Reports & Forecasts: May 2016

Lake Calcasieu Louisiana
Jeff and Mary Poe - Big Lake Guide Service - 337.598.3268
May is when everything really turns on in Calcasieu. Water temperatures should be in the upper seventies and low eighties, and the big trout action will be excellent. They will actively feed on the surface throughout the entire day. However, the absolute best times are at daybreak and sunset, although mid-day topwater bites are common. Oyster reefs in five to six feet of water will be consistently productive. Some of the largest trout that come out of Calcasieu will fall to topwaters over these reefs. Topwater plugs vary in size, shape, color, and pitch. All of these variables make a difference, but the main variable is confidence. That goes for every lure-- without confidence, it won't work, especially a topwater. Our favorites include SheDogs, MirrOmullet XL, Super Spooks, Spook Juniors, and SkitterWalks. They come in every color of the rainbow, but if I were forced to choose just one, it would be chrome and chartreuse. See you all fishing soon!

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures - - 409.935.7242
Despite lots of freshwater in parts of the bay system, James says the fishing in the Galveston area has been good lately. "We are catching limits fairly easily most of the time. We are wading as much as we can, especially when the tides are high and winds are not too strong. Best bite when we're wading has been on topwaters and twitch baits, early in the morning. We are fishing out in the middle around reefs and other structures when the tide falls out. Birds are already working in places out there, and this action should pick up even more in May. I see May as a transitional month. Lots of things can work, but usually one pattern won't hold up day after day. We'll continue to make morning wades when good tide movement puts plenty of water on the shorelines, and we'll fish out of the boat keying on slicks, birds and bait when the tide falls out. We are set up for a typical spring run of fast and furious catching, as long as we don't get another flood and the winds give us a break from time to time."

Jimmy West - Bolivar Guide Service - 409.996.3054
Jim was waist-deep wading a shoreline in East Bay when he gave this report. "We have been catching lots of trout wading lately, particularly when the tides are normal or above normal. Prior to this last front, I and lots of other people were catching easy limits of trout wading shorelines and fishing areas out in the middle of the bay. Strong north winds push the tide way out and muddy up the water, and the fishing gets tougher for a couple of days after. May sets up for an excellent run. The fish are kinda squeezed into small areas with all the freshwater right now, but they should be able to spread out some over the next month if we don't get another big flood. Birds are already working areas around the mid-bay reefs, and May is one of the best months for that kind of action. And, of course, the wading should continue steady, particularly along the south shoreline, if the winds mess up the water in the middle."

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves - Groves Guide Service
979.849.7019 - 979.864.9323
Randall reports that "fishing has been very good. We've been concentrating our efforts on shallow structures with deep water nearby. I discovered this pattern by watching barges with thousands of birds working behind them. The birds are picking shad churned up by the big boats, in their prop wash. I got to thinking this might be a reason for lots of fish to be around structures close to where this is happening. And I turned out to be right! We've been catching plenty of fish on this pattern lately. In May, things will likely change. We'll focus on incoming tides which are bringing in ribbonfish and other pelagic goodies. We will throw chicken on a chain Norton Sand Eels and Sand Shads, rigged on the three-eighths ounce Norton jigheads. We will also throw topwaters like SkitterWalks in bone and woodpecker. Normally, when the ribbonfish show up in abundance, the bite kicks off good on topwaters like those, worked fast and erratically, right among the schools of the slender, silver fish."

Matagorda | Tommy Countz
Bay Guide Service - 979.863.7553 cell 281.450.4037
Tommy says May is a great time for wading West Matagorda, starting off early in the morning working the shallow grass beds right along the bank, using small topwaters. "Later, we'll move out to some of the sand bars further from the shoreline, targeting trout on the grass beds with soft plastics in dark colors like morning glory and black magic, rigging them on light jigheads. When fishing out of the boat, we'll probably spend time on the new reef in West Bay, making sure to match our jighead size to the wind conditions, so we can fish close to the structures without hanging up, or we'll be in East Bay, bouncing soft plastics on the mud and shell in the west end. Also, we'll be looking to hit the surf if winds get calm. Out there, we'll start off wading the first gut with topwaters early and switch to dark soft plastics later, if the bite dies down. I expect the surf to kick off early this year, with the warm weather. This should help crank up tripletail season too."

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam - 979.240.8204
Awesome is the best word to describe fishing in the Palacios area right now. Trout fishing remains strong, drifting over shell in three to five feet of water. Tidal movement has been the key when we are drifting; the falling tide seems to be best. Egret Wedgetails in chicken on chain and Cajun pepper rigged about two feet under corks have been best baits as of late. Redfish are starting to show in their springtime haunts in good numbers with lots of good medium-sized slot fish coming to the box. Bone Spook Juniors and quarter-ounce weedless gold spoons have accounted for best bites. A bonus for us lately has been the number of flounder in the bay; we have been sticking limits of fish ranging from sixteen to nineteen inches, with a few over twenty coming aboard. If everything continues to improve, May will be great. I look for the glass minnow run to be in full effect on south shoreline of West Matagorda and my favorite fish, tripletails, to start showing up in and around structures in the local bays.

Port O'Connor | Lynn Smith
Back Bay Guide Service - 361.983.4434
Lynn says he's been having good luck fishing around shell reefs lately, and expects to continue fishing the same kinds of areas in May. "The reefs have been good lately. We are catching our fish on moving tides right on top of the structures, and when the tide is less strong, the bite is better over the mud adjacent to the reefs. May is a great time to fish reefs around here. We'll try to time our stops to coincide with the right tidal movements and we'll concentrate on areas which are holding lots of bait. We'll also spend some time targeting grassy, shallow areas along sandy shorelines, throwing topwaters as much as possible, particularly when we see large rafts of mullet in areas like that. Of course, we'll be looking to hit the surf if conditions allow. Often, when the surf gets right in the second half of spring, we catch some of the biggest trout of the year out there. We'll start off throwing topwaters in the shallowest parts, close to the sand, and work our way out deeper as the sun comes up, switching to sub-surface lures if we need to."

