Reports & Forecasts: May 2018

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

May is looking to have great potential as of now. The water is clearing up nicely, and things should be right on schedule for May. Baitfish are very prolific this year, and we expect the trout to be as well. Schools of fish will be roaming the lake and targeting them under working birds will again be the norm. Oyster reefs will still be productive, but can be inconsistent at times, due to the fish constantly moving. Consequently, focusing on finding the birds is sometimes the most productive way to catch numbers of fish. Big trout fishing at this time is excellent. Look for them on sand flats on incoming tides. Topwaters work great this time of year, particularly for locating fish. Often, trout will strike at topwaters, but won’t take them well enough to get hooked. If this happens too often, a switch to other lures makes good sense. Try a jig or put on a suspending lure. Usually, one or the other will produce more caught fish. Redfish will roam the middle of the lake, looking for easy meals, and they are typically easy to catch on just about any lure.

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag

Silver King Adventures - - 409.935.7242

James mentions good options in various parts of the Galveston Bay system for the month of May. “In my home area, fishing around San Luis Pass generally produces some good catches of both trout and redfish this month. Catching in that area is best when winds aren't too strong and the tide is flowing, but not so strong that it mucks up the shallow flats. Too much current will wreck the bite. Wading places like Campbell's Bayou and around Sand and Pelican Islands can produce epic catches in May. Folks who don't like to wade can sometimes do just about as good by targeting their fish under birds and slicks. Topwaters like ShePups and Spook Juniors work great, especially when the fishing is done by wading. Of course, soft plastics like Bass Assassin Sea Shads and others work better for people who don't want to work as hard at making a heavy lure dance side to side on every cast. Sometimes, just throwing a paddletail out and reeling it straight back in produces best. Experimenting with speed of retrieve is critical.”

Jimmy West - Bolivar Guide Service - 409.996.3054

As is always the case, the catching in Galveston depends on the weather. “In the windy months of spring, we have the best luck on the calmest days, when more options are available to us. You can choose to wade on the calmer days, but you can also fish out in the middle, or stay in the marshes and have better water quality and better control of the boat. We've been experiencing some good fishing on the better days lately. Moving water is critical to a good bite, like always. Places around Rollover Pass and close to the jetties have been producing great catches of trout when conditions are right. Redfish have been schooling and mudding out in the middle of East Bay, and we've had birds working over small trout some of the time too. Wading in the back of the bay in the shallows along the shorelines has produced some pretty big trout for folks throwing topwaters and twitch baits, and this is a proven way to catch some of the biggest trout in our bays during the month of May, especially on strong, incoming tides in the mornings.”

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

By May, many of the pelagic species will have already arrived in the San Luis Pass area, Randall says, but this year, late cold fronts stalled the migrations right around the time of this report. “These harsh fronts rolling through have kept me and my customers pinned to the dock more than usual over recent weeks. We should lose fewer days in May, when the winds typically calm down some and fronts usually become much less frequent. We should also see a thinning out of the trillions of tiny shad, and that should make it easier to get the attention of predators who have been filling up on them recently. Lately, our best catching has been on Norton Sand Eels in chicken on a chain rigged on three-eighths-ounce jigheads when the fish are holding close to the bottom and not biting aggressively. When they are more active, we're doing better with a Norton Bull Minnow rigged on either a quarter or eighth-ounce jighead, which allows us to flutter the soft plastic in the middle and upper parts of the water column.”

Matagorda | Charlie Paradoski
Bay Guide Service | 713.725.2401

Both of the bays in the Matagorda area have been producing nice catches lately, Charlie reports. “All of the reefs, and we have more of them than ever before, in West Bay have been holding good numbers of two to four pound trout, for folks who want to fish out of the boat. People interested in going after the big trout will be better off wading in East Bay, either on the mid-bay reefs when winds are light, or along the shorelines if it's windier. Of course, this month the potential for catching in the surf and at the jetties picks up considerably. When winds calm down, and/or blow offshore, casting topwaters in the first gut along the beach at daylight or close to the rocks when tides swirl around the jetties can produce easy limits of trout, sometimes with big ones thrown in as a bonus. As in all months, catching fish in the Matagorda area means paying attention to the weather and adjusting location. The month of May offers plenty of ripe opportunity for big trout and numbers of both trout and redfish in various places.”

