FORECAST CENTER: Saltwater – May 2020

FORECAST CENTER: Freshwater – May 2020
April 24, 2020
TEXAS HOT SHOTS – May 2020
April 24, 2020

Spring Conditions Shift into High Gear

SABINE LAKE & PASS

Reported by CAPT. EDDIE HERNANDEZ

Email Eddie Hernandez at [email protected]

 

IT’S TIME TO get excited about coastal fishing in Texas. May is here. If you are a saltwater angler who fishes the upper coast and you don’t get excited, you may want to have your pulse checked.

How could anybody not get excited?

Water temperatures will consistently be above 70 degrees, and weather patterns should be much more stable. Hordes of young baitfish have arrived in full force. The fish are plentiful and hungry, and all of the fish-catching ingredients are beginning to come together.

Lighter winds will prevail for the most part. This allows to you fish some of the places you haven’t been able to in recent months.

Predominant south winds and strong tides will move the pretty water and predator forage throughout the entire system. Here on the Texas upper coast, summertime saltwater specialists have been chomping at the bit for a taste of some good old Gulf of Mexico angling action.

Although summer is not quite upon us yet, it’s close enough. A lot of folks from Galveston to Sabine will take advantage of summer-like conditions and hit the surf and jetties.

Speckled trout definitely have found their way to the beachfront. If you can catch a calm morning with the green water pushed to the beach, you should be able to locate them. Any sign of nervous water or bait and fish busting the surface should mean you’re in the right spot.

Giving them a few different baits to choose from can help your chances, but usually a soft plastic on a ¼-ounce lead head will do the job. It’s hard for them to resist a pink/ silver Mirr O Lure Lil John or Glow/Chartreuse Down South Lure.

They also have no problem inhaling morning glory, closing night or roach-colored plastic baits. Other time-tested bait choices are topwaters, rattletraps and good old gold or silver spoons.

The jetty bite should also blast off this month with real nice boxes of trout and reds. If you can get your hands on a couple of quarts of live shrimp, you should do real well fishing the rock piles and washouts.

You can’t go wrong by rigging a treble hook about three feet under a popping cork, freelined, or with a split-shot about 18 inches above the hook. If live shrimp is not an option for you, the same results can be achieved with live finger mullet or shad. Just make sure you have your cast net, and you shouldn’t have any problem finding bait in the ship channel or along the jetties.

A soft plastic fished fairly deep along the rocks will also work well on trout and reds. Put it on a ¼-ounce lead head. Let it get down there a bit and see what happens. You probably won’t be disappointed.

With summer just around the corner, May is definitely the time to get excited about Texas coastal fishing.

•  •  •

GALVESTON

Reported by CAPT. MIKE HOLMES

Email Mike Holmes at [email protected]

 

SPRINGTIME IS WELL underway in the month of May on the Upper Texas Coast, having begun to emerge in April. Warmer water is here to stay for a while, until the heat of summer pushes it past warm into downright hot.

Our few months of true spring is my favorite time to fish saltwater. The climate is very pleasant. Gulf storms are not just over the horizon, as they can be in summer.

Most of our common species of sportfish have ramped up their feeding activity after the slowdown winter usually brings. Bay waters will harbor baitfish species and shrimp. These bring the predatory fish that depend on them for their livelihood. Our coastal “big three”–speckled trout, redfish, and flounder–will be well represented, and usually eager to feed.

Because water temperatures are mild, the feeding activity is as likely to take place in daylight hours as at night and might stretch out over all stages of sunlight—not just dawn and pre-dusk. These times will still likely be “prime” for peak activity, but some good action may be encountered during the day. Spring tides are much more favorable to feeding fish than the weaker tidal movements of winter. Yet, the water is cooler, and fish are more active than in warm summer currents.

Fish will spread out much more than when seeking respite from uncomfortably cold water, and they have not yet sought the comfort of deep holes from the midsummer heat. Top water activity will be apparent and productive. Although live shrimp are still one of the best bait choices, top water to slow sinking lures are coming into favor—and for good reason.

Bird activity is back as a prime indicator of fish feeding, after being unreliable at best during colder weather. Schooling trout will also make themselves visible in open bay waters, pushing shrimp and small baitfish to top levels of the water column. Other fish species will also follow schools of trout, feeding on injured or disoriented bait trying to make a quick escape.

Reef and sandbar areas will often see concentrations of both bait and feeding fish both in bays and the surf. Surf waders will also have the chance for Spanish mackerel and other gulf species pushing bait into shallower water. This activity will be especially productive near passes on both the Gulf and bay sides.

