Reports & Forecasts: May 2012

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe - Big Lake Guide Service - 337.598.3268

May is going to be a great month for us. We should start to see green water all the way up to Turners Bay on the north end of Calcasieu. Once salty water starts to make its way north, we will begin to catch fish along the east bank, up to Commissary Point and up to Long Point on the west bank. With the conditions we've had lately, most of our fishing is taking place on the south end of Calcasieu in West Cove, and Joe's Cove. West Cove and Joe's Cove have been producing big numbers of fish and some big fish as well. This trend will continue straight through May. If for some reason fresh water sticks around, as it is now, concentrate your efforts down south. Don't even bother with anything north of Long Point and Commissary Point. Trout will seek the highest salinities they can in the month of May in order to make their spawning more successful. Those fishing in freshwater in May won't find and catch many trout. Redfish may be around, but trout will be found in water with higher salinities.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures - - 409.935.7242

James reports sporadically good fishing but an overall tough bite in the Galveston area on days leading up to this report. "We did catch limits of trout today on small topwaters like ShePups and Spook Juniors and also some on H&H Flutter jigheads rigged with pumpkinseed/chartreuse Bass Assassins, but that's been the exception, not the norm. We do have some water quality issues right now, but there are good signs of fish around, meaning some slicks and lots of balled up bait and things like that, so I expect a good turnaround in May. We'll be drifting open-water areas around shell when winds are lighter, wading when it's windier. The wading has been and will likely continue to produce the bigger fish. We've seen some trout up into the mid-seven pound class lately, with quite a few others in the five and six pound class. Most of those will be caught on topwaters and twitch baits. With all the freshwater coming down the rivers now, we may see a good run in the lower parts of the bay closer to the salty water in the Gulf."

Jimmy West - Bolivar Guide Service - 409.996.3054
Jim reports a variety of issues are making the fishing tough in the Galveston area in recent weeks. "We just had a massive inflow of freshwater down the Trinity River, so that has Trinity Bay and much of the middle of Galveston Bay pretty messed up. On top of that, we've got a bunch of seismic testing going on. There are boats everywhere blowing holes in the bottom with dynamite. Some fish are definitely dying in the process. Then, we've got a big dredging operation going on along the shoreline close to Bolivar. They are making a new spoil island off The Pens. When the tide is coming in, it's sending black, mucky water right into East Bay. Fishing is, predictably, tough much of the time with all the activity. I did manage to bring in seventeen trout yesterday, fishing out of the boat in East Bay. We had a little flurry of bites right at the end of the tide movement, when water clarity improved from three or four inches to maybe ten inches of visibility. A few good fish are being caught, but nothing is consistent. That won't change until things settle down some."

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves - Groves Guide Service - 979.849.7019 - 979.864.9323

Randall was coming off the water after an excellent trip when we talked. "We caught our twentieth trout before nine o'clock this morning. They were peeling the paint off our chrome Super Spooks today. We were fishing in the surf and it was really easy with the topwaters while we had a gentle breeze. Then it went slick calm and we had to switch over to the Sand Eels to catch some more. Our fishing has been great lately. We've had a good influx of bait coming out of the Gulf, mostly glass minnows, small shrimp and ribbon fish. The trout are mixed right in with their food sources. I expect the fishing to remain steady throughout the next month or so. We'll stay in areas close to the surf when it's calmer, and hide from the winds in the back bays on other days, always keying on the presence of plenty of bait." He also mentions discovering a new tackle store in Port Lavaca. "I talked to a young couple at Bowed Up Outdoors the other day. They really have a lot of cool stuff in their store and they seem like good people."