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam | 979.240.8204

We're in full-blown spring mode, with lots of topwater action and bays filling up with bait. Redfish have been biting steadily on area shorelines. We're following schools of shad and mullet down the banks. White and pink SkitterWalks have been the best topwaters, and we've had some epic blowups from hungry fish. Trout have been out a bit deeper, over shell and have been eating topwaters too. Solid shell bottoms in three to five feet of water have been holding specimens to 26 inches. Flounder have made their way back to the bays, and we've been picking up a few slot fish on our live-bait trips. Black drum have been plentiful over shell reefs on fresh dead and live shrimp under popping corks. May is a great month, with lots of productive areas in our local waters to fish. The deep reefs and shell pads will hold good trout as water temperatures increase, reds will start schooling over grass flats and the tripletail will move into the bays to hang around visible structures, so it's an awesome month to fish just about anywhere!

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

Fishing in the Port O'Connor area should be good in the middle of spring, Lynn predicts. “We'll be working main bay shorelines, targeting big trout in sandy potholes creating bright spots in the grass beds. We'll use slow-sinking twitch baits like MirrOlure SoftDines and SoftDine XLs, making long casts and working them slowly through the potholes with lots of erratic action, pausing to allow them to become an easy target from time to time. We'll do the same drill along some of the shorelines in the back lakes too, except in there, we often throw at grass beds and patch reefs, instead of targeting potholes in the grass. Lately, catching redfish has been a bit easier than catching trout. In May, fishing for reds can be outstanding. We like to fish the main bay shorelines adjacent to drains leading into the back lakes, particularly when outgoing tides sweep out of the lakes into the deeper basins. On different days, one of these three drills usually produces well. Sometimes all three of them do, so it's a great time to fish this area.”

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

Blake expects to be doing many of the same things he's been doing recently once May rolls around. “We are fishing sandy, grassy shorelines, staying pretty shallow most of the time, throwing a lot of topwaters. The bite has been pretty steady on most trips on chrome/black versions of the SkitterWalks, both the Baby and full-sized ones. The trout bite has been good on moving tides when winds aren't too strong. Fishing for reds has been best in shallow areas around the drains connecting backwater lakes to the main bays. They bite the topwaters well on some occasions, but soft plastics like the split-tail shad Gulp! products and spoons produce more bites on other days. The topwater bite this month is normally about as good as it gets, and we usually catch some of the bigger, spawning trout on them. If winds are favorable, the surf normally becomes consistent this month too. Folks venturing to Cedar Bayou should exercise extreme caution these days, since the area was dramatically altered by Hurricane Harvey.”

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

The weather during May usually produces good fishing and typically, the catching is also consistently better as the month progresses. This is a spawning period for trout, so they will be very aggressive when they are feeding. The topwater action will be great during May, so use your favorite natural-colored MirrOlure SheDogs or TopDogs and retrieve them at different speeds until you start getting some hits. If you are getting blow-ups without hooking up, switch to a smaller topwater or use a suspending lure like the MirrOlure Catch 5. These will work as long as there is not too much floating or suspended grass. Bass Assassin Die Dappers in colors like sand trout and salt & pepper/chartreuse or the new Salty Snacks in colors like pumpkinseed/chartreuse and plum/chartreuse rigged on sixteenth-ounce jigheads will also be good options. Live croakers will be available in May, and free-lining them on a #3 Mustad Croaker Hook will catch a lot of trout. Make sure to use about 20 inches of fluorocarbon line as a leader for all of these baits and lures.

