not quite the same, so watch the marketeers closely for key omissions in fine print when you make a purchase.  Here's one little short silent movie though.  These better fish are getting stronger as we move away from summer.  It's all looking good. 


also, here's the real scoop on the tides & temps here now. 

September 24th

  Rita gave us about one foot of new level, which is a lot for here.  Bait is thick up shallow and some nice predators are hanging in there with them. Yesterday we saw several schools of larger reds numbering maybe 30 fish each, mostly in knee deep water over grass. Topwaters worked well.  Smaller trout are numerous, but as usual (and apart from incidental catches), the she-beast are where you target them in little nook & cranny type structure.  

September 12th

 Well O.K. then!  It's been a full  month with many adventures (way too many to keep this page updated, that's for sure)  but below is a little bit about what's been going on down here. No particular order,  just some fun the Port Mansfield way. 

As for an update, in short, it's on again.  Fall patterns are already here with cooler, higher water and less boat traffic during the week. Larger trout are out trying to get larger and big reds are doing their deal.  As of now, the beautiful water we had up north has gone to crap again after NE winds pushed some bad stuff  back down. All else is clear though. A bunch of shrimp have shown up so look for low birds to point the way up shallow.  Many of the bigger reds are full of crabs as well. The bruisers are starting to bunch up and hitting larger topwaters when you can find them...AND, when they haven't been burned up by a few Neanderthal boaters.  Tailing fish are numerous but mostly smaller, 18" to 23" stuff with scattered kickers outside of the pods. There are some big trout shallow early on topwaters, then you'll find them in upper thigh to waist deep water as they fall off the flats. Back water areas are flooded so a lot of other fish are scattered.   Numbers of trout are still hanging waist deep or so. Lots of small fish still around.  There is a lot of opportunity right now and it will only continue to get better. Excited? Us? Yeah. 

Many more pictures & videos as we get time to upload them. 


* AssortedStuff.wmv Cody & Renee 1.wmv *
* Joannie Hunt27.wmv Cody & Renee 2.wmv *
* JustaRun.wmv * *

August 12th

Well it's on folks. The past several days have been habanero hot, especially for redfish, with large numbers of large reds crushing the shorelines and others running breaks of about 2 to 4' deep. There are some good trout laying in there with them though, and topwaters have been consistent  with an even stronger bite coming about mid-day as the wind picks up.  A lot of  fish down south have been extremely shallow, even during the hottest part of the day. Several trout between 25 and 28" have been caught  below shin deep the past few days. Small to mid-sized floaters worked hard have been drawing explosive strikes early, and full sized plugs start to produce as the chop picks up. Tails are scoring as well, with good 'ole pumpkinseed/chartreuse doing about as good as anything. 1/4 oz weedless gold spoons are also taking a toll on shallow reds in and near shin-deep sandy strips and potholes. As far as catching goes, it really depends more on just getting on them and then throwing what you are good at throwing. Open areas with muddy bottoms in otherwise heavy grass areas are holding strong fish as well. We're starting to see better numbers of bigger reds school up and that will increase for the next several weeks.  The tide levels are still extremely low however, and many areas are dirt dry and exposed. Fortunately, many areas are clear of floating grass for the moment. The water south is clear except for the standard color changes when the wind picks up. 

The north country has cleaned up a bit in patches, but much of the area is still way off color. The east side above Butchers is nasty.  Numbers of trout are mostly waist deep over deep grass beds & gravel, but some she beasts are also cruising up shallow with the reds where you can find fishable water.  Don't forget the surf when conditions allow. The croaker are getting fairly large but they are still being used by many boats. Not by us of course, but their size may be one reason our larger topwaters have stated working better now along with bigger concentrations of larger finger mullet.  We are seeing a lot of 5 to 7" baitfish in stomach contents now, a big change from all of the tiny shrimp we have had to compete with. We are also seeing quite a few larger pinfish on autopsies so keep that in mind as well. 

Here are just a few assorted pics. Some are finished and some are not, and several videos are on the way as soon as I can get 'em done. Fishing's great and promises to get even better. Get those topwaters out and get you some, just remember to take what you need and take pictures of the rest. 

Note:  A big thank-you to all you die hards who want to come down and play, but unfortunately we have zero openings left for August. September and October still have a few good slots left, but do try to check in soon if you want your preferred dates.  Fishing is just going to get better going into the fall, but if you really want an adventure of the larger class, big winter trout is where it's at. Call or write for details. 

Notable:  A big congratulations to Aaron Cisneros for winning 1st Place TIFT Junior Bay Angler (13 - 16 yrs.) Good job....again!!

Noteworthy:  Cajun Phil Broussard, host of Cajun Phil’s Outdoors and Fishing TV shows, is coming to Port next week. His crew is going to shoot 2 segments, one on long time guide Marsh Steussy and another on Capt. Tricia. Should be quite a hoot ~> 

 In adding to our sponsors, who are the absolute best of the best by the way, we are excited to team up with the Shimano Pro Staff.  If by some strange chance you're not throwing their reels, well, you're just not being all you can be yet and you might ask yourself why. We are also proud to have Maui Jim sunglasses, Mr. Twister, and Gamma fishing line. If you want to be good at this stuff, use the best stuff available. We sure do. You can get it all at Fishing Tackle Unlimited, even by mail order now.   

Thank-you:  A huge thanks goes to the staff at El Jefe's and all of the folks who threw down with us on Capt. Tricia's & John Blaha's birthday party last Saturday night. The band STAMPEDE was in excellent form and a lot of people showed up for one heck of a good time. We'll do it up even bigger next year and no doubt it will become an annual event. 

