MAY ALWAYS BRINGS fond fishing memories to my household. Several years ago, a warm Mayday weekend yielded the best “Bull” redfish I ever caught—a fish right at four feet long and weighing 42 pounds.
I caught it in the Galveston surf near San Luis Pass. This fish was taken on a dead low tide in flat calm surf, on a live finger mullet. My friend and I caught other good fish that night, including a 30-pound red and a stingray that weighed more than 100 pounds, so we considered it a very good outing for a beach fishing trip.
Not all May weekends will fit this pattern, but the potential for good fishing on those early weekends of spring seem to usually be there. The little cold weather from our coastal winter is pretty much gone, leaving much more settled weather patterns as well as mild temperatures, and water conditions.
Bait concentrations often favor good results for fishermen in bay, surf, and offshore waters. Add sunny skies along with very pleasant temperatures, and the Texas coast is a very good place to be.
The bays surrounding Galveston Island will see concentrations of shrimp and baitfish. This will attract speckled trout and redfish—along with the third member of our inshore Big Three—the tasty flounder.
Bays and surf will also see sand trout, croakers, and other pan fish. The surf will often be visited by Spanish mackerels and bluefish. Tarpon is also possible, although never common. The waters just past the third bar are grounds for big tarpons putting on an aerial display, so watching them is more exciting than actually catching “lesser” fish species. Big sharks prowl the nighttime surf, for those with an interest in a “real” fight.
Boaters venturing a bit past the third bar in the surf will encounter more mackerel—including the larger kings. Ling will be often found around buoys and near-shore oil rigs.
Legal sized red snappers will sometimes be found around close rigs and bottom formations—and hard fighting jack crevalles could take a bait almost anywhere past the beach.
Deeper water will harbor groupers more often than near-shore formations, along with the chance of a stray amberjack.
Trolling will become a more viable option than in colder water, but drift fishing with chum will also be productive for many species.
Of course, spring is rather quickly followed by summer when air and water temperatures are often less pleasant. This is a special time of year on Texas coastal waters. Get out and enjoy it as much as you can.
Location: The surf always issues a siren call in early spring, but deeper areas in bays and shallow bay reefs as well as natural and man-made passes will harbor fish.
Species: Reds usually show up first, followed later by speckled trout and flounders, then other warm water denizens.
Bait: Mullet might be the top choice, in various sizes, but mud minnows and shad or menhaden will produce, and are easier to find than live shrimp right now. Artificial lures will need to be worked slowly and carefully if they are to produce.
Best Time: During a moving tide is best. Days with multiple tide changes are always the best.
Email Mike Holmes at [email protected]