Port Mansfield Fishing Charters
Hidden near the southernmost point of Texas, 140 miles south of Corpus Christi, is the small fishing town of Port Mansfield. Though still relatively unknown to the world outside Texas, those in the know recognize Port Mansfield as a wonderful, secluded semi-tropical destination for anyone interested in abundant wildlife and excellent fishing. Just outside the Port Mansfield Harbor begins the expanse of the Laguna Madre, miles of crystal clear water, and white sand beaches. On the other side of this island the Gulf of Mexico holds world-class offshore fishing. This proximity and easy access to such bountiful waters has led sports editors and experts to describe Port Mansfield as “one of the best fishing areas in the country”. Populations of local game fish are dependable enough that fishing tournaments are scheduled regularly between March and October, with some months featuring multiple events.
The Laguna Madre extends inland from the Gulf of Mexico and lies between the Texas mainland and Padre Island as the longest barrier island in the United States. It is also the only lagoon in the country saltier than the ocean, yet it is prime habitat for fish. Tidal currents are weak, encouraging many species of local game fish to live and propagate, happily sheltered from many predators. These shallow and clear, Caribbean-like waters are a favorite location for fly fishing. Local guides are available to take you on some epic flats-fishing adventures rivaled only by locations in the West Indies or Florida Keys. A lighted, 500-foot public fishing pier at the county park on the Laguna Madre gives great access to less experienced anglers and those who can only get away for an hour or two. Just nine miles from Port Mansfield Harbor is the Gulf of Mexico, home to larger, more exciting game. Local charters and guides quickly navigate through the Port Mansfield Channel, bringing you into Gulf waters within minutes.
Laguna Madre is home to abundant populations of Speckled Trout, Sand Trout, Flounder, seasonal Snook, and many other popular species, including a steady influx of Tarpon and Redfish from local hatcheries. These shallow waters make sight fishing easy, whether by boat, wading, or casting a line from shore. Trout prefer to live in shallow bays during spring and summer, and will move into deeper Gulf regions to escape cooler water during fall. The climate in south Texas provides for year-round masses of some of the largest Speckled Sea Trout in the world, frequently reaching sizes of over ten pounds in weight. Redfish remain in bays while young, before moving into deeper Gulf waters as adults; and weights surpassing 35 pounds are not uncommon here. Most adult Flounder leave the bays and enter the Gulf for spawning during the winter, returning again in early spring; but many remain behind, continuing to grow and reach sizes up to 13 pounds. Black Drum spend all their time in very shallow water, and can be landed at weights over 30 pounds. Kingfish up to 100 pounds are also prime targets in these waters, where big Tarpon are also extremely active. Expert local guides can get you, by boat or wading, into the best boggy or hard sand bottom areas from which to fill your limits of big fish. Offshore fishing charters reach into the Gulf quickly, thanks to the short Port Mansfield Channel. Reliable sizes and numbers of Smoker, Kings, Cobia, and Snapper may be caught within sight of the beach; while Blackfin Tuna, Amberjack, Grouper, and Mako Sharks are often taken within 25 miles of the jetties. The world record for Red Snapper, weighing 9.75 pounds, was caught here. Farther out into the Gulf lurk trophies of larger and more battle-proven species like Spanish Mackerel, Sailfish and Blue Marlin. Charter trips as short as a few hours can bring you great rewards on the bays and in coastal waters; while longer trips can last a full day and even overnight, if your arms and back can take it.
Calcasieu Lake and the Sabine Lake area are not as crowded as other, more popular Texas bays and waterways, and fishing trips into these waters can bring you immediately into a lot of fish, and some very busy action. Connecting rivers and streams constantly replenish these nutrient-filled waters, further enhancing populations of Speckled Trout, Redfish, and Flounder. Spring fishing patterns are dictated by runoff from Sam Rayburn and Toledo Bend Lakes during spring (February through May). Flounder grow big and numerous in the bayous, while large Specks hang out in the passes and flats. Top water action heats up with the summer weather (June through August), when Trout and Redfish feed on massive schools of baitfish. In the fall (September through December) these lakes and streams are practically stocked with Flounder migrating from the bayous, while Redfish and Stripers continue to thrive well into winter. These seasons also enhance the numbers of local Trout, Snapper, Carp, Bass, Catfish, Sheephead, and many other species that frequent the waters around Sea Rim State Park. Offshore charters from Sabine Pass, Pleasure Island, and Sea Rim State Park bring you up to 200 miles away from the Gulf coastlines, and target thrilling sport fish, like Marlin, Dolphin, Wahoo, Tuna, and Swordfish, to name a few.
Any effect the change of seasons may have on the local fish populations is minimal, since they don’t need to travel very far to remain in warm, comfortable waters. With all active fishing grounds so close, the locals have virtually perfected the art of flats and offshore fishing. Guides to the Laguna Madre have even developed the New Water Boatworks Curlew, a boat judged to be the best flats skiff ever created. Here it is possible to spend more time fishing and less time boating through deeper, rough waters on the way to the hot spots.