Matagorda | Charlie Paradoski
Bay Guide Service -713.725.2401

Fishing has been good lately in both Matagorda bays, Charlie says. "We're catching plenty of trout and reds drifting in East Bay. Most of the guys are using live bait, but the lure fishing is steady too. We've got a lot of freshwater in the Colorado River, so the bays have more fish in them than they did when the river was running salty. The fishing on the shorelines has been best in West Bay lately. The trout we're catching are averaging a good size, and they're full of eggs. We may have a little lull when they start dropping the eggs, but the action should pick right back up in early May. We'll be wading in both bays when we can, targeting the bigger trout with topwaters and twitch baits mostly, switching to soft plastics when the bite slows. The whole key is water quality and weather. Right now, the water in the east end of West Bay is pretty muddy with the freshwater influence, but it should be clearing up in the near future, which will make fishing easier. We'll be heading to the surf on the calmest days; it can be fantastic when it's right."

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam - 979.240.8204

Fishing in our area bays has exploded as I am writing this report. We have been having a great bite at the wells and along area shorelines. Lots of good sized trout from eighteen to twenty two inches have been coming from the wells and rigs in West Matagorda Bay. Freelining live shrimp around the structure and shell has produced best. The glass minnows have arrived in full force, and the trout and redfish are following them. The key to finding the minnows is to look for diving brown pelicans; when you find them, you find the fish. Pearl/chartreuse and salt & pepper paddletails have accounted for most hook-ups. Redfish are feeding heavily on shorelines, chasing shrimp. We've boxed lots of slot fish, and almost all fish have had bellies full of grass shrimp. May is one of my favorite months to fish because of all the options--rigs, shorelines, reefs, back lakes, trout, reds, tripletail, etc.. With all the rain we've had over the last month or two, I expect this year to be awesome!

Port O’Connor | Lynn Smith - Back Bay Guide Service - 361.983.4434
"I expect to spend most of my time close to Pass Cavallo in May," Lynn says. "We'll be targeting some of the bigger trout as they come in out of the surf and show up on the flats and spoils close by. I like to wade in shallow water on the flats and humps, but stay pretty close to the deep water. We'll be throwing lots of top waters like Super Spook Juniors early and sticking with them for as long as the fish will cooperate. We'll also try the Paul Brown Lures and Maniac Mullet too. Of course, if those lures aren't producing, we won't hesitate to go after the fish with soft plastics either. The key is to find plenty of bait like mullet, glass minnows, shad and ballyhoo in areas with a good mix of sand and grass. Making lots of casts at the sand pockets in the thicker grass beds and at the scattered grass in the areas with more of a sandy bottom is a key. As long as the winds don't blow too hard, we're set up for a good run this month. I'm reading for the big trout to get here in good numbers!"

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service - 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894

Blake plans on operating with a proven productive spring plan throughout the next month or so. "Fishing has been good this year. There seem to be fish in all the area bays, so I'll move around quite a bit. San Antonio Bay has been productive. I like to fish up there in the spring, working the shallow grass beds and sand bars on the shorelines. Aransas and Mesquite Bays are good too. There, I like to fish the grassy, sandy shorelines and out on the reefs too when the winds are light. St. Charles Bay and Corpus Bay have good potential this time of year too. We've been catching pretty good lately on blue/chrome and black/chrome top waters, and the action on those should remain steady throughout May. Of course, I won't hesitate to pull out the old plum and pumpkinseed/chartreuse Sand Eels if the blow ups slow down a bit. One other option we'll consider this month is heading out to the surf. If winds stay light for a few days, the action out there often cranks right up. Some of the biggest surf trout of the year are caught in May."

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata – [email protected] - 361.563.1160

There are a number of changes with the fishing in the Upper Laguna Madre as we get into the month of May. The fishing is still very good, and we've been catching a good number of trout close to the 30 inch mark. Because much of the Laguna Madre, including Baffin Bay, has lost its water clarity due to brown tide, I've been fishing with smelly lures like Bass Assassin Die Dappers in morning glory/limetreuse and chartreuse dog, also Berkley Gulp! Ripple Mullet in similar colors. I am rigging these plastic baits on sixteenth ounce Assassin Spring Lock jigheads with the 5/0 hooks. The brown tide does not hurt the fish, but they really have to use their senses of smell and sound detection to find their meals. Another tactic I'll be using will involve the two and a half inch Assassin Oval Kwik Corks rigged with 25 lb. leaders and the smelly lures hanging eight to ten inches from the bottom. The sightcasting game is still very good on the shallow flats for reds, black drum and even trout, using the same plastic lures, including shrimp flavored Fish Bites.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez – - 361.937.5961

