Reports & Forecasts: May 2020

Trinity Bay - East Bay - Galveston Bay | James Plaag
Silver King Adventures - – 409.935.7242
April and May are great months for wadefishing and for catching some of the biggest trout of the year, James says. “We've seen most of our trout move up into the shallows over recent weeks. Catching is best lately for waders, especially those working areas with a mix of sand and grass on the bottom. We're finding good numbers of fish, with plenty weighing more than five pounds. Catching has been best on slow-sinking twitch baits like MirrOlure SoftDine XLs, Paul Brown Lures and similar ones, also on small topwaters like ShePups in pink colors. We're also throwing the old school Bass Assassin rat-tailed soft plastics in strawberry with white tail rigged on light jigheads quite a bit. Areas around any of the local passes usually produce a good many of the bigger trout during the height of spring, places like Sand and Pelican Islands, the Bolivar Flats, also areas behind San Luis Pass. On the windier days, it pays to work the shallows tight to a protected shoreline, but on other days, fishing the opposite side of the bay or in shallow places well away from a shoreline sometimes works better.”

Jimmy West - Bolivar Guide Service – 409.996.3054
As is the case most of the time in the Galveston Bay system, the fishing in May will vary in quality depending on the weather. Best places to be will also be dependent on weather factors, according to Jim. “May is a great time to wade the shorelines, especially when winds muck up the water in the middle. We've usually got plenty of fish along stretches of East Bay closer to the ship channel, and they hold up well under onshore winds with some easterly heading. If the wind has no east in it, the Bolivar Pocket, on the beach side of the North Jetty, can really be the best place of all to catch trout, including some really big ones. More west in the wind helps the water in there hold up after it gets blown out in most of the area. The shorelines in the back, along the refuge, also produce good catches this time of year, usually when winds are fairly calm. Light winds also allow us to get at the fish out in the middle better. All the famous reefs from Bull Shoals to the east can and will produce plenty of trout in May.”

West Galveston - Bastrop - Christmas - Chocolate Bays
Randall Groves - Groves Guide Service  
979.849.7019 – 979.864.9323
Randall reported excellent fishing on the trips he was running prior to giving this report. “Most of the fish I'm catching lately are biting Paul Brown Fat Boys in light colors like high cotton, bone or bay mistress. We've had great numbers lately, as the weather has warmed up. The bays are full of glass minnows and shrimp, and the predators are chasing them daily, so there are slicks to work, also some bird activity to key on. In May, we usually get a shot at some of our pelagic species, so we're looking forward to that. We'll also start throwing the old standby 51M MirrOlures in natural colors, either green or black on the back, silver on the side, white on the bottom. These lures work great in the surf and in nearshore waters. Of course, so do the Norton Sand Eels. We use those when we're fishing out of the boat too. I have long been a fan of two colors more than all the others—bone diamond and red magic. Of course, if using lures to catch fish seems like too much work, we can always move to live shrimp under popping corks. That plan has been pleasantly productive lately.”

Matagorda | Bay Guide Service
Charlie Paradoski – 713.725.2401
Charlie says the fishing in both the Matagorda bays has been productive over the weeks prior to him submitting this report. “In West Bay, the wading has been better. On the windier days, when we need to hide from the effects of the strong breezes, we usually head over there and hunker down in some of the protected coves and pockets on the south shoreline. All the hard, sandy bottoms and grass in that bay help the water stay reasonably clear, even when the wind gets up. Topwaters thrown tight to the bank work well on those days.  In East Bay, both wading and drifting have been good at times. People drifting areas out in the middle over a muddy bottom with some shell scattered around are catching good numbers of both trout and redfish. Calmer winds make this pattern more productive, of course. Calm conditions also open up the fishing around the jetties and in the surf. Some of the biggest surf trout of the year are caught in the month of May, so we already have our eyes on it, waiting for the right conditions to produce the first good run out there.”

