Mid-Coast Bays: May 2015

Mid-Coast Bays: May 2015
Robin Conner with a solid springtime trout.
Spring has sprung and springtime fishing patterns are in full swing. Sometimes I feel like a broken record, talking about springtime fishing tips and tricks but, that doesn't mean they are any less important. Weather conditions still play an important role when deciding when and where I will be able to concentrate my efforts. Luckily we've had a good amount of rainfall and salinity is back to normal over much of the bay system. Our main obstacle or hindrance will be prevailing high wind through the rest of spring.

Fishing this time of year can pretty awesome but when you encounter a string of windy days the options of where to fish can become somewhat limited. This naturally tends to concentrate fishermen into protected waters and when you add weekend traffic to the equation you often find several boats trying to work the same area. So now you aren't only dealing with high winds but now overcrowding becomes another problem.

On super blustery days, find an area that gives you some protection from the wind and make sure you see some baiting running about. Back lakes will probably be one of your choices to fish due to the protection but wading our back lakes can be quite daunting unless you can endure ankle to calf-deep mud. Drifting will probably be the best option for many.

On slow days where you might catch a few on each drift it's best to stick with that area and just work for them. I've watched many anglers drift an area once, catch a few, then decide to look elsewhere. Pretty soon they're back because those "few" were better than none. Having faced this dilemma many times, sticking with an area and working it over repeatedly provides better results than running from one spot to the next in search of better numbers. Boat riding does not produce bites.

If you want to wade but are not looking to get bogged down by mud, I would suggest the leeward sandy shorelines of our major bays like Espiritu Santo and San Antonio. These shorelines can be very productive fishing the guts and drop-offs. On those rare, calmer spring days, San Antonio Bay reefs are always a good choice.

Quite often I get avid lure-chunkers that will bring a buddy or two that prefer all natural bait. Artificials and live shrimp can work well on the same boat because they pretty much involve the same chunk-retrieve method.

Grass is starting to present problems now that the temperatures have risen so most of my rods will be rigged with a Texas rig "weedless" setup. The Bass Assassin 3.5 inch Die Dapper in Houdini color, enhanced with their BANG Fish Attractant impregnated into the plastic works great on the Texas rig.

Topwaters will be another good choice. My go-to is usually the Heddon Super Spook Jr. although on windier days I opt for the larger and noisier Super Spook and MirrOlure's He Dog or She Dog. This is due to the fact that larger and noisier plugs draw more attention in the choppier conditions.

For the all-natural (live bait) anglers, live shrimp under a popping cork is a sure winner. I prefer to use a 4-inch Alameda rattling cork connected to the main line above the leader. The length of your leader will vary anywhere from 18 to 30 inches depending on the depth of water you will be fishing. Your leader should be rigged with a #10 barrel swivel at the top (the swivel helps keep your line from twisting) and a Mustad 2/0 Kahle-style "croaker" hook tied to the bottom. When using any rattling cork it produces best results if you "pop" it vigorously every so often to make a chugging sound and also so that the beads inside the cork can rattle, which in turn draws more attention from nearby fish.

All in all, don't let the strong winds keep you at bay. May is a great month to fish and because we are lucky enough here on the mid coast to have so many protected back lakes and shorelines, we can all be a part of great catches if we remain patient, respectful of other anglers, and our resources. I really am excited to see what is in store for our area over the course of the next few years. With the opening of Cedar Bayou, recent rainfalls and lower bag limits on trout, I think we are going to experience some of the best catching we have seen in a long time.