Skinny Water Adventures
Port Mansfield Fishing Reports 2004
12-29-04 Today was picture perfect with full sun and SE winds less than 5 mph all morning. The water temp rose to 62F in the harbor. We met our good friend Capt. Ernest Cisneros who was graciously treating Mike and I with a poling trip on the spoils south of the Arroyo Colorado. Despite the fact that just four days ago we had a record snow fall for the first time in over a hundred years, we found the redfish up skinny and exactly where Ernest predicted they would be. At first they were sluggish and obviously not ready to eat, but as the sun rose a little higher we had plenty of shots at sunning redfish. It was a World Class sight casting adventure with numerous takers on the famous paddle tail. I ended up with a true beast that went 40 inches. We also saw several good trout moving up shallow and look forward to some trophy adventures with them as well. It's time.
Here's a few photo's of the day and some great footage. Clip #2 shows what can happen with a good guide, but it's quite long so you need hi-speed access. Enjoy, and see you here. When? Capt. Tricia
12-28-04 Here's a few pics of a white Port Christmas. We didn't get what other areas did but it was historical just the same. A few fish have been caught on the flats but it seems as most fish are still holding deep & suspended. Many excellent catches in deeper areas. Water readings from the harbor are showing between 54 & 56, slowly climbing, with light SE, full sun and a dropping barometer. Look for some impressive catches very soon.
12-26-04 Bluebird day with full sun and winds less than 10 mph. Low 47 hi 64. The last norther really rocked the fish's world. The area received about 3.5 "of snow and the water temp in the harbor dropped from 66.5 to 48F. Areas that normally hold post norther fish were void, and as of yet, nothing seems to have ventured back to the shorelines. However, full limits were caught both yesterday and today on tails in about 10' of water. Almost all of the trout were full of large mullet and one red had a small snook in it's stomach. We did see several dead trout floating off of the West shoreline and also counted one dead turtle. All were small though and nothing indicated any kind of major damage. It may take another day or two of sun to pull them out of the bomb shelters....but we'll find out tomorrow.
If everybody's not tired of snow pictures yet I'll post some from here later. Palm trees & snow?
12-23-24 Bad Boy norther from yesterday continues to slip in, expected to be re-enforced with freezing precip. by tonight. Here's the current water temp reading in the harbor and going south fast. How low will she go? How awesome will fishing be starting Monday when things start to recover?
12-21-04 Went to Rockport to test a new boat, visit a little, and accidentally fish some old water. Great day, with south winds going to about 20 in the afternoon, mostly clear skies and mid 70 degree air. After a 5 minute boat run I saw a pig of a trout on the bank with a bunch of horse mullet. Before we could shut down a couple of red submarines told on themselves as they blasted off the shoreline. We had limits of upper slot reds in about 30 minutes on tails and caught & released several more. John Blaha went to a pink Corky and started catching some nice trout. Wish we would have started before noon!...but it was supposed to be a boat test. All went well there also....more on that later...
Here's a few clips. ( Also See the "Clip of the Week" on the home page.)
12-19-04 Awesome day both weather & fish wise. Started at 45 degrees and went to 72 full sun. Lt. NW winds dropping from 15 to 10mph. Tides overall are up about 8" since the 14th but still down about a foot from normal. J.D. had full limits of trout, most of them just solid fish between 18 and 21" with a few good reds in the mix. All from south of town. All on tails in thigh deep water. Yesterday he had an over 30" trout that he was trying to release at the boat. He thought she was calmed down, but she thrashed hard and drove a treble hook from a topwater through his finger. Had to push it the rest of the way out and cut the barb. Y'all be careful out there.
12-18-04 Northers for the past week or so have dropped the water temps from about 70 to upper 50's in the harbor. There have been a lot of good catches both before and after the blows. Traditional winter holes have been productive on tails and good fish have pulled in skinny as soon as north winds start to diminish. This time of year patterns are fairly predictable, pleasant, and with very little boat traffic. Today it was mostly just below waist deep stuff over grass/mud. Fished up north.
Here's a few recent pics. Yesterday we had Capt. Aubrey Black who brought Bert S and Bruce down. Aubrey had bought a trip to help Capt. Danny Neu with medical expenses from his accident. We tagged up with the Millers from San Antonio and wrapped up the day by having an awesome meal with some of the catch cooked at the Fisherman's. Winter is one of the most fun times to fish in Mansfield.
Tricia starts early as usual.
David & Mike Miller. Corky trout...released
Bruce with a nice little chunk. See short clip below.
Just another day in paradise...
a couple of fun clips...
12-08-04 Wed Wind was predicted to stay north at 10. Didn't happen, and the weathermen down here would be better off using a silver dollar coin flip. Anyway, PC, wind light N shifting to E then SE about 10. Water temp is still mid to upper 60's up on the flats. Water cleared rapidly except where the ducks mucked everything up. Went looking around just cuz. Ended up drifting by NE Pocket and sight casting trout & reds. No big numbers, but very fun picking them off. Very clear. Found a few solid trout to about 23" deeper off of some spoils. Still a tail deal...no blow-ups. Came in about 2pm. Just a fun, quiet, peaceful, personal day. Didn't take any pictures, but here's a little running video just for fun. Need High Speed Access. Short, but it's almost 7megs.
