Skinny Water Adventures
Port Mansfield Fishing Reports 2006

12-15-06

12-14: We had a little temporary water issue this day. Looks like we had some sort of temperature inversion, where the water on the bottom was warmer than on the surface which caused it all to turn over. The clarity went to hell up north and everything was covered with dead grass. We fished hard but no feed. It won't last long and everything will be back to normal in a day or so. The water south is still very good but there was still no feed this day...don't care who you were.

12-13 was yet another exceptional day on the water and the fishing wasn't too bad either. Curiously, it took a few days for everything to fully recover from the strong norther on the 7th, but it all came together yesterday and the fish fed very well. We started in 2 1/2 to 3' of water over grass and found it thick with redfish. Amongst them were some good trout, and besides the ones we missed, JD did manage to land one of the better ones. Didn't even measure it before it was quickly released, but the picture lives below.  We moved farther south and found some good trout. Nothing huge this time, but it was nearly every cast for about an hour & 1/2....all on soft plastic. The better class fish in this group ran about 22 inches but were very thick and healthy. For some reason pink was the ticket in the emerald green water. Tricia was using Brown's pink eel and the pink Corky did it for me. We kept zero fish but could have easily filled full limits. (Hey...it's not really about food anymore) 

Still trying to finish the pics & videos below. Just need to take the time to do it...and who wants to get off the water to sit in a stupid chair? Here's a pic of JD's fish on 12-13. (there's a cool video coming with that fish as well) All in all we are looking at a great winter and reports from other areas of the coast are echoing pretty much the same. 


*** New Video - "Get Some" is up - (see below)

12-04-06

It's been a long time since the last report so we'd better try to catch up here. (I guess sometimes we just get too busy having too much fun to share.)  In short, it's all good, and some of the best outdoor experiences of the year are upon us. 

REDS!  We have had some phenomenal redfish action on the flats for several weeks now. Afternoons have seen water knee-deep and less holding large amounts of good fish willing to slam topwaters. Sight casting with tails under a co-operative sun has been a blast too.  Most have been mid range slots but bigger ones are in there with them.  Even after this past big blow, the next day they come right back up top and have been holding very shallow near the first grass line. Lot's of big sheephead, drum, and cow-nosed rays with them, so the visual part of stalking the clear flats is never boring. 

TROUT!  The big trout fishing has kicked in! They're here, it's time. The water has cooled down enough with the past couple of northers that the pattern is set. Day before yesterday, right as the norther was subsiding, a very short afternoon wade saw several big swirls and boils under a Corky. I managed to stick one but it threw the bait while I was jacking around with a video camera. Doesn't matter, there will be plenty more.  Yesterday I had one on a Corky Fat Boy a little over 8 lbs and missed two more on one wade. The fish are all thick with the big winter shoulders we have been waiting for. Even the smaller fish are chunks...very healthy with big mullet in their stomachs. I do have a personal prediction. This year I will see more and bigger fish than I ever have, and hopefully some of those in our boats will as well. Despite all of the hoopla over next years inevitable new trout regulations, the big fish part of this equation really looks good. I didn't find these fish until January last year, so I am pumped, primed, ready, and won't miss an opportunity. 

BIRDS!  Also awesome are the tremendous amounts of birds here now. We left an incredible dove season and now the ducks are blackening the horizon. We are even jumping some big flocks of geese on the shorelines. Tons of redheads of course, but a lot of pintail are here with some good groups of widgeon and some teal. This next split season should be great, and a lot of dove are still here to so we look forward to that. We don't do guided cast & blast trips per say, but we do take out the occasional loyal client or we can certainly direct you to some of the local pros. 

