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March 04, 2011

5 Top North American Fishing Lodges

Try these destinations for your next fishing trip

Getaway Adventures Lodge

Getaway Adventures Lodge

Port Mansfield, Texas, 956-944-4000,

Location: Getaway Adventures Lodge lies 43 miles north of the Texas/Mexico border in Port Mansfield. The surrounding South Texas brush land hosts loads of wildlife, and the nearby Laguna Madre is one of three navigable, hypersaline lagoons in the northern hemisphere. Its depth averages less than 2 feet.

Fishing seasons/­expectations: The lower Laguna Madre has produced numerous line-class world-record trout. Peak time for trophy trout runs from late December through mid-March, when 7- to 8-pounders are caught.

August to November comprises the best redfishing months, as bulls work the beach and juveniles migrate to the Gulf of Mexico.

Along the beach, tarpon fishing begins in mid-May and continues through mid-December. Expect four to eight shots a day at fish ­averaging 60 to 70 pounds.

Offshore, anglers find red snapper, tuna (September to February), sailfish (April to August) and wahoo (December to midMay).

Lodge records: The largest trout caught at the lodge weighed just over 12 pounds. The biggest redfish would tag in at 35-plus pounds.

A typical day's outing: The typical day starts with a buffet breakfast followed by a run to the flats or to the Gulf. Anglers throw primarily artificial baits in the bay, though dead shrimp and cut mullet are available for novices. Anglers may also choose to wade, drift or troll; fishing occurs over grasslines, gravel and sand potholes.

Offshore, captains troll for pelagics or bottomfish for snapper (beeliners, red, gray and dog), grouper and lings (cobia).

Average climate/weather expectations: December to mid-March, air temperatures hover in the 60s and water in the 50s. Winds remain relatively light.

March to mid-June means fishing in high winds - 35 to 45 mph sustained winds are not uncommon; 25 mph is normal. Captains find protected waters.

June to early September: Anglers can expect 90 to 95 degrees on the water with light winds until noon, followed by stronger winds. Water temps in the 70- to 80-degree range keep waders cool. In fall, air temperatures drop into the 80s and 70s with water temps in the 60s.

Getting there: Fly-in guests primarily use Valley Inter-national in Harlingen - 40 miles away - which is served by Continental Express and Southwest airlines. The lodge provides pickup and delivery per client request.

kingfish Vessel information: On the bay, captains use 20- to 25-foot Dargel and Explorer flats skiffs powered by Honda or Suzuki outboards. Most skiffs are equipped with Power-Poles; a few captains cater to sight-casting, and equip their boats with casting and poling platforms.

Offshore boats include a 36-foot Ocean Master and a 32-foot Mako express, and are rigged with Lowrance HDS10M fish finder/plotters and Furuno radars.

Available tackle: All boats are equipped with top-of-the-line ­products by Penn, Berkley, Abu Garcia, Shakespeare, Pflueger and All-Star Rods. Berkley and Bomber Saltwater Grade baits make up the bulk of lures.

Accommodations: The lodge has eight guestrooms showcasing a Texas/Southwest theme. Six rooms come with bunks (lower bunks are doubles) and private bath/showers. Two rooms provide king beds with tub/showers. The lodge plans for single occupancy in bunkrooms, but will lodge two anglers per room for larger groups or if space dictates.

Outdoor common areas feature a hot tub and pool, and an ­expansive outdoor deck with kitchen and pavilion. Docks are lighted for guests to fish at night. Inside, the fully stocked game room has a large, flat-screen high-definition TV.

2011 packages: Two days/three nights is $575 to $750 per person with a minimum booking of three people. Anglers may customize packages for split bay and offshore trips.

Provisions for taking home fish: The lodge processes and freezes fish to the client's request, and will pack it in soft coolers as carry-on baggage. Getaway can also freeze and ship fish via Federal Express.