12-07-04 Tue Weak norther slipped in just before sunup, overcast, winds NW about 20 gust 25 but subsiding by late afternoon. Some bait back up shallow ( 12 to 18" over grass/sand/mud), but the reds were doing their thing again....big time. Many groups of birds over many grubbing reds. Several ran 27-28", all sight casting with tails. Zero topwater bite. Only 2 trout, 20 to 21". Pictured is Jerry Courtney. We retired to the El Jefe dock for a late lunch. Killer.
12-06-04 Mon South winds at 10 building to over 20 by noon. Trout in deeper areas (3 to 5'), off colored water, on bottom, tails. Most were 15-21"...no big ones. Tough bite but were there if you wanted to pound it. Quit early, about 20 trout for 3 people. Very few reds. No bait or activity up shallow.
12-05-04 Sun low 62 hi 80. Light NNW, calm by sunup, then switching to south at 20 by mid-day.
12-02-04 Thur NNE 5 to 15, 59L, 66H
12-1-04 The wind backed off last night to about 10 North. Overcast, but nice day with water rapidly clearing. Bait moving back shallow. Only saw one large trout. Reds not in the same areas...yet. Just went out to make a quick round.
11-30-04 Blow-out norther....hit about 5Am. NNW. Temp fell to low 50's from high 80's of yesterday.
11-29-04 Winds started at 20 SSE and honked to near 30 S and gusty by noon.
Nov 6th thru 28th Well ...the fish came back after the little Thanksgiving norther and have been out in full force. The past few sessions have again been awesome. Many fish up shallow, with pods of reds grubbing head to head in the muck and scattered large trout up on the clear skinny flats. Many trout were in 6 to 10" of water but uncatchable for us. The reds were great fun though. We cast to wakes, mud boils, tails, and several dense pods of what looked to be 20 or 30 fish each. You can see some of them in the pics. The dark circles under the gulls are solid fish. Here's Jim from Minnesota. His light spinning rig got quite a work out. It was all tails...virtually zero top water bite.
11-24-04 The tide dropped out on us about 6", so the fish we have been working over pulled out a little deeper. Winds kicked in early to over 30 North by 10:00. I fished with Capt. Ron Ellisor from Clear Lake who also has a house here. We waded a few new places looking for a big nasty trout in the face of the norther. Didn't happen, just a few small ones, but a few rubber grubbers were still willing to play. Here's Ron messing with one. Tricia and J.D. did the duck thing. Their birds didn't start flying until the gale blew so they stayed late. Needless to say the airboat trip home was interesting. Baaaad stuff coming into the harbor with heavy north wind. Y'all be careful.
11-22-04 Awesome day. We had Lloyd Rainey down from Dripping Springs. The weather is supposed to turn rough with an approaching norther so today was a nice window of opportunity. We started off in a shin deep soft bottom with winds about 10 South, down from 20 last night. Tricia & Lloyd walked into massive amounts of reds frothing up a little bleeder gut. Lloyd had his little Chug bug annihilated until his arms had enough and left them biting. I walked out to see if some bigger trout would play. They didn't, but I managed this beast in the picture near the shoreline. It went 33" but strapped a whopping 16# on the boga. It was in less than shin deep water and I was able to sight cast to it. Tricia found this nice trout before we moved. Next stop had several groups of birds working low over reds. Tails were tight and thick. We waded with them and just kept throwing into the melee of grubbing grubberheads. Here's a few pics. We also caught trout but the bite was funky. The reds were full of tiny shrimp....
11-16-04 Today I had Willie, Brian and Clint down from Galveston. We went back south and had a great morning topwater session. We waded a knee-deep soft bottom with scattered grass beds. I stayed with the Spook Jr. as did Willie & Brian, but Clint threw the natural pattern Skitterwalk near the shoreline and did very well. The trout were in there too and started biting when the wind picked up. I had a fat 24.5 and Willie released a 27 or so. The girths were impressive. Here's the boys. We got a good photo of Willie's fish but we'll have to wait until we can get it developed.
11-15-04 Fishing has been absolutely stellar for the past few days. Tricia & I took the airboat south and found good concentrations of reds in several areas. The water levels are up and a lot of fish have moved with it. Most were in shin to knee deep water over soft bottoms, with scattered singles making mud boils and pods of 30-50 roaming more open water. I stayed with a Super Spook Jr. and of course Tricia kept her pumpkinseed tail on. We made one good wade, and although they were acting funky...(chasing the bait, spooking, etc,) we managed to pull more than our fair share and had a great time. The weather was mostly cloudy with S-SE winds, going from near calm to 15-20 by noon.
Here's a little pic. Click for full view.