NEWS!   We'd like to thankfully welcome some of our new sponsors;  Columbia, Simms, Gamakatsu, Suffix and Drifter Technologies. We might actually be looking good next year with new duds and the most awesome waders and foul weather gear made. We're excited about using Gamakatsu's single hooks for our topwaters, and Suffix's braided line will make our spinning reel clients much more productive. About Drifter Technologies, some of you may remember John Tolbert and crew from last years Holder Fishing Show. Without getting into great detail, wade fishing as we've known it just changed. Now, from at least 4/10th's of a mile away, my boat comes right to me like Roy Roger's horse "Trigger" with the simple mash of a button or two. I'll never have to walk back to the boat again. Unbelievably awesome. We have the only proto-type, have tested it extensively, and it's ready to go. There's going to be a waiting list so you'd better call John if you want to get in line. E-mail me for contact info. 

MORE NEWS!  Dredging should commence soon from the mouth of the harbor and will continue east until local funds run out, probably in the vicinity of Bird Island near Marker 26. The spoil material will be deposited next to the 'Wetlands in progress' section near the north side of the levee. We just received a letter back from Kay Bailey Hutchinson in response to several pleas for assistance concerning the strangulation of the East Cut, including a couple of thousand signed petitions from those of you who fish here.  *The letter basically said  "Sorry, this is a state problem, not federal, so here's another name or two you can bother instead".  The last we heard, the East Cut was a Federally mandated channel and the Corps of Engineers worked for Uncle Sam as well. Also, we sorta thought A U.S. Senator had a state voter base somewhere.  Unfortunately, federal dollars allocated for dredging are predicated on commercial tonnage, to which we have none, and "other uses" like water quality, environmental health, and recreation uses are not even a small blip on the screen. One day the folks who are in control will get it, that a healthy fishery here sells trucks in Houston and so forth. Many businesses in the entire state rely on a healthy fishery here with good access to the Gulf.  The recreational dollar is huge. It's time to bump this effort up a bit.

Somehow I was elected one of the Directors of the Chamber of Commerce here.  Lot's of things to do and we're going to have some fun doing it along with a little sweat. One major item is the 2007 Port Mansfield tournament, to which we are going to make a cool deal out of it.  It's going to be better than ever, so those of you who have enjoyed it in the past get ready to do it again, and those of you who haven't been here it may be a good time to come. We'll keep everybody posted.  In the meantime, here's a few pics & videos. 

(Note: Unfortunately we never finished the pictures below, so we'll just move on to the new 2007 page and hope we have more time to keep up with all of this) 

  Many more to come...stay tuned.
Videos GetSome.wmv (19.8 megs)

10-18-06

Yesterday was awesome. We have a lot of water in here and fish are moving up. A sun-up topwater session was good but short lived, so we spent the rest of the day sightcasting to big reds in crotch deep potholes. The winds were light and you could see these big bruisers cruising everywhere. They were mixed in with schools of big sheephead and magnum sized drum. They were extremely hard to catch but it kept us very busy throwing at targets trying to make them eat. You would make the best presentation you could, and just when you thought it was going to happen, a trout would come out of nowhere and eat it instead. We also saw several monster trout but those will have to wait for another day


10-15-06

This past week has been pretty cool. Besides busting up a bunch of fish in the mornings we've had some excellent dove shoots in the evenings west of Raymondville. Many (many) birds over goat weed. Good stuff. As far as fishing goes, it's been mostly shallow water reds with a lot of good topwater action. 

We had a 2 boat/2 day deal for Spencer Falls, a Dallas Chapter CCA auction winner who we have been trying to schedule for quite some time. It was a pack of young lawyers looking for trouble with cocky smiles.  They found some and made more, but it was all pure hoot. On day one the winds were wickedly mixed with monsoons, but the worse it got the better the bite was. Capt. Ernest had a 40 redfish day south of town. Capt. Tricia got all of hers plus many more in knee deep or less water. We didn't do quite as well but had mucho fun anyway. (I think I had the Aggies of the bunch and they confused me).  On day 2 the weather moderated a bit and most of the storms held just offshore. The bite was way off compared to the past few days but grinding it out got it done if you were right on them. Kyle Cook & I walked into a good group of  tailing reds in the afternoon, right as the wind died ahead of a downpour. A camera would have captured some world class stalking, so I guess a waterproof model needs to happen. 