Joe says he'll likely spend most of his time way down south in May. "The water in and around the Land Cut is crystal clear right now. This is a great time of year for the area, especially with this kind of water quality. Sightcasting giant reds and trout in Nine Mile Hole is a real possibility. Working the edge of the Land Cut itself with soft plastics is another proven productive drill in the spring. I like to flutter my soft plastics along the drop off. Matching the jighead size to the wind speed is critical. More wind calls for heavier jigheads, less wind for lighter ones. Another fun thing to do in the clear water in that area is target the deeper rocks along the Kenedy Shoreline. It's possible to make precise casts close to the structure since you can see everything so well. All of the flats in Yarbrough have great potential as well. There are usually some big trout and schools of reds in knee deep potholes in that area this time of year. The spoils between Baffin and the Land Cut are also known to hold plenty of fish in spring."

Padre Island National Seashore
Billy Sandifer - Padre Island Safaris - 361.937.8446

There is potential for wonderful fishing in May but it all depends on the wind and presence of sargassum. Avoid the high tides! Speckled trout make a good showing in the May surf and tend to prefer silver spoons and Rat-L-Traps over topwater baits. Spanish mackerel arrived in March and should be available in May. Use light wire leaders for the mackerel with speck rigs and small silver spoons. Look for surface activity and working birds for mackerel as well as jack crevalle. Whiting, Atlantic bluefish, redfish, sheepshead, black drum, and stray pompano should all be available. Fresh-dead shrimp and "Fishbites" will provide the most bang for your buck. Numerous shark species should be available on both cast and kayaked baits. Check the regs to make sure you're not keeping restricted species. Turtle nesting season will be in full swing so keep an eye out for both turtles and turtle patrollers. Do not interfere with nesting turtles. Mark the location and call 361-949-8173 ext. 226 to report the nest and also report it to the first turtle patroller you encounter.

Port Mansfield | Terry Neal – 956.944.2559

Looks like May is going to be a real scorcher temperature-wise. The bay water temperatures are already pushing 80 degrees. We always look forward to the arrival of spring but this year it seems we jumped from basically no serious or prolonged winter right into the frying pan. We are thankful to have some wind as it would be nearly unbearable otherwise. Fish have fallen off the flats since the big push up in the water levels and hopefully are stacked up in deeper areas; we'll just have to go looking for them and then figure out the feed pattern. There are huge schools of mullet everywhere. The normal pattern is for trout and reds to follow them in from the Gulf as the Laguna Madre warms up but, with all the mild winter weather we didn't see the normal bait migrations taking place - if the did I did not notice. The offshore fishing is starting to come around with lots of snapper coming off the shallow rocks. Keep fishing and enjoy nature; we should have excellent fishing ahead.

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Janie and Fred Petty – – 956.943.2747

Calm mornings and windy afternoons have established our spring patterns. Sight fishing is the ultimate shallow water experience, but the right conditions have to combine to create the perfect environment to spot tailing reds and trout. Often, specks are right there mixed with the redfish, following sting rays or bunched-up cruising the flats, churning up clouds of silt. There are several ways to approach these predators without spooking the whole group. One option is to throw a plastic worm or Gulp! three inch shrimp past the group and bring it in front of the mud line, trying not to touch their backs in the process. Freddy says, "When fish are tailing, they concentrate on their immediate surroundings, and will attack the first thing that moves. Retrieve quickly, so the lure will stay on top of the water, then drop it; this works better than a disrupting plop on the head of the target." When not sightcasting, we move to deeper holes and throw Cajun Thunder round corks with Gulp!s for the trout that continue to make a huge comeback in the LLM.