Reports & Forecasts: May 2011

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe | Big Lake Guide Service | 337.598.3268
May is a great month! As long as we don't have a major rain event, things should be lining up for a great spring and summer. The water is salty and the fish are from one end of the estuary to the other. In May, the fish are beginning their transition to summer patterns. There will be plenty of fish under birds, and there should be no shortage of big trout either. Look for the giants on the flats early in the morning, then follow them to oyster reefs near the flats as water temperatures rise. Try topwaters and MirrOdines. In sandy green water, try bone, chartreuse, and pink. In super clean water, try natural colors like baby trout chrome/green. Under birds, the trout will eat pretty much anything. We use shrimp imitations on quarter ounce jigheads. Sand Eels, MirrOlure Soft Minnows, and H&H Salty Grubs and Beetles are great choices. Redfish are also going to be very plentiful. Look for birds picking close to the bank and usually you've got 'em. They will also be at the weirs and on shorelines adjacent to them. Try spinner baits, jigs, and popping corks.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures | silverkingadventures.com | 409.935.7242
Fishing for trout along protected shorelines in Trinity and East Bay had been good in days leading up to this report, James says. "We're catching some quality trout up to seven pounds and more, mostly on Paul Brown's FatBoys in the new color with a pink belly and black back. Also catching real good on Die Dappers rigged on H&H Flutter Jigheads. The topwater bite is good too at times, particularly on early morning wades in Lower Galveston Bay. Best action there has been early, not much good once the sun gets up. As for a May prediction, I'll venture to say that if you aren't close to one of the passes, you will be in the wrong place. Seems like a bunch of our fish went into the Gulf when it was so cold, and they should show back up at the passes, and around the jetties. Then the shorelines around Rollover and San Luis Pass should heat up, as will areas like the Bolivar pocket and shorelines in Lower Galveston Bay. The topwater action should be great when the water is moving and the bite is on. Bass Assassins will work too, of course."

Jimmy West | Bolivar Guide Service | 409.996.3054
Jim describes some excellent action on trout lately, but he also says the action is basically feast or famine. "I had one twenty-nine incher and several others around twenty-seven. The big ones are biting Paul Brown's Original Lures and MirrOlure Catch 2000s mostly. We've also had a good topwater bite in the shallows when the water's pretty. It's a weather and crowd thing as far as what you need to have a productive outing. When it's windy, you really need to wade to have the best chance of catching fish. But on the days with the bigger crowds, the best areas for wading will fill up. If you don't pull up in a great spot and stay there, it can be tough to move and find something better. Of course, as we get into May, the mid-bay reefs will hold more and more fish, and on the calmer days, you can catch all you want in the middle out of the boat. We'll see more potential to hit the surf too. There have already been some good days around Rollover. The big trout bite great there on outgoing tides, but you have to have light winds for it to work."

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves | Groves Guide Service
979.849.7019 | 979.864.9323
Randall mentions that he looks for a rather specific thing when trying to find fish this time of year, while he's running at the helm of his JH Performance boat. "You have to follow the food. I actually try to find a pelican with a seagull sitting on his head. The pelican will stick his head in the water and scoop up some shad, then the seagull will try to steal some. If you do see that, get out and be persistent in the area, even if there doesn't seem to be much in the way of structure to hold the fish. The concentration of bait will cause the fish to stay there. We've got tons of bait in the bays right now. It all just came rushing in from the surf over the last couple of weeks. The topwater action has been good lately, especially on the new Heddon One Knocker in bone and the one that looks kind of like a redfish. The other thing that's working great is the pink Skitterwalk. We're looking for even more bait to move in from the surf, namely the ribbonfish. When that happens, we'll see some big trout hanging around and chasing them."