10-09-06

The past couple of days have been what October is supposed to be about for redfish.  Good groups are starting to tail up shallow and some over-sized fish are destroying topwaters out a little deeper. The little north wind stirred it up a bit and there has been a good feed until about noon. We are expecting a stronger norther thru here Wed. night and that should fire things off even better. There have also been some good trout catches and that is improving, but we still haven't seen any monsters for a while now. Calm before the storm - they are here and it's going to start happening soon. 

Here's a little video from yesterday of Capt. Tricia shooting at some tails and sticking some good ones up top.  Fun stuff ! 

Video  Tricia-Tails.wmv (27.6 megs) 

10-06-06

O.K. Fishing has been fair to exceptional lately, but of course with a few sucky days thrown in there as usual. Last week Tricia & I had a couple of 30 to 40 trout days each...waist deep on tails near the ICW. Most were just 'trout-trout' with a lot of under-sized, but we also managed a few between 24 to 26". A few over-sized redfish were in the mix as well. There has been a good showing of shallow reds both east & west on topwaters but most of the trout are still deeper. 

South of town has been spotty and even West Bay hasn't kicked off yet like it should. However, when you find a bite it is usually a good one. There is still a lot of rain run-off coming down the Arroyo and sloughs. We have some level in here now so you can pretty much go anywhere you want. Deeper breaks going north are a good bet and there have been a lot of fish along the East Cut. The water is in good shape overall...a few areas of bad floating grass but manageable. Crowds are down except for weekends and especially today. The Kinney Bonded Tournament is going on with at least 50 guide boats out there. 

Overall it looks good and fish will become more pattern-able as we move through this month. We expect to start seeing stronger schooling of big reds up shallow and bigger trout bites as well. The trout we have been catching are healthy and heavy for their size...already putting on thick shoulders and appear well fed. Fall is good stuff and we're excited. 

Speaking of well fed, how would you like to fall off of our cleaning table? See the below video...bet these suckers could pick a cow clean!

Video Pier Pihrannas.wmv  (13 megs)


9-26-06

Norther thru, water cooler and in excellent shape! Went fishing for big bull reds today outside of the jetties. Trying for brood stock for one of the shrimp farms down here. I'm all over it, as I'd much rather see farm raised redfish in a restaurant than those taken out of the wild. Anyway, the big jacks tore us up. Arms sore...no reds. Most jacks were mature and went 25 lbs. The surf seems infested with them. 

On another note, I still can't walk in soft bottoms due to that damned stingray. Leg is still locked up. This is nine days into it and it's not much better. Long term guide down here, Marsh Steussy, also got hit today. Y'all be careful... seriously. Seems to be an inordinate amount of those pointy-tailed devils out there. They are not normally a bother and are non-aggressive, but they are now. Wear your stuff. 

We'll all be on the water for the next several days. Will post an updated report if worthy.  In the meantime, y'all go try to find them just like we have to, and have fun doing it whether you want to or not.  Game on. 

Mike


9-22-06

The wind is scheduled to honk this weekend ahead of another norther. Should make things interesting for the Vaughn Construction group who has over 20 guides booked for their annual event. There's plenty of fish to go around though and the reds especially are making a good showing.  Billy Sandifer has 23 men fly-fishing down by the Mansfield jetties, so if you are happening to be driving down there, you might be especially careful of letting any trash get away from you. 

The stingrays are still quite abundant so y'all be careful. We'll put up a full report later. Tricia and JD are out there but I'm still laying up until tomorrow. 

We are putting up a little  video page  to help make some of those slow days at the office go a little faster. Have fun with them if you get bored. 


