The View: May 2024

The View: May 2024

May brings the first glimpse of summer and the last glimpse of spring. May is all about consistency in weather patterns. It is the first month of the year when the magic of 70° water temperatures is here to stay. Why is the 70-something mark so magical? Warmer tides elevate activity among all species, baitfish included. When mullet, shad, shrimp and glass minnows are on the move, they are more readily available to the predator species we target like trout and redfish. Think about it; you have become a lot more active since temperatures have risen and the sun has shown daily. The same applies to our fish.

I can't wait to make my first wade on a hallowed flat stationed between the Port O’Connor jetty and Pass Cavallo. With an emerald incoming tide, few wading sessions rival it with a dog-walking plug.

Of course, when waters are green in East Bay we will opt for heavier trout there. You have heard it like a broken record, but deep shell in East Bay holds quality fish. East Matty had a decent spring for lure-chunkers tossing Bass Assassins, Down South and MirrOlures while drifting. Live shrimp, Gulps and Vudu Shrimp under a Mid Coast cork is always game-on with winds less than 10 knots.

In West Matagorda Bay, glass minnows began to show in April. The food chain was given a shot of adrenaline with late winter rains that balanced the brine. Minnows, shrimp, shad, crabs and mullet have been the beneficiaries, as has the habitat.

There should still be a few of the tiny anchovies left in May, but the return of shad and mullet to the shorelines is what we are looking for to provide a consistent topwater bite.

Look for more slicking action this month. As more oily-fleshed baitfish creep along the shorelines the trout will adapt to that diet and give away their locale as they feed aggressively. A fresh slick carrying the aroma of watermelon gives an angler confidence; just like that pretty girl that gave you a smile in college.

We start eyeing the jetty rocks in May. Texas’ jetty systems can be likened to a major lifeline of its estuaries. Like an artery pumping blood to the heart, a jetty is a thoroughfare pumping new recruits of forage species and fresh brine to the upper reaches of bays and backwaters. It is a haven for shad, shrimp, anchovies, pogies, mullet, ballyhoo and crabs filtering in and out, and the jetty coughs up a new crop of fish with every May tide.

On a normal day in May, big reds, jacks, sharks and even tarpon hang out around the rocks; and, the largest speckled trout of the summer are routinely caught there as well.

Good things are in store for our fisheries in the coming days with the new trout regulations in place. Ninety-nine percent of the anglers I speak with at the dock are excited about how these conservative limits will restore our world-class trout fishery.

Even though trout limits have been tightened recently, please continue to practice catch and release. The regulations may say 15-20 inches, but I still have a hard time putting a knife in an 18- to 20-inch trout. Every fish you give another chance is an opportunity for continuing to grow into an eight, nine, and dare I say 10-pounder. It can happen. The history of Matagorda fishing proves it.

Sunrise Lodge and Properties specializes in hunting, fishing, waterfront lodging and entertainment, vacation rentals, and coastal and farm and ranch real estate.