Reports & Forecasts: May 2007

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe | Big Lake Guide Service | 337.598.3268
Get ready for the “BIG” girls and some heart pumping action. May is the number one month for catching trophy trout in Calcasieu Lake. This is largely because the large female trout (laden with eggs) will be at their heaviest. May is the month where our weather just seems to pull itself together to bring an abundance of bait into our area. Brown shrimp will be migrating, black clouds of young menhaden (pogies) and mullet will be schooling all over the lake, and the trout, reds and flounder will be gorging themselves. The most productive areas will be over the reefs in both the lake and in the West cove area. The lures of choice will be topwaters! She and He Dogs, Top Dogs, Ghosts, Super Spooks, Skitterwalks and any other dogwalking or jerk bait will be effective. If you are after quantity rather than quality, check out the action under the screaming gulls. Yes, the birds will also be working with schooling trout and reds underneath them. May is action-packed on Calcasieu, so don’t miss out!

Sabine Lake | Dickie Colburn
Colburn's Sabine Connection | 409.883.0723
Daily winds of 15 to 20 miles per hour kept us pinned down on the Louisiana shoreline for the entire month of March. Had it not been for an improving flounder bite in the bayous and drains on the east side of the lake, it would have been an even greater struggle. We are just now starting to reap the benefits of bull tides that have both improved the salinity levels and cleared up a little more of the lake. If April winds are more forgiving, we can look forward to the gulls working over schooling trout in the mid-lake area. While school trout will provide the most consistent bite from the northern tip of Pleasure Island to the piers on the south revetment wall, we should also start crossing paths with schooling reds in the open lake north of Blue Buck. Because the school trout are starting to hustle shrimp rather than mullet, shorter soft plastics will be more productive. If the lake continues to clear, Coffee Ground Cove and the flats south of the Islands will give up some large trout to patient waders armed with topwaters, Catch V’s, Corkies, and Crazy Croakers.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures | | 409.935.7242
“Fishing has been tough in Galveston lately with all this weird weather,” James says. “My guys have been stuck at the dock a lot, and when they have been able to get out, the fish haven’t been biting too good. Trinity’s kind of washed out with all the rain, and the wind keeps East Bay messed up most of the time. West Bay has got some fish, there are slicks popping and all, but the bite has been tough. It will turn around later in the month of April, if it’s anything like in past years. Birds start working the shrimp migration usually some time during the third week of April. Once we get that going, and the weather settles a little, it should bust wide open.” Wading will be the ticket for big trout in the month to come, he says. “We should see some pretty nice trout caught. In wet years like this, the San Luis Pass area and the flats near the mouth of the channel and Rollover are often the places to be. Waders working those areas thoroughly and patiently will probably find some big trout. All we really need is some nice weather and we’ll be back in the catching business.”

Jimmy West | Bolivar Guide Service | 409.996.3054
Jim says the fishing in East Bay has been good, especially before the cold front. “We’ve been able to get away from our winter holes. The water temperature got up into the seventies and spread the fish out. When the tide is really high, the fish will be right up on the bank, in less than knee deep water. If it gets a little lower, the mouths of the bayous will pay off better, especially if the tide is going out. The fish aren’t really stacked up on the reefs yet; the shorelines are more productive, but as we get into May, that can change. We’ve had a great topwater bite. I like a loud old She Dog the best. I’ve also been throwing a lot of Catch 2000s and some Corkies. When I go to soft plastics, I’m using a very light, 1/16th ounce head because I’m throwing them into such shallow water. Mostly, I’m sticking with Bass Assassins and Stanley Wedge tails. But really, this time of year is about the blow ups, so the old She Dogs will get more of a work out this next month. May should be really good over here if we get some steady calm weather.”

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves | Groves Guide Service
979.849.7019 | 979.864.9323
Randall sees things in his area that predict a good run of fishing in May. “We’ve already got jackfish and Spanish mackeral, and it’s early for them. When we see those fish this early, the trout run is usually ahead of schedule too. Right now, the water is prettiest near the surf. It’s warmer and cleaner out there, with the runoff in the bays after all the recent rains. One thing the runoff does is kick in a good redfish bite. Lots of times, the lakes near the bayous will fill up with reds after they get that stained look from the runoff. Then we’ll start catching them on topwaters and the old roach Bull Minnow. The Bull Minnow is a great bait; anyone can work it!” He believes the beachfront will give up some good catches in May. “The trout should be biting in the surf next month. There are already tons of glass minnows and those tiny shad in the pass area. Usually, soon after we see so much bait come in out of the gulf, the trout show up and start snapping at whatever we throw. I’ll be throwing pink Skitterwalks, chrome She Dogs, and of course my Sand Eels too.”