Sheepsheads, drum, and croakers will be found in spring waters as well. In the surf, sand trout and more exotic catches such as pompano will join the mix as well.

Because the water temperature is also more comfortable for wet wading, and the sun has not raised dangerous temperatures yet, fishing is much more pleasant, whether on foot or in boats.

Many Texas coastal winters like the one we just experienced do not see temperature drops that keep us huddled indoors much of the time. However, spring is still a magical period of the coastal year. It’s the best chance to spend time by the water without needing protection from summer heat.

Nearshore Gulf waters will probably be calmer, safer, and more comfortable in the light breezes of spring. Surface feeding schools of many species will join hungry reef dwellers in pouncing on angler’s offerings. Trolling joins drifting and fishing structure on most offshore anglers’ game plans.

•  •  •

MATAGORDA

Reported by MIKE PRICE

Email Mike Price at [email protected]

 

IT WAS EARLY May and the springtime wind had worked up around15 to 20 mph from the east-southeast.

Allan Berger and I were casting soft plastics at the entrance to a cove on the south shore of West Matagorda Bay. The tide was high and incoming, and neither of us got any hits. So, we changed tactics and cast into the bay, near an oyster reef, and there we found fish. Allen caught two trout and two ladyfish, and I caught two redfish.

When you’re not getting any bites, it usually means the fish are not in that area. In this case, we started fishing at the mouth of a cove, which usually holds fish on an outgoing tide, but not necessarily on an incoming tide.

This proved to be the case. However, when we switched to swimming our lures over and near an oyster reef in the bay, we found action.

The predominant wind in May is from the southeast, and much of the time it is strong, more than 15 mph. Combine this wind with a strong incoming tide and you get high water.

Some fishers like to take advantage of this high water and go into Oyster Lake in their boats. Oyster Lake is two to five feet deep on an average tide with many scattered oyster reefs. You should only venture into Oyster Lake in a boat if you are with someone who knows the lake and its hazards.

Eddie Vacek has been fishing Oyster Lake all his life, but even Eddie had a problem on a high May tide. He went into the lake from Tres Palacios Bay when the wind was 15 to 20 from the southeast, the water was high, and the tide was incoming. He only had four inches between the top of his center console and the bridge, but he squeaked under.

He and his partner limited on reds using gold spoons. However, when he tried to go under the bridge to head back to Palacios, the water had come up so high that it was not possible to go that way. He had to add 13 miles to his trip by going back through the lake and around Palacios Point and Hotel Point.

If you are going to wade or kayak fish Oyster Lake be aware that alligators are in the lake. They become very interested when they feel the vibrations of a fish being caught. Last year, I had to pull a 25-inch redfish out of the water and put it in my kayak because a 12-foot gator was following me.

In past years we have had an over-abundance of rain in the month of May, which makes it challenging to select a place to fish. However, the prediction for this May is normal rainfall and above average temperatures.

If these predictions prove correct, you should be able to go anywhere in East or West Matagorda Bay and find water that has 12 or so inches of visibility (enough to fish artificial lures) and water with enough salinity to hold trout, redfish, and flounder.

Try to schedule your fishing trip on a day with a strong tidal movement. Look for schools of finger mullet or bay anchovies getting busted in West Matagorda Bay. You can see this activity from a distance if you go slowly along the shoreline, paying attention to water disturbances. Redfish and trout, both, will be feeding on the baitfish.

If you intend to go into the Gulf of Mexico via the Matagorda jetties, be aware of this hazard. Time your exit and return to avoid turbulence of wind-driven waves coming in as a strong tide is going out. This creates mini-rogue waves near the end of the jetties. The jetties were dredged in 2019, so this set up may be less likely. However, some unfortunate accidents have occurred because of these circumstances.

If the wind is calm, the tide incoming and there is blue water off the beach, you may want to fish from your boat off the beach, or wade-fish from the beach. Feeding trout, reds and numerous other species will be in the surf if you have these unusual, but possible conditions in May.

May is a very popular time to fish in East and West Matagorda Bays, especially on weekends. Please be courteous and give other fishers unimpeded space to drift and wade fish.