9-18-06

Yesterday was a personal day for us, so Tricia & I met up with Capt. Ernest Cisneros for a little shallow water sightcasting. The wind was forecast to reach SCA by early afternoon, but Ernest was right in that we would have about a 3 hour early window. We walked into a backwater area and found plenty of nice reds blowing bait in 8 to 10" of water. They were finicky and hard to catch, so it took some well placed shots to get 'em.  (Anybody who tells you that skinny water red-fishing isn't skill based hasn't done much of it.)  It was all good until time to walk back to the boat. Ernest & Tricia saw the situation and made it fine, but I walked into a literal mine field of stingrays and ended up getting hit. There were so many in there that you could see their tails waving in the air like long wispy blades of grass. Very aggressive, and while I was maneuvering around several that I could see, one little bastage decided to skewer me between my Achilles tendon & ankle bone. It could have been worse, but please be advised, that no matter what we do in this world, there's always someone around who wants a poke. Be careful out there.

PS...still working on pics & vids below...maybe now that I'm locked up for a bit we can get some 'net' work done. 


09-14-06 Update

Fishing has been medium to chinga hot salsa lately. Reds everywhere...tailing, grubbing, cruising, podding, schooling, the whole bit.  I even caught 4 on a fly this morning and missed what seemed like 40. Tails every where, sand, 6 inches of water.  On days with heavy cloud cover a lot of redfish are staying shallow and not pulling down.  Normal hot days = normal patterns. We finally got some more water in here. Yes!  We needed a fresh flush and the water conditions are excellent going north. South of town still has a funky look to it but it's still good. The floating grass situation has improved and water temps are easing down, helped in part by some recent good rains & cloud cover. Trout are already putting on some shoulders and we can expect to start seeing heavier weights. Most of the better ones are still hanging near the ICW and on deeper breaks. We're still using the same old baits...nothing new, just topwaters & tails, and there has been some great topwater action lately. It's been calm to light winds this week, but the pressure gradients are cranking up for the weekend ahead of a norther scheduled next Wednesday. That should shake a few things up. We're ready. 

News: We will try to post a bunch of pictures & videos from last month in the next day or so. Some good stuff coming. We are also working on linking all of the previous videos on one page. The little message forum we had up is going away. It was disgustingly slow for one thing, and now the spam heads have found it so it's a good place to buy some cheap Viagra.  We never got on it because it was just such a pain in the butt, so a new & improved one is coming that should work. We are also going through the request list for the Jan-Feb-March big trout stuff. You guys who want some of this might start looking at some dates. Personally, based on last year and what we've seen since...I can't wait. 

Check back later for the rest of the videos & other stuff. We're taking a little break here so perhaps we can get some chores done. As for ya'll, you really need to get back to work. As for us, well what can we say. Life is a Trip!

Videos~> 32.wmv MoreTerry.wmv GiammalvaReds.wmv Cody_Renee.Wmv MurchisonFly.wmv

07-16-06

Well how fast can a month go? Sorry for no reports (busy here), but in short, the fishing has been pretty good. Lot's of floating grass and lots of boats, but there's some great fish to be had for those who will look closely and work hard. The water is still in great shape, schools of reds are getting bigger... and so are the trout. Here's just a couple of shots for now. Some good video later. 


06-14-06 10pm. 

Uploads & grunt work in progress. Lot's of good stuff so stay tuned. 

June is half over but the 'high' season has started off great. There's lot's of fishing going on and most folks are doing well if they want to.  Several days have seen pulled split rings, personal best fish and slapping high fives. We've been working the reds over pretty hard lately with some 70 plus fish days.  Several of them have been over-sized which makes for one heck of a topwater explosion. Some good trout have been in the mix as well, but of course few have the heavy weight they did a few weeks ago.  As of late there has been virtually no wind until after lunch and that can make the bite interesting. The over all water levels are down and that's put a lot of fish in depressions, off of deeper breaks and near the ICW. Floating grass can become an issue but there are ways to work through it. There has been some great topwater days (mostly with Jr. sizes), but tails are more consistent ...