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service - 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
Blake was already experiencing good fishing in the surf in the days prior to the time of this report. "We have been in the surf the last couple days, and it's been really good. I expect it to stay really hot out along the beachfront every time winds get light enough to allow us to get there. Fishing is also good around shell reefs right now. With strong north winds blowing the other day, I and two other guys caught a bunch of trout, redfish and even black drum around a reef near one of the passes. The pattern of fishing flats and other areas close to the major passes is another great option in May. Places like East Flats, Super Flats, Cedar Flats and areas around Mud Island all produce good catches this time of year. Generally, the bite is good on topwaters most of the time. I will use those as much as I can, especially when I am able to fish out in the surf, but I won't hesitate to pull out the old standby Norton Sand Eels in dark colors with chartreuse tails if the action on floating plugs slows down."

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

The month of May is a great month for fishing, and the catching is not bad either! The trout will still be spawning, and this will make them very aggressive when they are in their feeding mode. This is a great time to start the day with my natural colored MirrOlure SheDog, if there is not too much floating grass on the surface of the water. Otherwise, I will fish with a sand trout or salt & pepper silver phantom/chartreuse tail Bass Assassin Die Dapper if the water is semi-clear. If the water is murky, I'll use morning glory/chartreuse or chartreuse dog rigged on a sixteenth-ounce Assassin Spring Lock jighead. I will target areas with two feet of water, along grass lines or areas with potholes. Fishing with live croakers will be very popular, and I will free line them on about twenty inches of fluorocarbon line with a #3 Mustad Croaker hook. I will approach the target areas as quietly as possible by using my trolling motor or drifting into it from at least a hundred yards away.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez - 361.937.5961
Parts of the Laguna Madre/Baffin Bay system are holding clear water, and the fishing for trout and redfish has been excellent so far this spring, Joe says. "The topwater bite has been on fire of late, particularly for the trout. Most of the fish have been holding in water about two to maybe three feet deep, where there are scattered grassbeds in a sandy or slightly muddy bottom. They are biting topwaters pretty much all day long on some days, as long as the plugs are moving fast and with a lot of erratic action. The reds haven't been as reliable on the topwaters. As usual, they are liking the soft plastics better some of the time. As long as the cooler weather holds, we should see plenty of fish in the shallows like this. If it warms up really fast in May, we'll probably have better luck on rocks and other structures adjacent to the shallows in deeper water. We'll look for rafted mullet to locate the fish if this happens, and of course we'll also be looking for the schools of reds to push wakes and show themselves in those same areas."

P.I.N.S. Fishing Forecast | Eric Ozolins
Jackfish stormed the beaches during April, nailing every bait or lure in front of them. They are thick and feeding so violently, we have actually seen some accidentally beach themselves chasing bait. Fly fishermen are having a ball with these hungry, hard-fighting bullies. Red drum are available in good numbers, feeding mostly on mullet. Gold spoons or live/dead bait will work. Trout are beginning to show in the surf; spoons and suspending lures are working, topwaters should come into play during May. Spanish mackerel are around when water is clear and are suckers for small spoons rigged on light wire. Whiting and pompano can be found on fresh-peeled shrimp. Shark fishermen can expect plenty of blacktips and big bull sharks should arrive soon. Don't be surprised if you hook into a scalloped hammerhead on baits such as whiting. Sargassum continues to be generally light. Driving will not be optimal due to normal springtime tides. Fog can be problematic too. Exercise caution and have fun with all the species available!

Port Mansfield | Ruben Garza 832.385.1431
Getaway Adventures Lodge 956.944.4000
Planning fishing trips will be easier as frontal systems, if any arrive, will have little impact. Spring fishing patterns are well developed at present and by month's end we will see summer patterns emerging. Early morning topwater action should be good. On light wind days I like to fish the various spoil dumps along the ICW and also the west shoreline. Recommended depth on the spoils is mid-thigh to waist-deep. On the spoils, make a few casts with soft plastics to the deeper water; the bite might be light but the fish are often pretty solid. Along the west shoreline, I like to start with the small SkitterWalk (SW-08) in bone, orange and speckled troutshallow at first light and then working deeper. K-Wiggler Ball Tail Shad on a light jighead is always a good choice over grass and along bottom contours. Mid-morning, I like to head to the eastside sand flats for redfish with weedless gold spoons. K-Wiggler paddletails are also good choices. For a little diversity and outstanding sport, kingfish and tarpon should begin frequenting the East Cut jetty very soon.

Lower Laguna Madre - South Padre - Port Isabel
Janie and Fred Petty 956.943.2747
We have had some decent tides, but at the time of this writing, we're still waiting for the big surge of water we expect every spring. Trout fishing has been excellent this year, but redfish have been harder to come by. A couple of years ago, if you had told us we would be having a difficult time finding reds, we would have laughed! But, the big schools we're used to finding on the LLM whenever the wind is flat aren't around, and the boat traffic continues to increase. We're catching limits of trout, some nice sized; including one trip with a thirty inch plus red and trout, using Cajun Thunder corks with Berkley Gulp! Live shrimp. Freddy says, "If you want to optimize the performance of your cork rigs, whether using round, popping, or cigar corks, try a 'Petty Popper'! This extender adds power and the right type of noise to make any cork work better, producing more strikes, and you will find that your tackle will last much longer than before." Check it out on Facebook page and website." Stop open bay dredge disposal!