•  •  •

•  •  •

Location: Galveston East Bay
Hotspot: Deep Reef
GPS: N 29 30.802, W 94 40.581
(29.5134, -94.6764)

Galveston East Bay

Galveston East Bay Deep Reef

Species: Speckled trout
Best Baits: Down South soft plastics
Contact: Capt. Oscar Montemayor
281-853-4938
[email protected]
Tips: Typically, we will set up on the outside of the reef. You see the PVC pipes that are sticking up everywhere. Drift down the edges.

Location: Galveston East Bay
Hotspot: Elm Grove Point
GPS: N 29 27.1347, W 94 41.691
(29.4522, -94.6949)

Galveston East Bay

Galveston East Bay Elm Grove Point

Species: Speckled trout
Best Baits: Down South soft plastics
Contact: Capt. Oscar Montemayor
281-853-4938
[email protected]
Tips: Capt. Montemayor describes his retrieve when using the Down South soft plastics: slowly bouncing them off the shell using a slow retrieve…twitch, twitch, pause, retrieve. I am fishing the lower part of the water column. He uses a 1/4 oz. jig head.

Location: Galveston East Bay
Hotspot: Fat Rat Pass Flats
GPS: N 29 32.4289, W 94 31.3609
(29.5405, -94.5227)

Galveston East Bay

Galveston East Bay Fat Rat Pass Flats

Species: Speckled trout
Best Baits: Down South soft plastics
Contact: Capt. Oscar Montemayor
281-853-4938
[email protected]
Tips: Capt. Montemayor recommends that you start drifting the Galveston East Bay reefs in in May. He prefers to use soft plastics fished slowly on the bottom.

Location: Galveston East Bay
Hotspot: Hanna’s Reef
GPS: N 29 28.704, W 94 45.702
(29.4784, -94.7617)

Galveston East Bay

Galveston East Bay Hanna’s Reef

Species: Speckled trout
Best Baits: Down South soft plastics
Contact: Capt. Oscar Montemayor
281-853-4938
[email protected]
Tips: Fishing reefs: Fish like to hang out on the edges. Cast and drift, wait for the thump, thump, reel up slack line and set the hook. Sometimes you don’t feel the thump; the line gets tight. When you feel weight, set the hook. More than likely it’s a fish, not shell. Capt. Mon-temayor

Location: Galveston Trinity Bay
Hotspot: Exxon C Lease
GPS: N 29 40.446, W 94 45.5819
(29.6741, -94.7597)

Galveston Trinity Bay

Galveston Trinity Bay Exxon C Lease

Species: Speckled trout
Best Baits: Down South soft plastics
Contact: Capt. Oscar Montemayor
281-853-4938
[email protected]
Tips: The wells: There’s a lot of structure down there. Throw up to the legs, letting it sink all the way to the bottom, and work it up through the water column all the way to the boat.

Location: Galveston Trinity Bay
Hotspot: Sun Gas Wells
GPS: N 29 38.934, W 94 48.4379
(29.6489, -94.8073)

Galveston Trinity Bay

Galveston Trinity Bay Sun Gas Wells

Species: Speckled trout
Best Baits: Down South soft plastics
Contact: Capt. Oscar Montemayor
281-853-4938
[email protected]
Tips: When the temperatures creep up, Capt. Montemayor fishes the wells in Trinity Bay, typi-cally wells closer to the north shoreline.

Location: Galveston Trinity Bay
Hotspot: Trinity Bay Wells
GPS: N 29 34.963, W 94 44.574
(29.5827, -94.7429)

Galveston Trinity Bay

Galveston Trinity Bay Trinity Bay Wells

Species: Speckled trout
Best Baits: Down South soft plastics
Contact: Capt. Oscar Montemayor
281-853-4938
[email protected]
Tips: Typically, the fish will be sitting on the current side of the well, but not always the case.

Location: Matagorda East Bay
Hotspot: Front of St. Mary’s Bayou
GPS: N 28 39.786, W 95 57.432
(28.6631, -95.9572)

Matagorda East Bay

Matagorda East Bay Front of St. Mary’s Bayou

Species: Speckled trout
Best Baits: Soft plastics or live shrimp under a popping cork
Contact: Capt. Tommy Countz
281-450-4087
[email protected]
www.matagordafishing.com
Tips: Key on breaks and looking for slicks, making long drifts, throwing MirrOlure Soft Shad or the Marsh Minnow that has a paddle tail.

Location: Matagorda East Bay
Hotspot: Chinquapin Reef
GPS: N 28 44.562, W 95 46.773
(28.7427, -95.7796)

Matagorda East Bay

Matagorda East Bay Chinquapin Reef

Species: Redfish
Best Baits: Popping Cork with shrimp or Gulp
Contact: Capt. Kendall Kersh
979-248-1871
[email protected]
www.pursaltadventures.com
Tips: There are literally hundreds of reef in the middle of the bay. Look for something different about the reef, some type of structure.