Matagorda | Charlie Paradosk
Bay Guide Service | 713.725.2401
As usual, there are options aplenty in the Matagorda area in May, Charlie says. "Our mainstay pattern is to run west and fish the grass beds on the shorelines in West Bay. You'll catch plenty of both trout and redfish over there, throwing topwaters and soft plastics, working the shallowest beds early and moving to the outside bars later. If the winds are light, other options come into play as well. We like to fish in East Bay as much as we can this time of year. Generally, the trout are bigger in East Bay. They'll be on the shorelines a lot this month. The mid-bay reefs and scattered shell also hold plenty of trout for people who prefer to fish from the boat. Pretty light winds are necessary to make the fishing productive in the middle of East Bay, since it muddies up easily. The other thing we keep out eye on is the surf. On some of those days when we're over in the coves in West Bay and it gets dead calm, we just cross over the dunes and head for the beach. Some of the biggest surf trout of the year are caught in May when it's right."

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam
www.palaciosguideservice.com | 979.240.8204
Fishing has taken off in our area, with lots of bait moving into our bay systems. Small mullet, glass minnows and shrimp have arrived and the fish have been hot on their tails. Our topwater bite for redfish and trout has been awesome lately to say the least. Pink Skitterwalks, bone Spook Juniors and black/chartreuse SheDogs have accounted for most of our fish. Dark colored soft plastics rigged on eighth ounce jigheads have accounted for fish when blow ups slow down. Live shrimp rigged under popping corks have accounted for plenty of fish also people who like to fish with live bait. Drum and redfish have been more common in the sacks caught on live bait. May should bring in warmer water and one of my favorite species--tripletail. These tasty fish should start to arrive when the water temps get above about 75 degrees. Turtle Bay and Keller Bay should have some good bird activity this month, and the glass minnows should arrive by the millions. Watching pelicans and seagulls is a surefire ways to locate fish following the minnows.

Port O'Connor | Lynn Smith | Back Bay Guide Service | 361.983.4434
May is a great month for fishing with top waters, according to Lynn. "We'll be fishing in the back lakes quite a bit this month. Some years, there are decent schools of bigger than average trout in the lakes. Small topwaters work well when they're in shallow areas like the lakes and along the shorelines adjacent to the entrances to the lakes. I always like to key on areas with heavy concentrations of grass, the more the better. We then focus our casts on the bright spots, or sandy pockets within the grass beds. It's important to be thorough when working this drill, casting at every edge of the pockets, trying to keep the lure moving along the fringes where the grass meets the sand. I stay with two favorite colors in the Super Spook Juniors mostly. If it's not bright and sunny, I favor the white one with the chartreuse head, and when the sun comes out, I often switch over to chrome with a blue back. Redfish will be found in these same areas, and both species will bite best when the water is moving, either coming in or going out."

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service | 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
Blake has been moving around and fishing most of the Rockport area bays and the fishing is good to excellent all over. "I've been in Mesquite, San Antonio, St. Charles, Aransas, Corpus Christi and even the smaller bays. Trout fishing has been steady. We've had good topwater action on lots of days. We're not catching really big trout, but the numbers are closer to the good old days than they were the last couple of years. Our focus has been on sandy shorelines with some decent grassbeds mostly. The reefs are also producing already, and in May, fishing the mid-bay reefs is usually a productive idea. I'll throw topwaters around the reefs, but the old standby Sand Eels come into play a lot too, in colors like pumpkinseed/chartreuse and purple/chartreuse. The reds have been thick at times, mostly when we're running into the back lakes, and also at times around the drains coming out of the back lakes into the main bays. With the salty water we've got all over, May should be outstanding. Maybe even in the surf."