Palacios | Capt. Aaron Wollam – 979.240.8204
Our spring patterns have kicked in fully here in the Palacios area. We've been catching plenty of trout drifting shell in three to five feet of water, throwing DSL in chicken of the sea and dirty tequila, rigged on quarter-ounce jigheads. Our topwater bite has become steady for trout along the shorelines, with pink/chrome and bone Spook Juniors working best. Fishing for reds has remained excellent, with schools roaming area shorelines around drains, chasing shrimp. The best lures for catching them have been soft plastics like Norton Bull Minnows in pearl/chartreuse and the old reliable quarter-ounce weedless gold spoons. Flounder have been plentiful too, with lots of smaller ones in the fifteen to sixteen-inch range being gigged at night by locals in boats rigged with lights. As more bait moves back into the bays, May should be another outstanding month, with the surf coming into play as an option more of the time. Grassy shorelines in West Matagorda will also produce well this month, as will some of the deeper reefs in our area bays. For best results, look for migrating herds of glass minnows and shrimp schooling under working gulls to locate fish this month.

Port O’Connor | Lynn Smith
Back Bay Guide Service – 361.983.4434
May is the month when the patterns shift more toward the warm weather ones, and Lynn finds the catching to be about as good as it gets. “May is a favorite month of mine. Lots of days, the trout take topwaters all day, and that kind of action is hard to beat. We spend most of our time away from the really muddy bottoms in May, focusing more on grassy guts running along sandy shorelines. One of the most important keys to catching this time of year is locating schools of glass minnows and rafts of mullet. If possible, it's best to keep lures in thick concentrations of the bait fish. If your lure is spooking lots of baitfish around it, the trout are sure to notice. We do normally catch some of our biggest trout of the year in May. One of the best patterns is when the tide comes in strong around daybreak or soon after. Fishing in areas close to the pass where deep water lies not too far away is a great bet in such a situation. People wanting to keep fish will be wise to carry some kind of device to keep sharks away, especially when they're fishing West Matagorda Bay.”

Rockport | Blake Muirhead
Gator Trout Guide Service - 361.790.5203 or 361.441.3894
During the months of April and May, Blake has excellent results catching both trout and redfish along area shorelines, in places where plenty of grass beds cover a generally grassy bottom. “We've got so many good shorelines protected from winds of all different directions, with hard sandy bottoms and lots of grass. We usually catch plenty of slot reds and some of the year's biggest trout throwing lures right next to the bank in places like these throughout the months of spring. Lately, we've had a good topwater bite on most days. We're catching plenty of fish on the black and silver and chartreuse and silver Baby Skitterwalks. The key is to work areas where the bottom has some sandy parts and some grassy parts. If there's a lot of sandy areas away from the bank, a few small grass beds tight to shore might hold several quality fish, and if it's really grassy away from the bank, a few bare sandy spots tight to the shore might be the ticket to several good bites. This time of year, incorporating lots of erratic movements into the presentations seems to work better than a simple, bland retrieve, at least some of the time.”

Upper Laguna Madre - Baffin Bay - Land Cut
Robert Zapata – [email protected] – 361.563.1160
With the trout feeding so aggressively this time of year, it pays to make sure the braided main line and fluorocarbon leader line are in good shape. Spawning trout get hungry and aggressive and strike with reckless abandon during periods of peak activity in May. When searching for them this month, I'll be looking for concentrations of mullet in two feet of water or less, in areas with a grassy bottom with scattered sandy potholes, or along edges of the grass. I start most of my days with a large topwater like a natural looking MirrOlure TopDog, and if I'm getting lots of blow ups without hooking many of the fish, I'll switch to a smaller topwater like a TopDog Junior. If that doesn't help the hook up rate, I usually move on to a Catch 5. All these lures work well, as long as the floating grass isn't too bad. But, my most consistent producers are the Bass Assassin Die Sappers in chicken on a chain, chartreuse dog, salt&pepper/chartreuse and plum/chartreuse. I also catch plenty on the smaller Assassin Sea Shads in Calcareous brew, pumpkin seed/chartreuse, Houdini and reuse goose.