Location: Matagorda East Bay
Hotspot: New Half Moon Reef
GPS: N 28 43.374, W 95 46.2299
(28.7229, -95.7705)

Matagorda East Bay

Matagorda East Bay New Half Moon Reef

Species: Speckled trout
Best Baits: Soft plastics or live shrimp under a popping cork
Contact: Capt. Tommy Countz
281-450-4087
[email protected]
www.matagordafishing.com
Tips: The new Half Moon Reed usually produces fish. Drift it throwing topwaters early or shrimp under a popping cork.

Location: Matagorda East Bay
Hotspot: Raymond Shoal area
GPS: N 28 40.446, W 95 53.898
(28.6741, -95.8983)

Matagorda East Bay

Matagorda East Bay Raymond Shoal area

Species: Speckled trout
Best Baits: Soft plastics or live shrimp under a popping cork
Contact: Capt. Tommy Countz
281-450-4087
[email protected]
www.matagordafishing.com
Tips: Drifting the west end of East Bay is pretty much solid, scattered shell…just like a big shell reef, a series of reefs.

Location: Matagorda Surf
Hotspot: Surf
GPS: N 28 35.569, W 95 59.2679
(28.5928, -95.9878)

Matagorda Surf

Matagorda Surf Surf

Species: Speckled trout
Best Baits: Soft plastics or live shrimp under a popping cork
Contact: Capt. Tommy Countz
281-450-4087
[email protected]
www.matagordafishing.com
Tips: I will run the boat to the Matagorda Jetties, park the boat, get out and start wading. If you have a 4-wheel drive, you can drive east of the jetties for 20-21 miles.

Location: Matagorda West Bay
Hotspot: Pipeline Area
GPS: N 28 42.6, W 96 23.8159
(28.7100, -96.3969)

Matagorda West Bay

Matagorda West Bay Pipeline Area

Species: Speckled trout
Best Baits: MirrOlure Soft Shad and Marsh Minnow
Contact: Capt. Tommy Countz
281-450-4087
[email protected]
www.matagordafishing.com
Tips: We are mostly fishing grass beds and little cuts from April -November. If you can find mullet working, that’s a plus.

Location: Sabine Lake
Hotspot: Coffee Ground Cove
GPS: N 29 58.182, W 93 46.158
(29.9697, -93.7693)

Sabine Lake

Sabine Lake Coffee Ground Cove

Species: Speckled trout
Best Baits: Soft Plastic shrimp tails
Contact: Capt. Bill Watkins
409-673-9211
[email protected]
www.fishsabinelake.com
Tips: A good color for muddy water is a limetreuse. For clear water we will go to white with sparkles, natural colors such as Margarita, watermelon/red flake, or Opening Night.

City of Baytown

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•  •  •

Getting to the Gut of the Matter

SAN ANTONIO BAY AREA

Reported by CAPT. CHRIS MARTIN

Email Chris Martin at [email protected]

Visit Online: BayFlatsLogde.com

 

MANY COASTAL ANGLERS already know it’s not easy to find an exact fishing pattern for trout in our Texas bay systems.

Variables include tidal flow, wind changes, salinity levels, and moon phases. So, many trout anglers rely on targeting certain structural attractions to generate trout action. However, there are other avenues to explore!

This month along our portion of the Texas coast, speckled trout have left their wintertime hideouts. They are looking for their late springtime and early summertime food source.

A lot of the small baitfish and shrimp are now beginning to show up in numbers, and the trout won’t be persnickety as they hunt for small shad, mullet, mud minnows, glass minnows, and any available shrimp.

They’ll be looking atop shallow flats, open-bay oyster reefs, and along grassy shorelines. However, other places often go unexamined by bay anglers, such as guts and troughs that typically run parallel to many bayside shorelines.

Espiritu Santo Bay, San Antonio Bay, and Mesquite Bay have guts just like the guts found running parallel to the beach on the Gulf of Mexico side of Matagorda Island. Water currents flow through these guts differently than in surrounding waters.

The current is most often influenced by tidal change, as well as by wind direction and strength. Anglers wading during lower tide periods will often find bait congregated in these guts and troughs. They can often find a solid trout bite as a direct result. The lower the tide the better, in this instance.

