The winds in South Texas have continued to crank as they always do this time of year. Seeking protected shorelines holding concentrations of baitfish and fishing windward edges of potholes has been our primary focus most days on the water. When the winds grace us with a little slack we’ve had some great action in areas that are typically blown-out. I look forward to these times as there is not much like walking into hungry trout that you know haven’t already been sore-lipped. Late spring is special that way, you put up with a lot of bad for just a chance at that window of opportunity when all the good things come together. Look for May to offer many more opportunities like this than March and April.
We started seeing water pushing through the Landcut during April. This push of “clean” ocean water brings lots of gifts with it, not the least of which are oxygen-rich currents flowing into Baffin Bay delivering mullet, shad, shrimp, menhaden and, most importantly, tide runner trout. Science is somewhat on the fence whether or not trout actually travel from the surf at Port Mansfield up the Landcut and into Baffin. But I beg to differ. I am no scientist, but I and anyone who has fished down here long enough knows without a doubt that this does indeed take place. The rate at which trout come through varies year to year but the migration will happen on some scale.
The difference between our local fish and the tide runners is about as obvious as comparing a poodle to a wolf. If you have caught enough of both, you certainly know what I’m speaking of. Tide runners are a very silvery fish with larger spots, on average. They are a shorter and broader fish than most of what we see in Baffin. Their mouths are a whitewashed orange versus the tangerine-colored mouths of our resident trout and, my favorite aspect is that they seem to have considerably more fight in them. Seriously, a 20 inch surf trout seems to be at least 25- to 50-percent stronger than the same length Baffin resident. If you are lucky enough to step off into these surf trout that are in excess of 25 inches you will think you are fighting a redfish every time. Their aggressiveness and willingness to eat is legendary and will offer some of the most action-packed topwater bites you could ever imagine. Being on and catching these fish from May through June has made for many sleepless nights in anticipation of getting back on the water day after day. Contact me if you would like to a part of it over the next couple months. My summertime books are officially open now for both new and old clients.
May has long been a favorite month of mine. Wet wading has begun, the fish are extremely active, bait is abundant, and the weather tends to be mostly cooperative. If you have someone you are trying to break into wade fishing now is about as good as it gets. Lots of bites, bent rods, and any lure you want to throw will produce lots of action. Add it all up and May makes for especially fun days on the water.
May is also when we start seeing lots of slicks in Baffin. Gorging trout that have been making a mess out of menhaden will be burping them up throughout the day, basically leaving a breadcrumb trail as to their location. Important thing about slicks is the smaller the better. Slicks drift fast and get larger as they go. It is imperative that you look upwind of the slick to find what structure the trout are staging on. For example; a slick as large as your boat probably originated 100 yards upwind and that’s where you want to be.
I couldn’t help but notice my first sighting of a yellow flag bumping in the wind at a marina the other day. For now, the three fish trout limit is still in effect. Last year this seemed to keep the “kill crowd” more focused on drum and reds versus trout. I’m hopeful this “croaker season” will be likewise slower than normal. The spring and summer of 2024 will have trout limits reverting back to five daily between 15- and 25-inches and the filet tables will probably look like fruit stands again. I just shake my head sometimes at how we take three steps back to go one step forward.Remember the buffalo! -Capt David Rowsey