Out with old in with the new. I know this doesn’t necessarily pertain to fishing but I can’t help but think of it when May comes around. This time of year the waters are warmer and we are seeing a transition in fishing patterns. Lately I have witnessed schools of smaller mullet and other baitfish on our sandy, outer shorelines of our major bay systems. This is encouraging given that we lost so many baitfish during the freeze back in February. Even more encouraging, I am also seeing good numbers of hungry gamefish trailing these schools of bait.
Trout numbers should continue to increase on the shorelines of Espiritu Santo, San Antonio, and West Matagorda. Since the winds are typically more tolerable at sunrise, I start my days on windward shorelines where the catching has been most productive. These windward shorelines usually have just the right amount of off-colored water when the wind isn’t too bad. Off-colored water is considered structure, the same as grassbeds and grass lines, offering camouflage and ambush opportunities for predators.
Winds typically pick up by mid-morning forcing me to move to leeward shorelines. You are probably wondering, “how much wind is too much?” Well, if waves start crashing over my shoulders and I am no longer able to fancast the area, able to cast only straight downwind, this is when I think it’s time to relocate to a calmer area. When making the move, I typically focus on leeward shorelines with the most pronounced guts and abundant grass. These locations will hold the most baitfish, which is key when looking for an area to fish.
Look for water that has potential for catching. In that I mean, you want to see swirls, bait jumping, or any other surface activity that would indicate the presence of feeding gamefish. I definitely prefer to see these signs before committing to wading the area. Fishing in springtime is quite different than wintertime. Most productive areas in winter show few if any signs of surface activity because most of the feeding takes place nearer the bottom and more difficult for anglers to observe.
I also favor outside shorelines that lie adjacent to openings to back lakes, often referred to as drains or creeks. Please keep in mind though, many of our back lakes have only one way in and out. Don’t be the angler that camps in front of these openings because you will surely get run over by boaters that have no other access to the lakes. If you are not familiar with the back lakes in the Port O’Connor-Seadrift area and don’t know which openings may be a busy waterway, you should avoid setting up directly in front of the openings. Fishing to either side can often be just as productive.
If you have yet to enjoy much success with topwaters, May can be a great time to change your luck. I will opt for larger, noisier plugs like the full-size Super Spooks in choppy and off-colored water. The opposite applies in calmer and clearer water. Try the Super Spook Jr. instead. If you are fishing with a buddy or two, try a topwater while your buddy uses a soft plastic. It's always interesting to see which lure will get the most attention on any given day.
Some days we will get a ton of blowups and few hookups. When this happens I usually have the client throwing soft plastics cast alongside the angler using the surface plug. Almost without fail, those finicky surface feeders will nail the soft plastic. Blowups alone are so exciting that it is not uncommon for me to leave a topwater on all day, whether I am hooking fish or not. On days when topwaters are especially effective, the only reason we take them off is due to floating grass.
Don’t let the strong winds keep you at home. May is a great month to fish and because we are lucky to have so many protected back lakes and shorelines on the mid-coast, we can all enjoy great catches if we remain patient, respectful of other anglers, and our resources.I want to give a big shout out to my mom. She is undoubtedly the best mother in the whole, wide world (yes, I am a little biased). She is the wind beneath my wings and I would not be the angler and teaching guide I am today if it weren’t for her. Happy Birthday AND Happy Mother’s Day Mom. I love you more!
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