Later in the month, as tides begin increasing a bit, anglers should look to the guts during periods of a strong falling tide. The falling tide often tends to carry the baitfish off of the neighboring flat and into the protection of the drop-off of the gut or trough.

The month of May brings warmer water temperatures. This means anglers should also examine these troughs and guts on hotter days. These features hold a bit deeper water, which offers the trout some cooler water.

One or two degrees difference can mean a big difference to the trout. So, remember to make a few intentional casts down the guts and troughs on warmer days. You might just hit the jackpot!

On days with southerly winds, the wind will be coming off the Gulf and off the bay’s south shorelines. So, you may wish to position yourself here to cast across the wind and work your lure back along the mid-portion of the gut or trough. This can be attractive to trout hanging out in the gut waiting to ambush unsuspecting baitfish.

As we discussed earlier, the trout aren’t going to be finicky this month. So, many different lures will draw a strike.

If you’re an artificial enthusiast, May is good for experimenting with different colors, sizes, and casting techniques for top-water baits. Try fanning your casts from your nine o’clock position to your three o’clock position. Then move a few yards if you don’t receive any responses.

If you experience blow-ups, but the fish aren’t inhaling your lure, try pausing your bait after each blow up. Count to five before making a couple brief twitches of the rod tip. Then let your bait sit for another count of five. Many times the same fish that initially blew up on your lure will return to it as the lure sits motionless on the surface.

Live bait anglers should also see some steady trout action this month. To change things up a little, try rigging a live shrimp Carolina-style.

Slide an egg weight up the end of the line coming off your reel, then tie a barrel swivel to the end of the line. Tie an 18- to 24-inch leader to the bottom of the swivel with a single hook tied to the very end.

Place a live shrimp on the hook and cast down the gut while occasionally giving the rod tip a brief pop to bounce the egg weight across the bay floor.

 

•  •  •

ROCKPORT AREA

Reported by CAPT. MAC GABLE

Capt. Mac Gable

Email Mac Gable at [email protected]

Or Visit Online: macattackguideservice.com

 

ANSWER THE QUESTION…

I have gotten away from most electronic media. Haven’t been on any type of cable TV for years and don’t miss it.

I seldom listen to the news because it’s not news. A politician’s hairstyle or what they like to eat doesn’t need to be on national news.

Further, why sensationalize what some multi-million-dollar athlete had for breakfast or what they’re sexual activity (good or bad) is. It is of no value to we the people. They may be gifted athletes or good speakers but not role models to be looked up to, and for sure not leaders of this country until they prove themselves to “WE THE PEOPLE” leadership standards.

Bay Flats Lodge

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I don’t know about you but it’s just plain hard to get a straight answer to just about any question these days. Search the Internet with a question and you will get thousands of gray answers and lots of advertisements.

Unfortunately, this is bleeding over into our daily interactions with people as well. No one wants to be on the hook for answers these days but still they want you to think they HAVE the answers.

This new trend (malignancy) strikes at the heart of outdoorsmen/women. Truthful answers are what we need today in our hunting and fishing industry. They will make us uncomfortable and we may not agree with them, but at the very least we can then set a course of action for support or challenge.

The enemy is misdirection and apathy. An enemy is someone or thing that means to do us harm. To disagree or take exception to an issue (person place or thing) can be and often is more productive than out right agreeing.

What should be the limit on trout? Should slot limits change on reds? Are we getting enough freshwater inflow from our rivers? Should croaker as bait be banned? Are flounder limits correct? Should commercial fishing of black drum be stopped? Should pollutants from boats be more tightly controlled? Should we have designated areas for kayaks? Are the current standards for setting fish limits the best of practices? Should we allow out of state commercial fishing of our oysters? What is best for the environment—an airboat or outboard motorboat? Should we limit the number of licensed guides on the Texas coast? Are current Coast Guard requirements for guides enough and do those requirements make for make safer boat operators?

The list goes on and on. Put 100 experts on these subjects in a room and tell them they can’t eat until all agree on the above issues—they would all starve to death.

However, they are having real discussions about real issues; and yes, the answers change as we move in time. They are NOT ghost issues, which seems to be the favorite tactic these days.

The stateliest home I had ever seen, built like a fortress the envy of many, to my dismay one day was being torn down. When I inquired as to why such a sturdy gorgeous home was being demolished the contractor said, the tiniest of reasons. Termites had ruined its foundation.

