Reports & Forecasts: May 2017

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

We look forward to the month of May every year. Speckled trout action really heats up at this time. Water temperatures will be anywhere from the mid to upper 70s, salinities will be high, and the spawn will be in full effect. This makes May one of the best months to catch really heavy trout. Most of the time, we are still finding big trout on shallow flats in less than four feet of water. Barring a major rain event, trout will be found throughout the entire estuary. If there is an influx of freshwater, trout will seek higher salinity in the south end of the estuary, even to the Gulf. Suspending baits like Paul Brown FatBoys, Devils, SoftDines, and MirrOlure MirrOdines are excellent choices during this time-frame, but the topwater action in May can be epic. We like MirrOlure TopDogs, SheDogs, Skitterwalks, and Super Spooks. Folks should throw colors they have confidence in.I like chrome/blue back, but topwaters are more about confidence than colors for the most part. Good luck to all of you in your fishing journeys this May.

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

May is a transitional month for anglers in Galveston Bay, and James says the quality of the catching will definitely depend on the weather. “When winds are light in May, options are wide open. We usually have fish spread out in various places, unless a lot of freshwater is flowing down the rivers and into the bays. If the water is pretty salty, we will be able to catch plenty of trout and redfish in open-bay areas from Upper Galveston to both East and West Bays. We key on slicks out there, and like to stay over areas with mud and shell on the bottom. If mullet are jumping, the topwater bite can be good, even out in the middle. Of course, if it's windier, we will have better luck wading along protected shorelines. Normally, areas around San Luis Pass and in the east end of East Bay produce some good trout for waders this time of year on topwaters and sinking twitch baits. Places close to the channel like Pelican and Sand Island do too.”

Jimmy West - Bolivar Guide Service - 409.996.3054
Weather plays a big role in spring fishing in the Galveston area, according to Jim. “It's been kinda hit or miss lately. The water is warmer than normal most of the time, but the tide level is really inconsistent. Right now, the fish are pulled out in the middle, and if you can get at 'em, it's pretty easy. Of course, when the wind blows twenty, that plan is ruined. We should see more fish moving onto the shorelines soon.In fact, we had plenty in the shallows a couple weeks ago, but the tide went out again, and the fish moved back into the middle. We should see more consistent early-morning activity in May along the shorelines and in the marshes, especially when tides are coming in and winds aren't blowing too hard. The fronts will come through less and less often, so we will see more good days than mediocre ones. Topwaters and tails have been working well lately, and that should remain the basic game plan throughout the next couple months. Good news is we've got fish in lots of parts of the bays, so that should spread the crowds out some.”

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

During the time Randall gave this report, a strong northwest wind had him tied to the dock. “We are having the typical ups and downs which come with spring weather lately. On some days, we just can't get out.But really, the fishing has been excellent, even on the windy days. We've got tons of bait pouring into the bays right now, glass minnows, button shad and rafts and rafts of mullet. Lots of predators showing among them, of course. Plenty of Spanish mackerel, jack crevalle and redfish feeding frantically. The trout should show up in better numbers any day now. Best luck lately has been on red magic Norton Bull Minnows rigged on three-eighths ounce screwlock jigheads. We've also had a vigorous topwater bite during parts of most days recently. The red-head, white body Skitterwalk has been producing well. As have many of the MirrOlure sinking twitch baits. We've made some nice catches lately throwing a black/silver/white51MR MirrOlure, working it really fast, with lots of twitching, to create plenty of flash and rattle.”

Matagorda | Tommy Countz
Bay Guide Service - 979.863.7553 cell 281.450.4037

“May is one of my favorite months of the year,” Tommy says. “April is good too, but I like May even better. We like to start off early in the morning this time of year working grass beds tight to the shorelines in West Matagorda with small topwaters. We will move out to the bars with deeper grass beds and drop offs as the sun moves higher. And we switch over to soft plastics on light jigheads then. Sometimes, we wind up going back up shallow and throwing the soft plastics at the grass beds on the bank again and catching more fish. Drifting the west end of East Bay is also productive this time of year. We catch quite a few trout in the 25 to 27-inch class over there on soft plastics rigged on heavier heads and bumped along the bottom. Another thing we look to do this time of year is get into the surf anytime the winds allow it. We'll work the shallow guts early with topwaters, then move out a little deeper with soft plastics later out there. And, we are always looking for tripletails to show up in the bays this time of year.”

