Welcome to the Texas Sporting Journal Online


By Kenny Redin

Port Mansfield, Texas- A high-powered group of Texas outdoor writers, staff members of Texas Sporting Journal and a fine representation of Cabela’s staff members gathered at Port Mansfield July 8-10. It was titled “Texas Sporting Journal/Cabela’s” field trip. Purpose was to learn how to fish the waters of this charming fishing destination and to learn more about silting problems that have plagued this area for several years now. (See related story on silting at Mansfield on this website).

Terry Neal, President of the Port Mansfield Chamber of Commerce and local fishing guide arranged eight of Mansfield’s finest guides to teach those in attendance how to fish the area… mainly for redfish and trout.

I had the pleasure of pairing up with Captain Mike McBride on Monday. He’s a wade fishing guru and certainly knows his stuff. “Once in the boat, he told myself, Shannon Tompkins and Rusty Edwards of Cabela’s that conditions have been tough down here due to over 12 inches of rainfall in the past 24-hours. Also, the wind has played havoc with us most of the summer and fishing just isn’t up to par,” he said.

We left Mansfield harbour at 7:00 a.m. and traveled more than 45-minutes before our 1st stop. After watching a pack of coyotes chasing birds on a spoil island and a lone Nilgai standing atop an island, we motored into an area called Rattlesnake. “We’ve been fishing this area recently and catching a good number of keeper redfish,” McBride said.

Fifteen minutes into our 1st wade, McBride hooked into a hefty 23 inch redfish. Just to our right, a companion boat captained by Trish Buchen with Cabela’s angler Raymond Faulknor had redfish going, as well. Final tally on that first wade-fishing jaunt was three keeper redfish and a couple of throwbacks.

Just about every stop we made, we either caught several keeper-size reds or a handful of throwbacks. It was tough, however. There was about a foot of fresh water on top of the saltwater column in this thigh deep water we were fishing. “All of this freshwater has just thrown the redfish and trout into a funk,” McBride said.

At about noon, the wind had picked up to the point that it was just unbearable fishing, so we headed back to Mansfield But on a good note, our two boats had six keeper redfish and three keeper trout. McBride said, “on a good day, we would have probably limited out on reds and been close to limits on trout.”

Once, we returned to dock and chatted with other guides and field trip attendees, we felt rather fortunate. Some boats had a fish or two, one or two boats had about what we had and another boat limited on trout. Not too bad considering the circumstances.

On Tuesday morning, I had the fortune of fishing with Captain Trish. Our goal for that morning was to fish somewhat closer to Mansfield and focus on redfish with topwaters. Water chop was not nearly as fierce as the day before, so Trish thought we might do some good on topwaters.

Tossing Mirrorlure Top Dogs, we encountered plenty of strikes fishing in knee deep water. But, with everything else being unsettled (water & weather), the redfish were acting just as sporadic. Between Trish, myself and TSJ graphic director, Aaron Bergman, we had blow ups from jumbo-size reds and several nice specks, but they just wouldn’t inhale the bait. Trish switched to plastics, hoping to entice the finicky feeders…but here again…those fish are just not acting normal. We ended up the day with two keeper reds, one trout and caught several undersized reds.

This was the first time I had fished Mansfield. It’s not a destination that you pass through going somewhere else. You’ve got to be going to Mansfield and Mansfield only. But, after fishing this area for two days under dire conditions, it’s not going to be long before we’ll head that way again. Trish said, “Give this region two weeks, that is if it quits raining and you’re going to witness some of the best bay fishing in Texas.” And, I’ll agree, as well! There’s a myriad of fishing opportunities in Mansfield. There’s wade fishing in knee deep water to chest deep depths. For those who don’t like crabs biting your ankles, drift fishing from boats in anywhere from three to 10 feet of water offers the anglers unlimited opportunities. Fly-fishing is also very popular in and around Mansfield. Sight casting for reds is excellent in the summer and fall months. The water is shallow and clear, plus this bay system is teaming with baitfish that keep the predators on the move and within casting distance much of the morning.

We’re going to give Mansfield another try in late August. I’ve fished from Freeport to the Land Cut and everywhere in between. Can’t knock these regions either. But I believe that the Port Mansfield area has got as much potential or more than most regions along the Texas coast. And the fishing pressure is light compared to some other coastal regions. My advice, book a guide and get down there before September 1 and catch a mess of trout and reds. Speckled trout limits change from 10 a day to five a day on September 1,2007. One main question arose. If you put in south of Marker 21 and run north of that marker and catch a limit (which is 10 trout per day). TP&W’s answer is simple. If you launch south of Marker 21 you better have 5 trout per person regardless of where you caught them.

Guides To Book
Captain Trish Buchen
email: shell@grandriver.net

Captain Mike McBride

The Port Mansfield Sunset House served as host hotel for the Field trip group. Ed and Debbie Freeman, owners have recently renovated the popular hotel and have added many new features and new beds to this clean and modern lodge. Besides having regular hotel rooms, they offer two bedroom apartments for larger groups that included a full kitchens. On weekends, on-site manager Susie Rodriquez hosts a continental breakfast for Sunset House guests. Mansfield’s most popular lodge is located at 1144 S. Port Drive. Give them a call and they can also arrange fishing guide services.

Port Mansfield Sunset House

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