Reports & Forecasts: May 2014

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe | Big Lake Guide Service | 337.598.3268
In May, we expect to see the first consistent topwater action of the season. Water temperatures should be well into the seventies, and barring a major rain event, salinities will be high enough to catch trout throughout the entire estuary. When targeting big trout at this time, look for them on flats on incoming tides. You can catch them on outgoing tides as well, but they will be at their heaviest on the incoming due to spawning rituals. Most of these fish can be caught on topwaters, but they often will take Paul Brown Lures better. If you're looking to fill your box, find the birds! Pay close attention to the direction the fish are traveling by watching the birds. 97% of the time they will move against the tide. If the tide is weak, patterning their direction is more difficult. ALWAYS approach from upwind, no matter what! Redfish will be terrorizing schools of menhaden and shrimp in the middle of the lake. They will be under birds as well as slicks. Approach the same as you would the trout and keep in mind they move against the tide.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures | | 409.935.7242
James recalls a recent run of excellent big-trout catching, despite tough weather conditions which have limited his days on the water. "In two days, we caught 22 good trout, up to just over 8 pounds. Had some other sevens and sixes mixed in. A variety of lures worked, with the best fish caught on a floating Paul Brown's FatBoy in pink/silver. Also had some really good days on numbers of trout in the last few weeks too. Averaged 60-70 fish per day for a while, with a decent percentage of keepers. That action was all on soft plastics. Right now, the fish are pretty shallow, knee to waist-deep. As we get into May, the wading should still be good, and the boat fishing will likely become more productive, as slicks start showing us where the fish are schooling out in the middle. Normally, we start to see a more stable, less windy weather pattern sometime this month, and that will help things out tremendously. Once we're able to get on the water again on a regular basis, it will be good. We've got plenty of fish, just need the chance to get at 'em."

Jimmy West | Bolivar Guide Service | 409.996.3054
Jim says the winds have made fishing tough some of the time in Galveston lately, but he's been catching some quality fish on a pretty consistent basis. "We had a good run of fishing in the drains for a while there. Caught good numbers of both trout and reds, with a few of the trout weighing right around seven pounds or a little more. Trinity Bay has really been the hot area for a while now. The guys over there are catching some big trout when winds are right. We have had quite a few days with tough conditions. Usually, May will bring some better weather. We should start catching more trout on a regular basis once that happens. Wading should still be good, and as long as we don't get some big rains, the upper parts of the bay systems will remain ripe with potential. We'll start looking around out in the middle some if the weather heats up quickly. The fish might start slicking and making mud stirs out there if it does. Overall, this month sets up well. We've got some big trout and we should have more days where we have a good shot at 'em."

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves | Groves Guide Service
979.849.7019 | 979.864.9323
Randall mentions he's been seeing sure signs of the changing season, and hope springs eternal. "Starting to see some jack crevalle and ribbon fish. Once they show up, the trout fishing usually picks up significantly. We've caught a few big trout lately, six and seven pounders, but not good numbers. They are mixed in with the redfish, and catching the reds has been much easier. We're having our best luck on topwaters like pink Skitterwalks. Everybody likes catching reds on top, because the blow ups are so showy. Also getting plenty on chicken on a chain Norton Bull Minnows. The bonus when throwing those is that we catch flounder pretty steadily. It's a great deal when you catch all three of the Texas Trio: trout, reds and flounder. May provides excellent potential for that kind of catching. We'll continue to work our way through this transition. Every changing season dictates adjustments in our strategies and techniques. When you live near a major pass, these changes and adjustments are dramatic and critical."

Matagorda | Charlie Paradoski
Bay Guide Service | 713.725.2401
The month of May brings more stable weather and more consistent fishing patterns, as well as opening up new options for anglers in the Matagorda area. "We like to fish West Bay a lot during May," Charlie says. "Over there, we focus on sandy pockets in the grass beds and do a lot of wading, throwing topwaters and Bass Assassins, whatever it takes. We catch plenty of school trout and reds in that direction. But we also like to drift the deeper water in East Bay and do some wading on the mid-bay reefs when winds allow. Generally, we catch bigger trout when we are able to fish that way. We'll throw topwaters and twitch baits predominantly, since we are usually working them in relatively calm conditions. Of course, late in the month of May, we'll starting casting our eyes toward the surf, especially when we're in West Bay. It's easy to hop over the island and walk into some great action along the beach front when the winds die and the clear water moves on in."

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam | 979.240.8204
Warming water temperatures have heated up the fishing in our local waters. We have also had a bunch of bait start to hatch out, as scores of fry have been on area shorelines along with small shrimp starting to migrate from the local marshes. Believe it our not, our best bite as of late has been on topwaters. Tails and Gulp! products have played second fiddle to topwaters. Small plugs have been best due to the bait being small. Super Spook Juniors in white/redhead and ShePups in black/gold/orange and pink/chrome have been top producers. We have been catching trout to twenty four inches over scattered shell and grass in about three feet of water. Our redfish bite has been much shallower, with most of our fish coming in less than a foot of water along area shorelines. Tripletail should be on the menu this month with our water temperatures creeping up. The glass minnow bite on the south shoreline of West Matagorda ought to be in full effect soon. Thankfully, as of this time, no oil from the spill in Texas City has made it into our local bays.

Port O'Connor | Lynn Smith | Back Bay Guide Service | 361.983.4434
Lynn recalls a recent strong run of big trout fishing in the Port O' Connor area, but says the frequent cold fronts kept the action from staying hot. "We had a good number of big trout come through the pass, and we were catching some 27-28 inchers for a while there. Then, we got a cold front and the tide went out. Fish followed it out, or so it seems. Haven't been able to locate them again. However, with the warming winds of May, things should turn back around. Normally, we like to fish strong incoming tides in the morning this month. Areas around the Pass which have hard sandy bottoms and lots of grass seem to be the most productive. We'll throw topwaters like Spook Juniors along area shorelines, targeting sandy pockets in the grass beds. This is one of the best months for catching big trout on the floating plugs. I've been seeing an increase in the amount of bait in areas I'm fishing, so I expect an upturn in the trout catching to start up again soon. Right now, the redfish are saving the day, but the trout bite will come back."