Anti-hunting and fishing activists can’t debate—and win—about the benefits outdoorsmen and women have had on our environment, our fisheries and the beloved game of this state.

Instead they use smoke and mirrors, graying and misdirecting ending in wrong answers/no answers that require wrong/no actions. We are led to ask the wrong questions and the right answer to the wrong question is guaranteed to be the wrong answer.

The result is an eroding of the foundation that our hunting and fishing heritage is built on. Politically correct? Oh Please!!!!!

MAY IS A GREAT shallow water time of year. The bite in the skinny water is driven by the many insects now hatched, alive and well, especially near salt grasses and end of bay coves. Even better if you find creeks, which complement the bite by adding fresh water.

Copano Bay: Copano Creek is a good place for reds using finger mullet freelined in early morning. (N 28.2031, W 97.0178). This area can get shallow on low tide. Copano Reef is a good spot for trout using freelined croaker N 28 06.707 W 97 06.40.

St. Charles Bay: A drift across Egg Point (N 28 10.084, W 96 57.066) is a good spot for reds and trout using a popping cork and shrimp. A sand eel rigged grassless is a good bet. Morning glory and new penny are good color choices. Drifts across the mouth of Cavasso Creek N 28 12.884 W 96 58.999 using Berkley imitation shrimp under a bubble cork work well for trout. Fish the deeper water edges and transitions.

Aransas Bay: Grass Island Reefs (N 28 05.391, W 97 00.505) is a good trout area. Freelined live shrimp work best. The area just off Nine Mile Point N 28 01.707, W97 01.396 is a good spot for red using mud minnows on a light Carolina rig.

Carlos Bay: Carlos Reef (N 28 06.81 W96 54.203) is a good spot for black drum using fresh dead shrimp on a light Carolina rig. This is heavy shell so don’t reel in until you get a bite.

Mesquite Bay: Cedar Point (N 28 06 .708, W 96 49.812) is a good spot for flounders and reds using freelined live shrimp. Set the hook on the slightest bite—that’s a flounder. Northeast shoreline N28 09.655, W96 49 .242 is a good spot reds and trout using freelined croaker.

Ayers Bay: Ayres Point shoreline (N28 11 .455, W96 48.828) is a good wade for trout using croaker. This area is best fished about 30 yards off the shoreline casting 360 degrees. Some black drum and flounder on the east shoreline (N28 10.900, W96 48.270). Live shrimp jigged across the bottom is the ticket.

•  •  •

CORPUS CHRISTI AREA

Reported by CAPT. JOEY FARRAH

Email Joey Farah at [email protected]

 

MAY IS A TRANSITIONAL month in fish patterns and fishing techniques here along the Coastal Bend.

For months bait of all kinds has been filling the bays and growing from fry, to a food source for gamefish. Shrimp and live croakers will be available at bait stands and marinas.

Lure fishing will be at a peak both with topwater baits and with soft plastics. This is a perfect month for just about every kind of Texas bay fishing.

The Corpus Christi Bay Area has many gas wells in the open bay. Calm mornings will allow trout fishing around these small structures. Live shrimp free-lined with a light split shot weight, or live shrimp under a popping cork will bring in sand and speckled trout, both. Longer drops of three to four feet under the cork can produce more strikes than short leaders can.

The Upper Laguna Madre is on fire with limits of trout, using shrimp and popping corks in the grass flats along the King Ranch Shoreline. When pin perch take your shrimp. try a soft plastic under the cork such as a DOA Shrimp or Gulp.

Fishing the submerged spoil dumps along the ICW inside the National Seashore is a great place to find trout and redfish on drifts with live shrimp and popping corks.

Soft plastics along the edge of the ICW Channel at first light can be all you need to fill the box with thick, spring specks. DOA, Texas Croaker color, three-inch shads are my favorite for imitating small pin perch, rigged with a 1/8- to ¼-ounce jig head.

The Land Cut is a long run from the JFK bridge, 37 miles, but is a fish highway as herds of trout and reds will be following shrimp along the west side of the channel. Try fishing the corners of all the side cuts off the main channel.

Live shrimp will catch just about everything when fished on Carolina rigs. Live finger mullet along the bottom and along cabin piers, will pull up big trout and monster redfish.

May starts the beginning of live croaker fishing. Baits will often be small, as they have not matured yet. Smaller baits should be used with a light slip weight on your leader for casting and to keep your baits away from sea gulls. Target the sand pockets in the Upper Lagoon and the large rock piles along the Rocky Slough Shoreline.