Matagorda | Don Wood
Bay Guide Service | 979.240.4137
Weather has kept East Bay unsettled much of the time lately, reports Don Wood. “We get to fish a day or two, then we get run off the water again. With all this rain, there’s a lot of fresh water and the wind’s been cranking too. Best luck we’ve had in East Bay has been on stinky worms and other soft plastics hung under rattling corks. We’ve been using the Cajun Thunder and the Gulp shrimp and jerk shads, and also some new products from Betts bait company. They have a scented shrimp that’s really life like and some good popping corks. As long as the water’s muddy in East Bay, throwing these types of baits works best. We were whacking the reds on topwaters in West Bay before the recent bad weather. Looking ahead into May, we should be able to go back over there and get on those fish again. With all the glass minnows and small baitfish up and down the shoreline, it’s usually not too hard to find and catch the reds over there in spring time. There will be some decent trout to be caught off deep reefs on the worms in West Bay too.”

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam | 979.240.8204
Fishing has been outstanding when the March winds have allowed us to fish. Wads of mullet, grass shrimp, glass minnows and crabs have been all over the shorelines and the fish have been right along with them. Redfish have been plentiful over sand/grass flats in water depths of less than three feet. Hot lures of late have been Shedogs in black/chrome, Skitterwalks in black/gold/orange, and Super Spook Jrs. in bone. Berkley Gulp Shrimp and Jerkshad in rootbeer gold and new penny have also been solid producers when the topwater bite falls off. Lots and lots of small trout are in the bays at this time. Norton Bull Minnows in pumpkin/chartreuse and pearl/chartreuse have been the best baits for the specks. The upcoming month should be one of the best for finding fish. Locating glass minnows by following flocks of brown pelicans is a good indicator for fish in the area, as are slicks popping off from fish feeding on the minnows. The mouth of the Tres Palacios River and flats off of it should be a good area to locate both trout and reds.

Port O'Connor | Lynn Smith | Back Bay Guide Service | 361.983.4434
Lynn says the fishing for redfish has been spectacular in the Port O Connor area as of late. “We’ve been hammering them on topwaters and also Corkies. Catching them really shallow. Trout fishing has been a little more of a challenge. When you get these extra high tides like we’ve had lately, it will spread the trout out some. There are a lot of back lakes and marshy areas behind those lakes, and when the shrimp are thick in there the trout can become tricky to locate on a daily basis.” In May, he expects to be fishing bays in the southern half of his area. “We’ll be fishing in San Antonio Bay and its satellites if we can. Right now, there is a lot of freshwater runoff in there, but if the Guadalupe drops back to a normal level, we’ll see some good fishing over there, as we have in the past. I’ll be throwing lots of topwaters and Corkies. Usually, May is one of the best months for a consistent topwater bite. The main key will be to find the concentrations of bait. Ideally, you want to be throwing at rafts of mullet, not just a few jumpers.”

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service | 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
Blake says the fishing has been good lately, even after the freakish front that hit on Easter weekend. “They were blasting off on topwaters while that north wind was cranking. Most of the time lately, we’ve been getting a good topwater bite for a while, then having to switch to other lures to keep the bites coming. There are a lot of small baitfish like glass minnows and shad in the water and the trout and reds will sometimes shy away from the topwaters and prefer a Catch 2000 or Sand Eel.” He says he expects to be doing much the same things in May as he has in April. “I’ll still be working shallow sandy, grassy shorelines for both trout and redfish. We catch most of our fish up there in knee to thigh-deep water. I’ll also fish some reefs in May. It’s a good month for reefs. I fish shell banks all over the area, from Corpus Bay to San Antonio Bay. Lots of times, you can catch your fish on topwaters around the shell too. Lately, I’ve been sticking with my Super Spook, especially the black/gold/orange one.”