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service | 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
Blake plans on fishing Copano, Aransas and adjacent bays during May. "I'll be wading around main sandy points, in areas with a combination of sand and grass on the bottom. This time of year, the trout and redfish tend to prefer areas like this. We usually throw at the grass beds which stand out against the brighter sand bottom. Super Spooks in blue/chrome and black/chrome work well, as do my old stand-by lures, Norton Sand Eels in pumpkinseed/chartreuse and purple/chartreuse. I also like to fish shell reefs in about thigh to waist-deep water quite a bit during this time of year. We've been seeing quite a few menhaden around lately, and this usually signals the start of a consistent trout bite. Once the schools of menhaden get into the bays and find their way to the shell reefs, the fishing is usually really good around the shell for a while. The bait migrations were a little late starting this year, it seems. I guess it was a hangover from the cold winter, but things are perking up out there right now."

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata | [email protected] | 361.563.1160
One of my favorite months to fish for big trout has to be the month of May. The fish are still loaded with eggs and they will spend much of their time spawning in shallow grassy areas and shorelines that are less than three feet in depth. A very important factor in being successful when fishing in such shallow water is being as quiet as possible, whether drifting or wading. After locating my target areas, I will approach them with my trolling motor or by drifting into them from about one hundred yards away. If there is not too much floating grass on the water's surface, I will start the morning with natural colored MirrOlure SheDogs. If it's too grassy on the surface, my sixteenth ounce Spring Lock jighead will be rigged with a salt and pepper/chartreuse, plum/chartreuse or sand trout Bass Assassin Die Dapper. This is also a good time to fish with live shrimp under a popping cork or live croakers, if you can find them. Around mid-day, I will head to ultra-shallow water and sight-cast reds and black drum with Fish Bites.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez | 361.937.5961
When asked to predict where some of the hot action in the Corpus Christi area will be during May, Joe is quick to talk about the Land Cut and areas close to it. "I'll be heading down south quite a bit, fishing The Hole and Rocky Slough and The Land Cut. We'll be targeting the edge of the ditch some, also drifting some of the flats and throwing at shallow and mid-range depth potholes. Also casting around the rocks quite a bit in areas which have some. Topwaters usually work well this time of year, and throwing them around the rocks eliminates the risk of hanging up on them with soft plastics. The soft plastics do produce bites on a consistent basis though. I am most fond of K Wiggler's products. We use the old-school shrimptails. They have been tricking the trout and reds for decades now. We also throw their plastics which have a rat tail with a little ball on its end. They work well too. Rigging them on the right size jighead is critical. The windier it gets, the heavier the head should be, so the lures stay down in the water column."

Padre Island National Seashore
Billy Sandifer | Padre Island Safaris | 361.937.8446
Many of our warm-water species will be present in May and if there is not a prohibitive amount of Sargassum present in the surf, fishing can be quite good. Tides typically are user-friendly and the wind is typically lighter than in previous months. Redfish, whiting, Spanish mackerel, ladyfish, jack crevalle, sheepshead, pompano, Atlantic bluefish and several species of sharks should be available. Fish deep pockets and wide deep guts for bottom species with dead shrimp and "Fishbites" or cut bait. Fish under the birds and other obvious food chain activity with artificials. Silver spoons and blue/chrome Rat-L-Traps excel in May. Some trout may be available but the best trout fishing will be in midsummer. Kayaked baits will be most productive for sharks. Use bait species that are present in the surf for best action with sharks. A stray tarpon, ling or king mackerel are possible. Beaches will be getting busy and turtle nesting season will be in full swing so drive carefully and be considerate of others.

Port Mansfield | Ruben Garza 832.385.1431
Getaway Adventures Lodge 956.944.4000
This is the time of year Mother Nature is supposed to warm things up. I guess she didn't get the memo about sending us warmer weather. The consistent changing of weather patterns seems to have the fish confused; their staging areas and feeding habits have been a challenge to unravel many days. Here lately, we have been picking up decent numbers of trout and reds in the mid-thigh to waist-deep water depths. I guess the colder overnight water temperatures send them deeper than we normally see this time of year. As the day progresses, I move to the shallower water in the knee-deep areas, focusing on grass beds and scattered potholes. We are throwing spoons predominantly for reds, but lately it seems they have also developed an appetite for the small bone SkitterWalk. In the shallower water, we are beginning to find solid trout mixed with the reds, and this is a good sign. This pattern should hold for the next couple of months. Until next time--tight lines and calm seas.

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Janie and Fred Petty | | 956.943.2747
When you start to see the sargasso weed floating in the bay, and the wind is blowing like crazy every day, you know the tides are as high as they're going to get all year. We're beginning to see more reds up on the shallow flats that have been unfishable during the winter months. This transition period is excellent news for artificial enthusiasts, because it means more bait and a noticeable change in the water quality. Although we're still dealing with rolling silt on the east and west sides of the Intracoastal, we've been able to fish with the Berkley Gulp! shrimp in darker colors under Cajun Thunder round corks when conditions permit. Freddy says, "If the plastic isn't working, try anchoring and throwing out some cut ballyhoo. The fish are there, it's just hard to see them when the water is cloudy." We're catching some trout, just not what we usually expect for this time of the year, but we're limiting on reds most trips. Please help stop open bay dredge disposal by becoming involved in the effort to save the Lower Laguna Madre.