South Padre: May 2013

South Padre: May 2013
A big thanks to Shallow Sport Boats and Mercury Marine. I truly look forward to representing both companies well.
Fishing the past few weeks on the Lower Laguna has not been a cakewalk. As a matter of fact, unless you have patience to keep searching and more waiting for them to bite even when you know where they are, you've probably been going home empty-handed. This is not meant to say we have struggled every day as that is not true, but we have certainly been working for our bites more often than I had hoped we'd be this spring season.

One major aspect of fishing that many anglers do not grasp is patience something we've needed a lot of lately. If you research the word you will find several definitions and wise sayings associated with it. My favorite is, "patience is a virtue" and right alongside is "good things come to those who wait." Being patient and waiting for the fish to turn on would certainly describe my game plan the last several weeks.

In my opinion, the main factors driving this slow bite have been gusting wind churning lots of good fishing grounds into chocolate foam and longer than normal periods of slack tides. While we cannot control the wind, we can certainly concentrate our efforts in prime areas with fairly decent clarity when the tide is moving; and that is how we turn tough days into decent trips.

Redfish have been a tad harder to target than I predicted in this column last month. We have been finding them generally scattered in small groups as opposed to schools and this has been a daily puzzle. I have noticed that around the new and full moon when the falling tide drops a greater amount, the reds will tend to school at the edges of flats adjacent to channels where the bait is being pulled toward deeper water. When this happens we find the knee-to-thigh-deep potholes in generally grassy areas the best spots to target. Shallow sandy humps rising from deeper grass have also been good for us. Most of our redfish have been caught on Kelley Wiggler Ball Tail Shads in Flo Mingo and also the plum with blue metal flake rigged on 1/8 ounce heads. During windy conditions when the baits tend to rise in the water column when we work them, we have been inserting a small piece of lead solder to the bait to help hold it lower. I wish I could say we are getting reds on topwaters but that has not been happening, even with the rise in water temperature. Hopefully this will change soon.

Trout, on the other hand, have been easier to locate. With that being said the future of this fishery looks bright given the number of small fish mixed with the keepers. We are still catching solid trout in the four to seven pound class, but the numbers of fish in the seven-and-over class have declined as they have scattered since the rising of our water temperatures and water levels. Never rule out a late afternoon or evening trip this time of year if your preference is chasing bigger trout. Our late evening outings have produced the best numbers of heavier fish by far and another point to consider is the reduced traffic in the evenings allowing you to fish more prime locations. If you don't have the time or the patience to fish all day, I would definitely suggest you target the last hours of daylight. Trout have been more aggressive on the surface than the reds, and the smaller plugs like the Spook Jr. are doing better than full-sized baits. As floating grass becomes an increasing problem you might consider rigging your topwaters with Gamakatsu single hooks. Look for trout to take it to another level of aggression on surface plugs as May rolls around.

I would like offer special thanks to Wes Hudson and the crew at Shallow Sport for making my 1986 classic new again. They did an awesome job! I am also proud to announce that I have recently joined Mercury's Pro Team. My rig now sports a brand new Mercury 150 Pro XS, thanks to Bass Pro - Tracker Marine Boat Center in Harlingen. I have nothing but praise for their service and their very competitive pricing. This outboard is giving me a great hole shot and I'm burning about half the fuel my old engine used.

May marks the beginning of the summer tournament season and heavy boat traffic will be common on Fridays and weekends. Please exercise greatest caution and courtesy for your fellow anglers. Best of fishing luck and remember good things come to those who wait.