Reports & Forecasts: May 2013

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe | Big Lake Guide Service | 337.598.3268
May is generally when we start to catch large numbers of speckled trout. Our mainstay pattern during this month will be working birds. We fish them using a quarter-ounce jighead and soft plastics. We stick to shrimp imitations like MirrOlure Lil' Johns, Norton Sand Eels, H&H Sparkle Beetles and Salty Grubs. Our best colors are usually glow, avocado, black/chartreuse, opening night, and golden bream. May is also a great time to catch the heaviest trout of the season. The May full moon is usually very productive for heavy fish. Topwaters are usually our weapon of choice for big trout. Right at daylight and just before dark are usually better than mid-day. They will still be located on sand flats and shallow oyster reefs. During mid-day situations try just off the flat or shallow reef in about five to six feet of water. Black/Chrome, Blue/Chrome, Green/Chrome, Black/Chartreuse, and Bone are some of our favorite colors. Our fishing has been excellent lately, and we are looking forward to having a great spring and early summer.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures | | 409.935.7242
Like others in the Galveston area, James says the fishing has been steady leading into the time of this report. "We're catching fish both wading and out in the middle. When it's windy, we pretty much have to wade protected shorelines, but when it's not, it's possible to catch plenty of fish out in the middle. When we're wading, we're having good luck with small, loud topwaters like SheDogs and TopDog Juniors in colors like white and pink. Catch 5s are also working well at times. And, of course, we're still using soft plastics in colors like slamming chicken on H&H Flutter jigheads. The same soft plastics on slightly heavier jigheads are working best when we're drifting, and we're also catching some on 51 and 52 MirrOlures, especially in the 808 color. We should see a steady improvement in the fishing around San Luis Pass and the jetties as we get into May. If the weather cooperates, it should be one of those deals where you can catch 'em wherever you want to, since the water is salty and pretty in all the bays."

Jimmy West | Bolivar Guide Service | 409.996.3054
As usual, Jim says the success of the fishing lately has been mostly dependent on the weather. "Our fish are scattering out all over the place, and that is a good thing for the most part. The people can spread out and not be so bunched up in the same small areas. We've had some good days lately wading, especially in the afternoons and evenings. Lots of three and four pound trout and a few fives and sixes. Good numbers of reds mixed in too. The fishing out in the middle is starting to pick up and will likely get better as we head into May and beyond. Fish are already showing up on the reefs and the numbers should improve on that pattern as the weather heats up. The key to catching out there, of course, is fishing on days when winds are light enough to allow the water to stay in decent shape. We'll be targeting areas with lots of shell where slicks and mud stirs are showing up and where there is plenty of bait. Sometimes, we catch pretty good on topwaters out of the boat, but it's more of a soft plastic thing in general."

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves | Groves Guide Service
979.849.7019 | 979.864.9323
Randall was busy working on building lifts for two JH Performance boats when we spoke. "I'll be hanging both an Outlaw and a B240 over the bayou soon. I'll be willing to let people test drive them if they call and make arrangements. Fishing has been good overall lately. We're still finding our trout over shell mostly. The button shad have hatched out thick, and we're using them to locate the fish. Our best indicator over the last couple of weeks has been a sea gull sitting on a pelican's back. When we find that in close proximity to areas with lots of shell, we are catching plenty of fish. Best lure on recent trips has been a Norton Sand Shad in a color called tequila rock. It works great when winds are relatively light and the water is pretty clear. On the days when the wind is up, we are thankful for the redfish. It's possible to catch them even when it's blowing and the water turns to mud, but the trout bite is much tougher on those days. And, we're mostly using live bait when we find ourselves fishing in strong winds."