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam - 979.240.8204

Spring fishing has arrived full force in Palacios. We are seeing tons of mullet, crabs, shad and shrimp throughout our estuaries, and we can't wait to see how good the bite will be. Trout fishing has been off the charts. We're wading area shorelines with a bottom of of mixed sand and grass. Bone Spook Juniors and MirrOlure ShePups in bone have worked great. When the topwater bite dies, pearl/chartreuse paddletails have accounted for better action. Redfish have been hammering black/gold/orange ShePups most mornings and quarter-ounce weedless gold spoons have earned many bites too. May is one of our top months to fish this area because of many options. The surf will be the top choice when we get light north winds.Drifting deep shell and working the rigs out in West Matagorda are other great options, using live shrimp rigged a few feet under popping corks. Trolling backlake shorelines looking for feeding redfish is another great idea. Match whatever they are feeding on, and catching fish from the schools can be easy.

Port O'Connor | Lynn Smith
Back Bay Guide Service - 361.983.4434

Lynn had been catching good numbers of trout in the 24-25 inch class on trips leading into the time of this report, and he expects similar action to continue during the month of May. “We're fishing in the back lakes a lot, targeting areas with a grassy bottom and targeting the big trout. The same places hold lots of aggressive reds this time of year too, but we're making the bigger trout bite consistently on recent trips. We throw topwaters quite a bit this time of year, and May is one of the best months of all for the floating plugs like Super Spooks. But right now, our biggest fish are liking the sinking twitch baits best, especially the broken-back Corky. When I fish that lure, I like to keep my rod tip up really high. I'll make one twitch with it, then sweep the lure through the water with the rod tip, then let it fall on slack. Lots of the bites come on the fall. The tail of the lure imparts quite a bit of action when it settles into the water. By far, the best color has been the one with the red back, silver side and white belly. The trout have been inhaling it.”

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

Blake expects to be fishing areas with a sandy, grassy bottom in places like Aransas, Mesquite and adjacent bays, and also heading out into the surf quite a bit in May. “Lately, the fish have been biting topwaters well.We've been catching plenty of fish on the small Skitterwalks and also on TopDogs in black and silver. May is typically one of the best months for fishing topwaters, and I expect it will be this year too. We like to target our trout in water about waist-deep most of the time in the spring, and we'll use the old stand-by soft plastics like the Norton Sand Eels in dark colors with chartreuse tails any time the fish aren't taking the topwaters readily. Another pattern that seems to produce every year about this time is related to the hatching of the menhaden. When we start seeing lots of schools of menhaden, the fishing usually gets good around the mid-bay reefs in bays like Aransas, Mesquite and San Antonio. The small topwaters really get lots of action once that pattern kicks off in earnest, probably because they look like the little menhaden.”