Corpus Christi | Joe Mendez | | 361.937.5961

A light case of brown tide has moved into some of the area over the last month, Joe says, but catching remains steady and should continue right through the spring. “We usually adjust to an emerging brown tide by focusing our efforts up north, where the water remains clear. Up here, we can expect to sight-cast schools of reds early in the mornings, by locating them as they push wakes while we drive by. Later in the day, we can usually throw at singles or small pods of reds in the shallows, sometimes drum and big trout too. If and when we venture further south, into areas where the water isn't as clear, we adjust by throwing lures with rattles or soft plastics with paddletails, which provide vibration and help the fish locate them more easily. Sandy, grassy areas in Baffin and along both sides of the ICW south of there have been holding good numbers of medium-sized trout and upper-slot reds, with a few bigger trout in the mix. The same kinds of areas should produce well in May, as should some of the prominent rock formations. The west ledge of the Land Cut should continue producing great fishing for black drum.”

P.I.N.S. Fishing Forecast | Eric Ozolins

May’s surf is known to provide explosive action from a variety of species. Jack crevalle often storm the shallows during morning hours and will crush topwaters, swimbaits, and spoons. Jacks and reds will readily take mullet. Speckled trout should also be available on topwaters and MirrOlures, with better quality and numbers farther south. Pompano, whiting, black drum and sheepshead will take fresh shrimp and Fishbites. Shark abundance will be greater than any month thus far this year. Blacktip, bull, scalloped hammerhead, and half a dozen others prowl the shallows when bait is concentrated. Though nothing beats fresh stingray or jackfish for shark bait, whole whiting and pompano are the best hammerhead baits. The biggest bull sharks of the year are typically caught from the beach during May as they come in close, dropping pups. Larger sharks will be in the surf preying upon southern and roughtail stingrays. Waders beware – stingrays will be plentiful. Higher than normal tides and sargassum can complicate beach driving.

Port Mansfield | Ruben Garza | 832.385.1431
Getaway Adventures Lodge | 956.944.4000

May weather is generally favorable, apart from the odd late norther and Port Mansfield’s famous afternoon wind. Waters north and south of East Cut hold lots of fish this month. Start early with a Spook Junior or Baby SkitterWalk, especially around oysters south of the Cut. I prefer stronger hooks than the factory stuff. Anywhere you find bait along the west shoreline is another solid morning option. The edges of old oil-field cuts on the east side produce some really nice redfish and trout in early-morning. When surface action fades, I'm quick to tie on an eighth-ounce jig with a KWiggler Ball Tail--Mansfield margarita or Lagunaflauge. Later in the day, I hit the east-side sand flats for sight-casting reds and occasional large trout. This is weedless spoon country, and gold works best. Small paddletails in natural colors also produce bites on these flats. Don’t pass up a trip to the jetties when the wind allows; target diving gulls and pelicans, and bait balls on moving tides. Species range from trout and reds to kings, tarpon, and sharks – rig accordingly!

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

FP3 corks are nailing the trout. Despite high winds and murky water, we’re able to call fish to the hook with the splash and vibration created by popping the cork. Using the brightly colored Berkley Gulp! Live three-inch shrimp, usually pearl white or glow in the low light of early-morning, to get the attention of predators left on the flats after feeding the night before. As the sun gets overhead, we switch to darker colors or something with a chartreuse tail for contrast with the grassy bottom or deeper drop offs. Reds don’t usually care what you’re throwing when they’re feeding; however, when they are moving off the flats, you might need to pop hard two or three times, then let the cork remain still for five to ten seconds. Freddy says, “Sandy holes and depth changes are where hungry predators wait for the moving tide to sweep food out of hiding into the open where they can get at it. Concentrate your efforts at the end of your cast; as far from the boat as possible and then reel in fast to keep the line tight and avoid knots.” Let’s stop open bay dredge disposal.