Matagorda | Charlie Paradoski
Bay Guide Service | 713.725.2401
Charlie expects to be bouncing back and forth between West and East Bays in May. "May is the month when the fishing on the grass beds in West Bay really starts to pick up. We catch a lot of small keeper trout between about sixteen and eighteen inches when working that pattern over there, but we also mix in fish up to five pounds or so on a regular basis. Topwaters work well early and sometimes most of the day. Soft plastics keep us catching when the blow ups stop. When it's windy, West Bay is usually where I'll be found. If the weather is nicer, meaning less windy, a couple of other options come into play. One is the drifting around the mid-bay reefs and over scattered shell in East Bay. As always, we'll primarily use soft plastics on fairly heavy jigheads when we're fishing out of the boat over there, bouncing the lures off the bottom. If winds get really light, and the surf gets right, we will be headed out there immediately. Last year, around the end of May, we had some outstanding action in the green water along the beach."

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam | 979.240.8204
Fishing has been steady as of late. We have not had any outstanding days, but we haven't had any zero days either. Redfish have been pretty consistent on windward shorelines on Gulp! shrimp in purple/chartreuse and root beer/chartreuse fished under popping corks. We have also been throwing She Dogs and She Pups in gold/black/orange and bone/chrome/chartreuse for good results. Our trout bite has picked as the water temps have risen, and we have been on a good bite, fishing tails over scattered shell in three to four feet of water. Best tails as of late have been Texas Trout Killers in chicken on a chain and pumpkinseed/white. May should be awesome this year with all the bait I am seeing in the local bays. We have a good hatch of shad in the river, and lots of hopper shrimp are showing in the area back lakes. Redfish will be schooling soon, trout will be schooled up over shell at the rigs, and tripletail will begin their annual migration to the bays. Life will be good!

Port O'Connor | Lynn Smith | Back Bay Guide Service | 361.983.4434
Lynn expects to be targeting his area's trout around reefs in May. "We haven't gotten hardly any rain in quite a while, and the fish are pretty thick up the rivers and in the Victoria Barge Canal. Eventually, I expect them to move out of those areas and into San Antonio Bay proper. When they do, they'll show up in abundance on the reefs in there. The key factor which would make that happen would be some freshwater flow. If we can get some rain, that pattern will kick right off. If we don't get any rain, I'll mostly be keying on areas with a mix of sand and grass, tossing at the sandy pockets in the grass. This time of year, I love to throw topwaters a lot. In particular, I like the white Super Spook Junior with a chartreuse head. It's been a real producer for me over the last few years. I keep it handy all the time. If they won't bite it, they probably can't be caught on topwaters, or so it seems. We have a lot of small trout biting in the area right now, and that bodes well for the long-term future. Overall, things are looking pretty good around here."

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service | 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
Blake says the fishing has been excellent around Rockport during recent weeks, and things look great for the remainder of the spring. "I'll be wading shorelines with lots of grass on sandy bottom this month. There have been some pretty big trout caught around here lately, particularly in bays with lots of sand and grass, like Aransas, Corpus Christi, San Antonio and St. Charles. I'll also hit the reefs in San Antonio and other bays when winds are light enough to allow the water around them to stay pretty clear. Also, this month is when I start keeping my eye on the surf. If winds are right, we usually have a shot at a good run on trout out there during May. Still catching plenty of fish on topwaters most of the time. Of late, I've been throwing the chartreuse split-tail Gulp! when the blow ups slow down. That lure is especially productive for reds. At some point, I'll start using live croakers again too. I'll let the customers make the call on that. Certainly, the croakers are extremely effective early in the warm season."

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata | [email protected] | 361.563.1160
Everything warms up in May, including the air and water temperatures, and the fishing and catching should get red hot! The trout will still be spawning, and that means they will be in water depths of less than two feet along grassy shorelines. I like to fish where there are scattered potholes in these areas as well. Approach the target areas quietly by shutting the outboard engine at least 100 yards away and drift, troll, and/or wade up to the target area. If you're not wearing ForEverLast Ray Guards, don't forget to shuffle your feet if you're wade fishing. Working natural colored MirrOlure She Dogs will be a good way to start the day. If your favorite topwater lure is not working, try Bass Assassin Die Dappers in colors like sand trout, plum/chartreuse and chartreuse dog. Berkley Ripple Mullet and Gulp! products will also work rigged on sixteenth-ounce Bass Assassin Spring Lock jigheads. The month of May is also time to begin free-lining live croaker on a number three wide gap Mustad croaker hook along grassy edges."