Padre Island National Seashore
Billy Sandifer | Padre Island Safaris | 361.937.8446
The abundance of Sargassum weed will be the factor to watch for those planning to head to PINS during May. Heavy concentrations of the weed have made fishing nearly impossible during March and early April. Many fish species arrived early this year and most species found at any time of year are usually present in good numbers by mid May. Topwaters, silver spoons and soft plastics will work for speckled trout and occasional redfish, jack crevalle and ladyfish. Small spoons and jigs will work well for Spanish mackeral, while fresh dead shrimp and Fishbites will be favorites for abundant whiting and lesser numbers of pompano, black drum and sheepshead. A variety of shark species will be available on both cast and kayaked baits. Beware of driving near the water line, especially if dark colored sand is visible, as rotting Sargassum buried beneath fresh sand will make for tremendously soft conditions. Be alert and keep speed minimal as it is sea turtle nesting season.

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata | [email protected] | 361.563.1160
What a great month April has turned out to be for 2007. The water in the Laguna Madre and Baffin Bay is in great shape. The water is clear almost everywhere, and I’m sure that everyone is hoping that it will stay that way for the rest of the year. April has produced many speckled trout in the six to eight pound class and a fair number of nine to ten pound trout. I’ve also been catching numerous slot sized red fish all over the Laguna Madre. The MirroLure Catch V, Bass Assassin Slurp and Exude RT Slugs have been responsible for catching many of the speckled trout and redfish lately. The speckled trout’s diet recently has consisted of finger mullet, pin perch and shrimp, so in May, I’ll continue to fish with MirroLure Catch V in colors like CHBL , #18 and MG when fishing in 2-3 feet of water. I’m also going to be using the Bass Assassin Slurp 5” Saltwater Shad and the 4” Shrimp in colors like good penny, drunk monkey and pearl. And of course, I’m always carrying in my pockets the Exude RT Slugs. I rig them on 1/16th ounce heads when fishing shallow water.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez | 361.937.5961
Joe likes the options that present themselves lately with all the clear water in the Upper Laguna/Baffin system. “Now is a good time to explore new areas and learn some new spots, as well as mark some navigation hazards. Most of this water is as clear as it can get. Fishing is good of course, in various places, all the way from the bridge to Nine Mile Hole. I’ve been drifting shallow potholes and catching trout and redfish mixed. There are schools of small minnows and pinfish in abundance, and they can be a bit of a nuisance in terms of biting the tails off your soft plastics, but finding concentrations of bait is definitely the key to locating the trout and redfish in the spring.” He says he will be going back to some of his favorite springtime areas in May. “Rocky Slough and Yarbrough Flats are always productive this time of year. Focusing on twelve to fourteen inches of water will allow for some sightcasting opportunities when the sun is out. There are lots of redfish up shallow in those areas, and where there are redfish there are likely to be a few big trout.”

Port Mansfield | Bruce & Brandon Shuler
GetAway Adventures Lodge | 956.944.4000
“We’ll be seeing some spawning trout into the month of May, so we’ll continue to work a pattern where we look for big trout in the vicinity of the East Cut and on the west shore, in areas where there is some current in the gravelly sand pockets. More and more, we’ll move into our night wading mode. I like the full moon in particular. It helps us stay away from all the boat traffic. There are lots of boats burning these shorelines in the spring. As the water warms into the eighties, well see the boat traffic and the temperature move the trout to the main grass drop off, into depths of three to four feet. The redfish will stay on the flats all day. Well start off early targeting the reds up shallow and then move off the grass edge for our trout.” He says indications are that it should be an excellent offshore season. “We are seeing several species move in a little early. Usually, when that happens, it is a sign of a good year. We should see a strong run on king mackeral, tarpon and other pelagic species in the months to come.”

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Janie and Fred Petty | | 956.943.2747
The airboat nuisance is not as bad as it has been the last three months, however, the LLM still resembles a jungle of bamboo poles and white floats marring what used to be pristine waterways and posing a hazard to boaters heading out early. Let’s hope the company responsible for the seismic testing will clean up. Heavy spring traffic is making it tough to match winter totals, but we’re limiting daily on redfish in shallow water and “going deep” for trout as soon as that last red is landed. Freddy says, “If you want bragging rights, a fish gripper with digital scale is best for weighing and safely handling big sow trout full of eggs; Berkley’s 14” Lip Grip Scale is the tool for the job.” This is the time of year to fish the deep, east side pot holes between the Convention Center and Gas Well flats for specks using Maulers trailing a Gulp bait or plastic shrimp tail. Spring winds churn oxygen into the salty bay energizing marine life and allowing us to make long, productive drifts.