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

The month of May is a great time to be fishing! The fishing menu is loaded with big trout, big redfish and big flounder. It’s easy to catch fish in May because you can use a variety of lures and baits during this month. Most of the fish will be in less than two feet of water, along grass lines, drop-offs and areas with scattered pot holes. The trout will especially be in these type of areas, as they will be spawning.I will be looking for areas with concentrations of bait and approach them quietly from a good distance with my trolling motor or wade into it. The different tactics will include live shrimp under a popping cork, smelly baits like Bass Assassin Blurps or Berkley Gulp! Shrimp rigged on an eighth-ounce Assassin jighead hanging about ten inches under a Bass Assassin Kwik Kork. Two other effective tactics involve throwing natural-colored Assassin Die Dappers rigged on sixteenth-ounce jigheads and free-lining live croakers on a #3 wide-gap Mustad Croaker hook attached to at least eighteen inches of twenty pound test fluorocarbon.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez - 361.937.5961
The clear water has been moving up and down the Lagoon with the rising tide lately, and Joe says he likes to stay in areas where he can clearly see the bottom and the fish. “If the tide comes in, the clear water pushes south a ways, and we are able to see into the water really well in areas around Beacroft's and Emmord's Holes, and all along the ICW from Bird Island north. Nighthawk Bay has some really clear water too. The fish are really shallow right now, and they stay shin-deep or shallower most of the time in May too. We like to target them with paddletails and other soft plastics, either blind-casting into the potholes in the grass or throwing directly at the fish when we are able to see them, making the lures land well out in front of the fish and bringing them into their sight-cones steadily. Of course, when the tide moves out, the clear water moves from south to north. Then, areas around the Land Cut tend to hold the best water in the area. We target our fish then in places like Summer House, Rocky Slough and South Yarbrough. Fishing high up on the flats in the shallows, where potholes create bright spots in the grass.”

P.I.N.S. Fishing Forecast | Eric Ozolins
May is an interesting month in the PINS surf. Many bait species are running, so jack crevalle and skipjacks feed in force. Jacks can be caught on live mullet, topwaters and spoons. Red drum will be plentiful, sometimes large schools of slot-sized fish. With all this activity, expect sharks to be present. The first gut will have everything from bulls to lemons. Scalloped hammerheads and greater hammerheads should start moving in at any time. All these sharks will be possible on close baits, especially during late-afternoon and evening. Water clarity should be fairly clean and the only main issue will be sargassum. If the water is semi-clear, expect Spanish mackerel mixed with the jacks. During most years, May is also a prime month for large trout. Topwaters are killer speck lures, especially cast early and late around structures. Expect some continuing high tides early this month. Be careful when driving, as decomposing weed can create a quicksand effect with potential to mire your vehicle. Keep watch for nesting Kemps Ridley turtles while driving.

Port Mansfield | Ruben Garza 832.385.1431
Getaway Adventures Lodge 956.944.4000

Spring has definitely sprung, and fishing has really taken off. Trout and reds are smashing topwaters. The west shoreline and ICW spoil banks north and south of port have been very productive for waders and should continue so through spring into summer. Don't be surprised to hook a beast of a trout in these areas. If you do, please practice CPR. When topwater action slows, switch to a KWiggler Ball Tail or Willow Tail on sixteenth or eighth-ounce jighead. Mansfield margarita and plum/chartreuse have been great producers. Another favorite is the Willow Tail in red shad. Over on the east side, target potholes on grassy flats. They’re taking topwaters there, too. When the trout action gets too slow, I break out the gold, weedless spoons and target singles and pods of cruising reds. Any time you spot a stingray skimming along the sand bottom, make a series of cast along its trail. Trout and reds often shadow these guys to snap up any small bait the rays spook from the bay floor.Be courteous to your fellow anglers. Tight lines and calm seas!

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

Catching trout has not been a problem with FP3 and Berkley Gulp!. The reds have been easier to fool with strong tide movement and medium-strong winds. The best fishing has been early-morning or late-afternoon. Weekends are not the ideal time, with heavy boat traffic a huge factor, especially when the tides are low.Freddy says. “If you want fish to bite when the conditions are not perfect, you have to really pop that cork, then let it sit after the first two or three pops. The noisy action draws the attention of hungry predators, but the Gulp! bobbing under the cork makes fish hit.” We’re throwing the three-inch Gulp! shrimp in pearl white or new penny, twisted on a sixteenth-ounce spring-lock jighead under an eighteen inch mono leader tied to a red FP3.Fishing the clear potholes or the muddy drop offs does not affect presentation, unless you want to shorten the leader in really shallow water.We’re seeing lots of reds on the low side of the slot, but trout and flounder that are exceptionally large.Help stop open bay dredge disposal!