South Padre: May 2017

South Padre: May 2017
Some fishermen are good and some are lucky; Gordon Karstedt is both! CPR.

The busy season is upon us and from the amount of boat traffic it looks like we might set a record on the Lower Laguna this summer. There have been two boating accidents recently and unfortunately one resulted in a fatality. As a boat operator you hold responsibility for yourself, your passengers, and others sharing the water. If you are new to boating, I suggest you take a boater safety course or have an experienced person show you how to operate your boat, the rules of the road, and also the unwritten courtesy rules.

So many times I have seen inexperienced boaters make mistakes that could have resulted in serious injury to themselves or others near them. As for the experienced, we need to be on alert constantly, not only on the water but also at the boat ramp.

I'm hoping the wind will lay down sometime this month. I remember a few years back it stayed windy the entire summer and I hope we do not see a repeat. Wind can actually be your friend if you learn to use it to your advantage. April has been windy thus far but we have been doing very well. The bait stacked on windward shorelines and the game fish were right in there with them.

Our redfish catches have been pretty solid but it hasn't been easy. Our water level came way up causing the reds to scatter over back lakes and drains that connect to the bay. The key has been finding concentrations of mullet. Most of the reds we have harvested have had mullet and pinfish in their stomachs. I expect to find them eating a lot of shrimp very shortly.

I mentioned earlier to use the wind to your advantage and windy days seem to always spark a great amount of bird activity. Some days the bird activity will be over redfish schools but it is not uncommon to find trout on the edges. There were days last summer when we prayed for the wind to come up to get the party started. Late afternoon can often deliver the best bird action of the day when the wind really gets to howling – even when the water looks like a chocolate shake.

Most of this bird action will occur in shallow water over muddy bottoms; in the bay, back lakes, and also along the spoil islands. I’ve been told that shrimp bury in mud during daylight hours and emerge again towards dark. Perhaps this is the reason the redfish get after them and gulls join in as evening approaches.

When fishing under birds, the last thing you want to do is cast into the middle of them. Hooking up in the middle of the school almost always results in scattering the rest of them. Also, I have learned that the better reds are usually on bottom – let your lure sink and work it slowly to avoid connecting with undersize or barely-legal fish near the surface.

Trophy trout fishing has taken a sharp turn for the better. We are currently seeing and catching more and bigger trout than we did all winter, and that's a good thing. Some of the larger fish have already spawned so their weights are down a bit, but there are still some late bloomers out there and May is an excellent month to target these highly-sought trophies.

Where these big trout were in February and March is a mystery; thankfully they are now showing up along the shorelines and in potholes on the deeper flats. Their main diet is still mullet and pinfish, so put yourself amongst the food source. Fish a moving tide and work the major and minor feed periods, especially around the new and full moon. periods. The topwater bite has finally turned on, the noisier the better on the windier days. If that action slows, try a KWiggler Willow Tail Shad. This new lure has already proven itself on big trout.

I would like to thank AFTCO for their great sportswear that enables me to enjoy my days on the water in greater comfort. I highly recommend their Cumulus LS Tech Shirt for its comfortable fabric that is both cool to wear and resists stains better than any I have worn. I have also grown fond of their sun mask; the many openings help prevent your glasses fogging, even when it gets steamy. The full AFTCO line is available at Fishing Tackle Unlimited, both in-store and online.

Best fishing and keep it safe on the water!