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez | 361.937.5961
May is a great month for fishing the Upper Laguna Madre and Corpus Christi Bay, Joe says. "The Land Cut is usually a good bet, especially in the early part of May. Areas adjacent to it are also historically productive, including places like Summer House, Rocky Slough, Murdock Flats and Nine Mile Hole. People who are after big trout would be best advised to stay shallow and either try to sightcast the fish or make lots of casts around sets of potholes in grassy flats with lots of bait in the area. If numbers of trout and a variety of fish are more of a priority, it will pay to fish the edges of structural elements close to drop offs to deeper water. The edge of the channel in the Land Cut is one such feature, as are the deeper parts of the rocky shoreline flats between the Land Cut and the mouth of Baffin on the Kenedy Ranch Shoreline. If the water quality is poor down south, areas in Corpus Bay like East Flats, Shamrock Cove and Shamrock Island can be a better choice. Particularly when winds are whistling out of the southeast, that corner of Corpus Bay has great potential, since the water stays in good shape better than most of the area."

Padre Island National Seashore
Billy Sandifer | Padre Island Safaris | 361.937.8446
The month of May can be wonderful on PINS. So far this year we are ducking the sargassum bullet and if it continues we may well have excellent fishing in May as sargassum in large amounts is our biggest problem at this time of year. Winds and tides can still be high but have moderated from earlier months. Ladyfish and tarpon arrive and join bluefish, pompano, redfish, black drum, sheepshead and whiting and Spanish mackerel. All our shark species become available and some should be available to casters as well as those fishing kayaked baits. The possibility of trout on topwaters exists but they are more prone to hit blue/chrome Rat-l-Traps and silver spoons in the spring. Actually the silver spoon is your go-to bait in May. Whiting and jack crevalle are prime baits on the sharks until the skipjacks arrive and then they become the food of choice. Shrimp and Fishbites are the biggest producers on the bottom feeders. Remember turtle nesting season is in progress and the PINS speed limit is 15 miles per hour for the entire beachfront.

Port Mansfield | Terry Neal | 956.944.2559
Record heat and drought continue to plaque South Texas. I am confused from one day to the next; there is just no way to put a pattern together. We are wise to remember God and Mother Nature are in control. Best strategy is to find a spot with some bait activity, color changes or birds, and fish till you catch. Strong currents are bringing in some much needed bait, mullet and other small finfish, and the shrimp migration is in full swing. Water temperatures are in the mid-70's, so fishing (catching) should pick up soon. I am seeing lots of skipjacks and cownose rays (they are not dangerous) sure signs that gulf species are entering the bay. The rays are continual swimmers and can tangle up in your fishing line. They fight like a big red. Just be aware that there are a lot of them in the water at this time. Enjoy your fishing and if you're lucky; keep what you will eat fresh and release the rest.

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Janie and Fred Petty | | 956.943.2747
Recent trips have produced nice trout averaging between eighteen and twenty four inches; we have also seen a rise in the redfish numbers, catching a couple of oversized specimens a week, but finding fish is more difficult now, than at this time in years past. Conditions are still very windy and dry, which means fishing in muddy water, especially on the west side. We have not seen the regrowth of turtle grass we were hoping for so far this spring. We lost this habitat after the 2010 flooding that filled the LLM with fresh water, and with the west bank, from Holly Beach to Cullen's, silted in with dredge spoil, it doesn't even look like the same bay. Freddy says, "You just have to make long drifts, throwing Cajun Thunder round corks with a fifteen to eighteen-inch leader, a Norton Lock 3/0 quarter-ounce hook, and a new penny Berkley Gulp! three-inch shrimp. Most of the fish we're catching are coming from two to three feet of water." Please help us stop open-bay dredge disposal!