Practice safe and friendly boating as our summer crowds are just getting ramped up, remember to wear your kill switch! Follow all our hookups on Facebook at Joey Farah’s Backwater Fishing.

 

Mt. Houston Marine

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•  •  •

Location: Aransas Bay
Hotspot: St. Joseph Island
GPS: N 28 0.7285, W 96 58.365
(28.0121, -96.9728)

Aransas Bay

Aransas Bay St. Joseph Island

Species: Speckled trout
Best Baits: Live croaker
Contact: Capt. Jack McPartland
361-290-6302
[email protected]
www.treble-j-charters.com
Tips: Hook the croaker under the backbone and towards the back of the fish. You don’t want to hit the backbone, and if you hook toward the tail you won’t hit any vital organs.

Location: Aransas Bay
Hotspot: Traylor Island
GPS: N 27 56.688, W 97 4.4639
(27.9448, -97.0744)

Aransas Bay

Aransas Bay Traylor Island

Species: Speckled trout
Best Baits: Touts or live bait
Contact: Capt. Jack McPartland
361-290-6302
[email protected]
www.treble-j-charters.com
Tips: May should be good fishing literally everywhere for reds, trout, whatever you want to fish for. I’ll be fishing from the JFK Causeway to Carlos Bay

Location: Carlos Bay
Hotspot: Carlos Reef
GPS: N 28 6.8099, W 96 54.2029
(28.1135, -96.9034)

Carlos Bay

Carlos Bay Carlos Reef

Species: Speckled trout and redfish
Best Baits: Soft Plastics
Contact: Capt. Jack McPartland
361-290-6302
[email protected]
www.treble-j-charters.com
Tips: Artificial soft plastics will work in whatever color you prefer, whether wading or drifting.

Location: Carlos Bay
Hotspot: Cedar Reef
GPS: N 28 8.251, W 96 53.049
(28.1375, -96.8842)

Carlos Bay

Carlos Bay Cedar Reef

Species: Speckled trout and redfish
Best Baits: Touts or live bait
Contact: Capt. Jack McPartland
361-290-6302
[email protected]
www.treble-j-charters.com
Tips: Plastics, topwaters if it’s a good enough day for them, otherwise croaker. Live shrimp under a popping cork get a little iffy. The perch will still the shrimp off the hook.

Location: Corpus Christi Bay
Hotspot: Shamrock Island
GPS: N 27 45.9679, W 97 9.7829
(27.7661, -97.1631)

Corpus Christi Bay

Corpus Christi Bay Shamrock Island

Species: Speckled trout
Best Baits: Live croaker
Contact: Capt. Jack McPartland
361-290-6302
[email protected]
www.treble-j-charters.com
Tips: You twitch the croaker to make it grunt and to keep it from burrowing down in the grass.

Location: Redfish Bay
Hotspot: Dagger Islands
GPS: N 27 50.1019, W 97 10.2659
(27.8350, -97.1711)

Redfish Bay

Redfish Bay Dagger Islands

Species: Speckled trout
Best Baits: Live croaker
Contact: Capt. Jack McPartland
361-290-6302
[email protected]
www.treble-j-charters.com
Tips: Pop the croaker a little bit with rod tip every 30-40 seconds. Do it with your wrist, not your arm.

Location: Upper Laguna Madre
Hotspot: Intracoastal Spoil Banks
GPS: N 27 33.6839, W 97 16.759
(27.5614, -97.2793)

Upper Laguna Madre

Upper Laguna Madre Intracoastal Spoil Banks

Species: Speckled trout
Best Baits: Topwaters
Contact: Capt. Mark Robinson
361-550-1081
[email protected]
Tips: Robinson will be wade fishing for spawning trout.

 

Texas Lakes & Bays

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Excitement Brewing on the Lower Coast

BAFFIN BAY

Reported by CAPT. GERAD MERRITT

Gerad Merritt

Email Gerad Merritt at [email protected]

Visit Online: ParadiseGuideServices.com

 

MAY IS AN EXCITING time of year for me, as it is for most anglers on Baffin Bay. The weather and water temperatures begin to stabilize, and the end of spring is quickly approaching.

As Texas game fish are transitioning into summer feeding habits, it kicks off my favorite live bait fishing season. During this time, live croaker is my preferred choice of bait for speckled trout and redfish. Although these fish may not be feeding on croakers during a late season front, trout and redfish will naturally strike to simply kill the croaker.

