Hooked Up: May 2024

Hooked Up: May 2024
Marc Peeler with Bayou City Anglers tricked this gorgeous trout while grinding with a Bass Assassin on a not-so-friendly high barometer day. Released very healthy!

Almost daily someone on the deck of the big Haynie will ask me, “Rowsey, what’s the best month to fish down here?” Well, I guess that depends on your individual goals, but I will say that May is hard to beat when it comes to getting lots of bites without sacrificing the quality of the fish.

I’ll be the first to admit that I no longer document every outing nowadays like I did for 25 years. Lucky for me, God blessed me with a fish brain, (Sally would confirm this). Seriously, I’m not good at remembering much, but I can remember when, where, what lure, and with whom I caught fish many years ago. I know a number of fishermen that can do the same and we all agree that sometimes it’s more of a curse than a blessing. Saying that, my fish brain rewinds the tape to every month of May from years past and it’s like opening a box that is big enough to hold a new gun on Christmas morning when you were 12 years old. The anticipation is high as you finally get to see the print on the package that says Winchester.

May is the acid test for how the rest of the summer may go here in the Lagoon and Baffin. The full moon that falls closest to the end of April and beginning of May will bring us the biggest and (hopefully) cleanest push of ocean water we receive all year.

We are really going to need it this year as we have a brown algae bloom that has been creeping in on us for a couple months now. This has been confirmed through samplings by Dr. Mike Wetz, Chair for Coastal Ecosystem Processes at the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies. As of now, 390,000 to 1.3 million cells per milliliter have been detected in numerous samples between Laguna Salada and Alazan to the Tide Guage Bar. However, more samples are being pulled as we speak towards the mouth, and also waters that lie north and south of Baffin Bay.

Looking at the glass half full, these have popped up numerous times over the past 15 years and have been diluted by clean water from the gulf. The flip side is not as positive for guys like me that like to target visible structure such as potholes and rocks. Super bright lures that make a lot of noise will become your confidence plugs if this stuff hangs around. Saying all of that, trout are not leaving the bay system if this bloom is prolonged. Just a little harder to target. Surface bait activity will certainly be your best chance of pinpointing them if the brown water prevails.

With the big push of water that comes at the beginning of the month, also comes a big push of fish. I’m not a biologist, rather some guy that just happens to cover more miles in a year by boat than car or truck. I’ve read and heard everything from both sides when it comes to trout migrations, or if there even is one. I’m a believer in three kinds; bay trout that never leave, surf trout that never come in, and the tide runners that certainly make themselves present every year through the Land Cut.

There used to be much debate amongst friends on this theory. The non-believers tend to think it’s not possible without scientific evidence. However, those of us who are out most every day can recognize them as easy as our own child in a crowd. Shorter, stronger, pale yellow mouths, and shoulders like JJ Watts – there is zero doubt that these are non-resident fish when you walk into them. It’s OK if you need Dr Fauci’s stamp of approval to be a believer, but in the meantime just go enjoy the bounty and call them “Baffin trout.” I don’t think anyone will have much to say as long as the drag is peeling and the water is frothed.

The migration comes up from the south via the Land Cut. Areas like the Rocky Slough shoreline and every submerged hump or spoil island will have the potential to hold good ones. Soft Dines, MirrOdines, She Dogs and Bass Assassins are my go-to lures during the time these fish pass through and replenish the bay. Mullet and shad will make up the vast majority of the food chain and all of these lures are great replications of the exact thing they are following into the bay to gorge on.

Remember the Buffalo! -Capt David Rowsey