May’s Coastal Warming
I t’s that time again the time when waters along our Texas coast begin to warm to the point where we are once again allowed to shed those multiple layers of clothing and nagging chest waders that we’ve been wearing since last fall.
That’s right, by the time May is in full swing we should all be able to say that we’re now able to fish in the comfort of a pair of lightweight fishing paints and one of our favorite fishing shirts. It’s also a time when temperatures begin to soar in preparation for the arrival of the full summertime heat that can, at times, become severe in nature and downright miserable to live with.
Things begin to get rather toasty this month. So, coastal anglers can do themself a favor by taking preventative measures to protect themselves from the dangers of the heat. It’s fun to be fishing out on the water on a hot, sunny day. But too much sun and heat can make you feel terrible, and can even be dangerous.
If you’ve ever experienced symptoms of heat exhaustion or heat stroke, then you know firsthand that the sun is nothing to fool around with. When fishing in the Texas heat, you should always cover exposed skin areas with clothing, to include a hat—preferably one with a large brim. Of course, always apply adequate amounts of sunscreen before leaving the dock and then re-apply accordingly throughout the course of the day.
If possible, you should also take breaks from the sun by moving into some source of shade. I know, getting to shade can sometimes be an issue when you’re wading, but it can often be as simple as placing a bandana or towel over your head for a short period of time.
Also, remember not to wait until you become thirsty before drinking water. Drinking water before you feel thirsty helps prevent the water level in your body from dropping too low, which can then lead to dehydration. Drinking water is an extremely important part of staying healthy in the heat, so don’t wait to drink up—water, that is.
Air and water temperatures won’t be the only things undergoing change this month. The number of days consisting of four tides will start to become more of the norm rather than the exception. Also, the days will be getting longer, and with that comes an increase in the amount of sunlight each day. The winds will begin to blow mainly out of the south and southeast, so the Gulf and bay waters will soon begin taking on a greening effect—the “trout-green” water we all look forward to every summer.
But wait, that’s not all. Coastal anglers, too, generally start needing to make some changes at the start of the summertime season.
First, make it a point to be in the water as early as possible each day that you’re fishing. This not only lets you take advantage of the coolest part of the day, but also gives you a chance at any fish that might be sitting in the coolness of the overnight shallows.
Second, begin looking for lively mullet activity on many of the outside shorelines that line the larger bay systems instead of confining your search primarily to the back lake areas.
Dominant winds of a southerly influence mean that the majority of these larger shorelines will be protected most of the summer. So, this is where you should think about starting your days beginning in May.
A third change anglers to make this month is how to work a shoreline area. During times of cooler temperatures, it’s a common practice to start the day by wading out in deeper water then move slowly into the shallows during late morning as the bait and the fish move onto the flats.
Now that things are beginning to warm considerably, your approach to a shoreline situation should be completely opposite. You should now start out each morning in really shallow water, and then make your way out to deeper water as the morning progresses.
Why? Because the bait fish are going to be heading for the cooler temperatures of deeper water once the sun climbs high into the sky and the shallows start to become too hot for them. You will want to make the transition with the bait fish. Good luck to all, and keep grindin’!
Email Chris Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit bayflatslodge.com