The Buzz: May 2014

The Buzz: May 2014
TJ Horn with a chunky upper-slot red.
There's always some uncertainty among those of us who fish the Galveston Bay Complex heading into the spring transitional period. This year was no different. The trout stayed in somewhat of a winter pattern for a long time. The frequency of late cold fronts has kept us on our toes, but catching has still remained above average especially for those who are willing to jump out of the fiberglass. Our trout this time of year are not necessarily in schools, but certain areas are holding good numbers of fish. When we find an area where we're getting a few of the right bites we usually grind it out until something triggers a feed. Timing is everything right now. More often than not our best action has been during a tide change. The late afternoon and evening hours were the most reliable for a couple of months, but we're starting to see more of an early pattern here lately. However, it seems like just when the pattern becomes predictable another cold front slams us and crosses their eyes for a few days.

When the wind is blowing less than 13 or 14 mph, drifting over scattered oyster or clam beds in 3 to 5 feet of water has been productive for good numbers of trout along with scattered reds and flounder. Wading has afforded more opportunities on the breezy days especially for big trout. Most of the larger trout recently (8 plus pounds) have been caught in less than 3 feet of water. It's always been my experience that slightly off-colored water or streaky water lends a helping hand in tricking better quality trout. One thing I've noticed in the past few weeks whether we're wading or drifting are quite a few undersized trout ranging from 10 to 14 inches mixed in with the larger ones. This is always good to see. Salt Water Assassins, Tidal Surge Maniac Mullets, Corky Fat Boys and MirrOdine XL's have all been productive lately.

In addition to trout, redfish have been very reliable throughout our bay system. There's not much in the way of open-water schools yet, but back lakes and coves from Trinity all the way down to Christmas Bay have been holding good numbers of slot reds. I had a group of guys a couple of weeks ago who wanted to catch a few reds. We fished two bayou drains and one back lake and caught over 20 slot reds on Salt Water Assassin Sea Shads while casting to mud boils. They were in less than 2 feet of water over very thick oyster shell and mud. It was a ton of fun, but I had to restock my leader line supply after that trip.
We've seen an abundant shad hatch in the last 3 or 4 weeks and even a few brown shrimp here and there. The water temperatures have been in the low to mid-sixties between fronts and trout have been popping slicks at a higher frequency than they were a few weeks ago. As the shad continue to grow and the brown shrimp begin their migration look for more open-water slicks and birds working.

Whether you prefer wading or drifting May is a month of options. The patterns will be similar whether you choose to fish East, Trinity, Upper Galveston or West Bay. Leeward shorelines near bayou drains and coves will be great choices on the windy days. We'll still be chunking our fair share of soft plastics, but topwaters will definitely get more playing time. High-pitched baits like MirrOlure's She Dog will work better when there's some chop on the water. Skitter Walks all the way down to a Super Spook Jr. tend to be more effective on calmer days. When the wind gods are nice to us we'll also be drifting over mid-bay reefs keying on slicks. Assassins rigged on 1/8 ounce jig heads will be our go-to baits 90 percent of the time when drifting. Make sure to observe the wind and tide speed and direction when working slicks. I like to always try to cast cross-wind and cross-current regardless of what's tied to the end of my line. Bringing your lure down in their face will always yield more bites than dragging it up from behind them. Limetreuse and chartreuse are staple colors around here when the water is green. Red Shad, Morning Glory and Texas Roach work well in murky conditions.

It certainly looks like we're in for an above average summer from where I'm sitting. We're very fortunate to be able to enjoy a healthy fishery. Let's not forget to respect it. I wish everyone the best of luck out there while fishing with their buddies or families. Have fun!
Robert Garza: Robert Garza with his 28.25" (7.3 lb.) trout that was released after photos.