Many different practices apply to croaker fishing. The one you choose will depend on the weather conditions and pattern of the fish on that day. Strategies such as hook placement and the amount of time you allow the fish to run with the bait will vary this time of year as well. In other words, No single specific approach will work consistently, and you will have to switch your tactics regularly to match the behavior of the fish.

This time of year, you will notice game fish starting to move to more prominent structures, for example, larger rock piles. They are following the baitfish that are using the structures to hide in as an escape from predators.

Although you will still find fish lingering in grass pockets, search for potholes or areas with a lighter colored bottom. You can use this approach while wading, but this method works best from a boat, because of the higher line of sight.

Once you‘ve selected bait that works well, a slow drift over a grass flat will help keep your bait just above the grass line.

Another process I frequently use, is fishing various points along the shoreline. I pick out areas that jut out from the rest of the shore, causing somewhat of a blind corner.

Granted, this placement can sometimes be risky. However, it can often prove rewarding, as the shoreline and drop offs tend to be more prominent.

For less experienced anglers, a popping cork is always a reliable option. Place the cork a certain distance above the bait to keep it just above the tops of the grass or rocks.

Remember, there is no specific approach for fishing Baffin Bay, as it is such a unique and diverse environment. Certain techniques will work one day, but maybe not the next. The challenge of finding fish and figuring out their patterns is what makes it a most rewarding body of water.

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Location: Arroyo City
Hotspot: East of Green Island
GPS: N 26 23.5379, W 97 19.465
(26.3923, -97.3244)

Arroyo City

Arroyo City East of Green Island

Species: Speckled trout
Best Baits: Croaker
Contact: Capt. Rudy Jawbreaker Romero
956-226-3561
[email protected]
Tips: In the early morning they usually come from deep water and feed in a foot of water, sometimes six inches of water. They usually tend to stick around in the shallows till mid-morning, then move deeper later in the day.

Location: Arroyo City
Hotspot: Peyton Bay
GPS: N 26 26.122, W 97 22.3519
(26.4354, -97.3725)

Arroyo City

Arroyo City Peyton Bay

Species: Speckled trout
Best Baits: Corkys and Croaker
Contact: Capt. Rudy Jawbreaker Romero
956-226-3561
[email protected]
Tips: Capt. Romero specializes in big sow trout, fishing drop-offs and sand bars, old bellies and guts where the big trout usually come during March through May to spawn.
Location: Arroyo City
Hotspot: The Saucer
GPS: N 26 28.134, W 97 23.677
(26.4689, -97.3946)

Arroyo City

Arroyo City The Saucer

Species: Speckled trout
Best Baits: Croaker
Contact: Capt. Rudy Jawbreaker Romero
956-226-3561
[email protected]
Tips: Capt. Romero looks for long, thin grass sticking up out of the water…kind of looks like fet-tuccine. The females when they lay their eggs, the eggs usually stick on that long grass.

Location: Lower Laguna Madre
Hotspot: Green Island
GPS: N 26 23.5379, W 97 19.465
(26.3923, -97.3244)

Lower Laguna Madre

Lower Laguna Madre Green Island

Species: Speckled trout
Best Baits: Big topwater lures
Contact: Capt. Joe Prado
956-357-1301
[email protected]
Tips: Super Spooks, Skitter Walks, She Dogs…it just depends on the wind which one I will use. On a high wind I will use a She Dog because it’s real loud. On a medium wind day, I use the Skitter Walk. If there’s not very much wind, I’ll throw a Super Spook because it’s a little quieter.

Location: Lower Laguna Madre
Hotspot: Rattlesnake Bay
GPS: N 26 18.613, W 97 19.453
(26.3102, -97.3242)

Lower Laguna Madre

Lower Laguna Madre Rattlesnake Bay

Species: Speckled trout
Best Baits: Big topwater lures
Contact: Capt. Joe Prado
956-357-1301
[email protected]
Tips: Capt. Prado is wadefishing in about deep water. About different colors — Honestly, I don’t think color matters. I like a Pink/White, any natural bait fish color.

Location: South Padre Island
Hotspot: Long Bar
GPS: N 26 8.592, W 97 14.2249
(26.1432, -97.2371)

South Padre Island

South Padre Island Long Bar

Species: Speckled trout
Best Baits: Croaker
Contact: Capt. Rudy Jawbreaker Romero
956-226-3561
[email protected]
Tips: Capt. Romero free lines or uses a Chatter Weight with the croaker. Kind of thump it every 5-8 seconds.

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