August 1st  O.K. The old news is that Emily had minimal effect here. We had hoped for more, but only got peak sustained winds of just over 45 and about 1' of new water on this end of the system. What she gave us was quickly taken away and now the tides are dismally low (tide graph). Fishing overall has been rough but has been  improving the past few days. Fish that were scattered during the higher water have now been moved again by the tide dump. Catchable trout are near deeper troughs closer to the ICW, off spoil banks, and well off the shorelines up north. There are starting to be good concentrations of reds up shallow however. Yesterday we found hundreds in water well below 1'. Wakes as far as you could see. Very difficult to catch until some wind picks up, which has been after lunch. 

! Announcement ! 

August 6th is both Capt. Tricia's and John Blaha's birthday. (Y'all might know John as being one of CCA's Assistant Directors.) We're going to throw down at El Jefe's that evening and have hired STAMPEDE to help take us there. Band starts at 8:30. Come on if you're'll be a hoot. 

July 17th Well what can we say? Yes...been a long time since updates, (thanks for reminding us lol). We'll try to do better, and in fact, will try to do at least a weekly report with water conditions & other fish stuff with supporting pics & video's. We know (believe us) that you guys want your office fix, but there's no website manager, secretaries or deck hands here, just us, so it's hard to find time to do it all. Thanks again for the patients. 

Summer conditions are here in full force. Near calm conditions in the mornings have lasted until noon or better. A lot of reds have been extremely shallow early but almost impossible to catch until the wind puts a little chop on the water. We're seeing some large trout waking up shallow also, but again, go catch one of them. More catchable fish are about waist deep for the artificial crowd, especially for trout. We haven't seen a lot of big fish lately, with 25's to 27's mostly about  what you can expect on the upper end. The water south of town is gorgeous...too clear in many areas, and grass is still a problem.  Up north is still patchy but trying to clear, with some occasional great catches during the right conditions. The skinny sand hasn't been consistent lately but we're getting a little more water in here. 

Crowds are up, especially on weekends, but most everybody is courteous except for a few monkeys that can ruin a lot of water repeatedly & often. Of other  interest is the amount of sharks we are seeing. There's several bruiser class bulls hanging in the NE Pocket that can make wading interesting. We had a very mature one in 18" of water last week...a good 8 footer with a head as wide as a watermelon. 

We (Tricia & I) took a pleasant week off but we're back in there now. There are still a few days left in July & August but y'all need to raise your hand pretty quick if you want some of this. The Laguna remains awesome. Here's some stuff that say's so....

Slick Run.wmv

(see how many reds you can count towards the end)

Trout Play.wmv

Cisneros Snook.wmv



A Little After Hours Inspiration

June 19th  Update Time...finally.  This past month has been feast or famine and it looks like it's been that way coast wide. We think we're about 3 weeks behind normal schedules, but everything looks like it's finally getting right and there have been some great sessions the past few days. Capt. Tricia & JD Hannibal  'Papillon' Lector (thanks Boggus boys!) have been whacking them with full limits of trout to 28" and some fat tournament class reds. The fish are not where you want them to be so it's time to think out of the box. It's still mostly about tiny shrimp and small piggies so the topwater bite has been a bit  sporadic. We haven't seen many 30" class fish except at the croaker cleaning tables, but a chrome She Dog has been effective on a few nice specimens up to 29". (Remember it's all about the pause!) The water here is in excellent shape with many areas just too darn clear. The floating grass has been a continual problem with a lot of high heat shutdowns and plugged cooling jackets, so it's wise to try and keep those intake screens clean. It's all looking good with more stable weather helping to pattern these fish better. We still have a few days open in July but not many, so if you guys are wanting any of this it might be a good idea to call soon. Go when you can, but in the meantime, here's a few jumbled pics & vids to help survive another day at the office. (it will take most of the day to get 'em all done though)

PS. STAMPEDE will be rocking the docks at El Jefe again this Saturday night. Mesmerizing guitar and everything from George to Stevie Ray, so hope to see some of y'all there. 



Thin_Gin.wmv (12Mb)



May 23rd - 25th 

Baron2.wmv (26 mb) 

May 19th - 22nd


CaptCarp.wmv (23 mb)

May 17th

Still working on video updates below, but here's one from today if your machine can handle it.  It's 47.5 MB (sorry, best I could do), but you might accidentally find it worthy. It's cool, trust me on this one. I'll try to do a shorter version, but in the meantime, the weather is still awesome and the fishing has kicked off hard. See you bright & early. 

Three Mudskateers.wmv ( 47.5 MB)   (best to "right click", then "save as") 

May 6th thru May 14th  Ok! Ok! Sorry for the delay, but here's a few pics & clips for your office fishing fix.  For lack of chair time, we're just going to jumble a bunch of them together this round instead of sorting each by trip date. (working on it here) 

To summarize the past few days, the tough fishing we've had since early spring has finally 'sprung' loose. The 16th annual Griffon Tournament had some impressive catches and fish have shown up in most all of the traditional places. It's all looking good and the weather is awesome. The water is clearing up nicely with many areas just too darn clear. The topwater bite is getting better also with a little shift towards the bigger plugs.

video clips


Stampede at PP's


top red - pink trout.wmv

paul & pat show.wmv

O'Riley Factor.wmv

  More 2005 Reports 

2004 Reports