More later~> much more. 

Also, trying to redeem ourselves for the lack of reports, maybe some of you office boys might enjoy 'Slides.wmv' below. It's just a mix of miscellaneous shots, but it might give you a little fix if you can't go right now. 

Videos~> RussellWebb.wmv (23 megs) Slides.wmv (6.8 megs) Sandford_June.wmv (12.6 megs) ShortOne.wmv (9.3 megs)
Oberski28.wmv (2.2megs)

05-31-06 Update

O.K. May is done and June is here. We have a lot of great videos & pictures to post up, but all I can say is that if you have a bunch of time to jack around on a computer you aren't fishing very much. Too all of you guys waiting on your photo/video stuff, we totally understand, but e-bombs, phone prods, rich whining and cheap bribes won't get them done any faster. (Matter of fact, it's not all that hard to PhotoShop 30 lbs of flab on someone and stuff them in a pink thong. You know who you are and you know what you'd look like on the WORLD WIDE web.)   Soooo, hang just a bit longer if possible. 

In the meantime, the overall summary for May is that it was hit or miss. The hits were numerous and very good, but some of the misses were absolutely horrible. We had some significant wind days and other down periods which defied explanation, but that's just fishing. We can't show you pictures of the bad days because there was nothing to take pictures of, but hopefully we'll get the good stuff up soon. As for now, topwaters are still working well for both trout & reds, mostly early, but tails are more consistent. Floating grass is starting to be a problem, but easy to negotiate with a few little techniques. Larger reds are podding up deep in several areas but the skinny sight casting deal is becoming more dependable and fun. Trout are running thinner but long fish are still active, mostly in areas nearer to the ditch.  Weekends are seeing a lot more boat traffic, especially from the long shaft bait crowd. (Combat techniques apply.) The water is in great shape, and all in all, it's shaping up to be a fun summer. 


05-02-06

Here are a couple of more pics from last week. (The new John Kafka video  is also up). In short, fishing has been good for bigger fish but it's hit or miss. Saturday was horrible and I don't care who you were you didn't catch much down here. A windy weather event the night before seemed to push them off to where we couldn't get to them and the water was void all day.  Other than that, a good topwater bite is still happening early but mid-day is calling for more tails. The water is still gorgeous but that may not be where you want to be for best results.  

There have been some really large trout out on the prowl. We are seeing some scary ones but catching them is a different story. We have had a few 29's but the ones we're talking about are of a different class. Richie Hominga was doing a 'check' drift with Capt. Tricia and stuck a 19" trout on a topwater. (We know it was 19 because he boxed it.) Immediately after the blow-up the world exploded and Richie's drag took off like a porpoise. It was a huge trout and was no 10 pounder. Over the years we have taken mullet up to 17" out of some large trout that died, but 19" is a massive meal. One day someone will catch one of these beast...soon if I have anything to do with it.  Tricia also had one of 'these' fish hit her at the rod tip. It came straight at her and almost took her head off. We know that stories are stories lol, but the slack-jawed guys next to her said if it went 1 pound it went 13. She had no chance at landing that one, but did stick a 29 1/4" soon after. She's STILL mumbling about the miss. 

J.D. has been doing well also with one of his clients landing his personal best at 28".  Came from down south on a SuperSpook Jr. 

Anyway, crowd-wise, the complexion of the bay has changed into a summer pattern.  Croaker are being shipped here now and the masses have come out to play. Plus, there are a lot of boats running south from Corpus and from cabins in the Land Cut. We really don't understand a lot of this as there is an incredible bite going on further north and gas prices have jumped again.  We just hope that some of these larger fish caught, if not headed to the taxidermist, get to swim and get bigger. 

In the meantime, Tricia will be out there every day but I'm outta here for a week. The dermatologist said so. Y'all wear your sunscreen...hear? (!)

Mike

Video   Donne29.wmv  (11.8 megs)


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