Corpus Christi / Joe Mendez——361.877.1230
May is a great month for fishing Baffin Bay and the Upper Laguna Madre, for both trout and redfish, Joe says. “The reds often show up in schools of fairly ample size this month. We often see them on calmer mornings well up into the shallow areas, on flats. They push wide wakes as they stay out of the way of boats going by. Once we spot them, we can usually catch plenty on paddletails thrown well out in front of the herd and brought in at a steady pace right in their path. As the sun rises higher overhead and winds pick up, the fish usually move off the flats into deeper water. Catching them then is easiest in the clear water, which allows us to see them at depths of four to five feet. Lately, the clear water is well north, closer to the JFK Causeway. For trout, fishing around rocks is a great option this time of year, in places like Rocky Slough, areas along the Kenedy Shoreline, Penascal Point, Cathead, the Badlands, Marker 9 Rocks and other spots where large boulders stick well up off the bottom surrounded by water ranging from three to about seven feet deep.”

P. I.N.S. Fishing Forecast | Eric Ozolins
361-877-3583 |
May has the reputation for being one of the most chaotic months in the Texas surf, with a wide diversity of fish caught, almost as good as the bounty of September and October. Typically, we have plenty of jack crevalle storming the beaches, with Spanish mackerel and skipjacks mixed in. The jacks will take just about anything thrown near them; large spoons and topwaters work especially well. Behind the jacks will come the sharks—everything from small Atlantic sharpnoses to large tigers. Right now, the best rule to follow when fishing for sharks in the surf is big bait equals big shark. May is also a good month for targeting large speckled trout in the surf. The action usually kicks off near the passes then spreads out along the beaches. My favorite lure for trout in the surf is a SheDog. Redfish, black drum and sheepshead are also abundant this month, and they take a variety of dead and cut baits. King mackerel and cobia are possibilities in May, as are a few of the early migrating tarpon. The options look like a smorgasbord. Some of the state's beaches are closed, so check all local sources before heading out.

Port Mansfield | Ruben Garza – 832.385.1431
Getaway Adventures Lodge – 956.944.4000
Fishing in the Lower Laguna Madre has been outstanding for all who can make it out there. The areas around Green Island and north to the cabins along the ICW have been very productive, as have the flats surround the Saucer area. Topwater action has improved steadily lately, and should continue to get better throughout the month of May. Bone, pink and gold Heddon One Knockers have been earning the most strikes. Peyton's Bay has also been giving up some nice fish. Often, early in the morning hours, we're seeing birds working around spoils along the ICW to the south and sometimes right in Peyton Bay itself. The water between the Pipeline and the islands lying along the southern edge of the East Cut can be good, if winds are light. We're starting most days off in knee-deep water, throwing topwaters, then working progressively deeper and switching to KWigglers as the day wears on. In an average year, we start seeing first signs of the tarpon migration right around Mother's Day weekend, at the mouth of the East Cut jetties. The action on king mackerel and jack crevalle is usually outstanding out there this time of year too.

Lower Laguna Madre—South Padre—Port Isabel
Aaron Cisneros | – 956-639-1941
When water temperatures rose into the mid to upper-70s, the bite really turned on. Shorelines have been producing great trout fishing, as the trout gather to prey on plentiful shrimp and finger mullet. Trout have been attacking topwaters aggressively most days; bone Spook Juniors have been by far the most attractive to them. We've caught lots of solid keeper trout around the ICW spoil islands, with a sprinkling of bigger fish mixed in, up to around twenty-five inches. In these areas, the topwaters have been producing mixed results. KWigglers Ball Tail Shad in Mansfield Margarita color rigged on eighth-ounce screw-lock jigheads are more effective around the mushy, grassy drop offs on the spoils. Reds are available in steady numbers along bay shorelines, with small schools roaming the back bays. Since shrimp are so plentiful in spring, we target reds with soft plastics in natural colors most often. The reds will take small topwaters much better on the cloudy days and during the first hours of morning and late in the evenings. Bird activity is on the increase, which is a reliable sign of improving action, as various forages species move in and predators chase them.