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata | [email protected] | 361.563.1160
The month of May is one of my favorite months to fish for big trout. Speckled trout are spawning during this month, so they will spend much of their time in shallow, grassy shorelines. The water temperature is not a factor during the month of May, and the water clarity is great in our part of the Laguna Madre. I will be approaching my target areas quietly with my trolling motor from at least one hundred yards away and then drift or wade parallel to the shorelines or grass lines in less than two feet of water. My sixteenth ounce Spring Lock jig head will be rigged with a Bass Assassin five inch Die Dapper plum/chartreuse tail or a salt and pepper silver phantom. The four inch Sea Shad Blurp in colors like good penny and pearl will also see a lot of action. On sunny days, around 11 a.m., I will probably be heading to shallow water about twelve inches deep with a clear and sandy bottom where I will be sightcasting trout, reds and black drum. It can be very exciting to cast at a particular fish and then actually see it react and swallow your bait.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez www.sightcast1.com | 361.937.5961
As of the middle of April, the fishing in the Land Cut is absolutely on fire, Joe reports. "Anglers are catching all the trout they want in the cut, keeping the boat in the middle and throwing at the west edge primarily. Live shrimp under a popping cork works best, of course, but anglers throwing topwaters and soft plastics are catching plenty. When throwing the soft plastics, use heavier jigheads when it's windier and lighter ones when it's calmer, to keep the lure better in contact with the ledge as it falls. As we get into May, the fishing should continue hot in the Land Cut, and with the beautiful water, Nine Mile Hole should offer excellent potential too. There are some monster reds in that area, and it's possible to catch them after seeing them at times. Few things rival sightcasting oversized reds and watching them bite! They can be caught on a variety of lures at times, even on flies. If they are finicky, a small paddle tail often entices them to bite. Throwing it past the fish and reeling it slowly and steadily in front of its nose works great."

Padre Island National Seashore
Billy Sandifer | Padre Island Safaris | 361.937.8446
May can bring high-quality angling but it depends on the amount of sargassum present. We are currently buried in the stuff and there is no way to predict when it will end. Bull, blacktipped, spinner, sharpnose, blacknose, bignose, finetooth and lemon will be the most common shark species but others are possible. Overall, the conditions are more user-friendly than earlier in the year with tides and winds moderate. Bonita, large shoals of jack crevalle, Spanish mackerel, Atlantic bluefish and skipjacks should all be plentiful as should whiting, redfish, black drum, and scattered pompano. Whiting is the early season preference of the sharks and fresh, dead shrimp and Fishbites should work well on the bottom feeders. Watch for whirling, diving birds to show you where the jackfish, blue fish and mackerel are feeding. While heavy mono makes good leaders for the jackfish, the others require a short piece of wire. Speck rigs and spoons work well on the blues and mackerel and large lures of many types will draw strikes from the jack crevalle. Don't forget, it is turtle nesting season.

Port Mansfield | Terry Neal
www.terrynealcharters.com | 956.944.2559
The U.S. Army Corps Of Engineers just finished dredging the mouth of the Mansfield Jetties. The prevailing average depth is now twenty-eight feet, plenty of water for all kinds of fishing boats. Already we are seeing huge schools of bait coming into the Lower Laguna from offshore, and naturally, these are attracting all kinds of predators. Here of late the water clarity is generally excellent until the wind gets up over 15 mph, and then it colors up pretty quickly across most of the bay. Working color changes has made for some excellent topwater action. If you like to take some trout home, there will be plenty of 18 to 22 inchers to put on a stringer (excellent table fare), so be sure and let the big mamas go so they can spawn and replenish the Lower Laguna. Spawning activity should be well under way by the time you read this and the seatrout fishery needs all the help we can give it. Keep only what you will eat fresh and release the rest.

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Janie and Fred Petty | www.fishingwithpettys.com | 956.943.2747
Both sides of the intracoastal that divides the LLM have been getting hit with some really nasty dredge water whenever the wind blows from the south or southeast. Heavy spring winds day and night aren't giving the bay a chance to clear. We're able to catch trout almost anywhere when the tide's right, but finding redfish in the muddy, churning water can be tough. Boat traffic has been pretty steady all winter and looks to increase, especially on weekends. That's the bad newsthe good news is that thanks to Berkley Gulp! shrimp and Cajun Thunder corks we're catching limits of reds and tagging oversized ones fairly regularly to complement daily limits of trout and an added bonus of the best year we've seen in ages for flounder. Freddy says, "Running around looking for fish is counterproductive when the water is so cloudy. It's impossible to see anything except your own wake. Your best bet is to make long drifts without burning the entire flat until you find the depth that they're hanging in. Low tides are deceptive when you can't see the bottom, so start deep and work your way shallowerdrifting instead of driving."