By Capt. Joe Kent
May always has been noted as the wade fishermen’s time to hit the water. It is one of the months that wind tends to be a factor as May is known as the second windiest month of the year along the Texas Gulf Coast behind April and ahead of March.
While the wind velocities may keep boats from their favorite fishing spots, wade fishermen have numerous choices. The surf is alive with action beginning around Mother’s Day Weekend and all of the bays offer good wade fishing.
During windy days, the surf usually is sandy and off color; however, protected shorelines of East and West Bay often hold fishable waters that are beaming with bait and predator fish following after them.
While in earlier months of the year insulated waders are a must for wading, May is the month when many fishermen shed the waders for wading pants and shoes.
Along with the gamefish, stingrays hit the shallows and are in prime position to be stepped on by wade fishermen. For that reason it is imperative that these anglers have protection from the nasty barbs of the rays.
The best form of protection is wading leggings which wrap around the lower extremities of the leg with a type of “bullet proof” material that prevents a barb from penetrating. Along with the leggings are wading shoes of thick canvas type material that likewise heads off a barb.
Wading pants (any light weight pants will work) are desired to prevent stings from jellyfish that are plentiful in the bays and surf during May and often brush up against waders while moving through the water.
Now that your protective gear is set for wading, where do you go?
Ask the Wind Gods. as the fresh winds of May dictate that answer.
We mentioned earlier that when the wind is up, the surf usually is unfishable therefore that leaves the bays and their protected shorelines.
Protected shorelines along West Bay include the South shore line of West Galveston Island and leeward shoreline of the Spoils along the Intracoastal Waterway.
In East Bay all along Bolivar Peninsula’s south shoreline are good spots to find fishable waters.
Contrary to winter fishing when baits need to move slowly, during May the water is usually warm and fish are aggressively feeding at fast pace. Artificial baits like soft plastics and hardware such a Mirrolures are worked faster.
Live shrimp fished under a popping cork also is excellent bait.
For surf fishing the tried and true spoon is a favorite of many anglers. Both gold and silver work well depending on what baits fish are feeding upon. When the surf is full of mullet, silver spoons tend to be the favorite while for other baits the gold spoon is the popular choice.
All of those baits work well in both the surf and in the bays this time of year.
On those limited days when the surf is calm and the water green just about any species of saltwater fish is a candidate for taking your bait. Trout, reds, Spanish mackerel, pompano and many others are caught including pelagic fish that are in close and feeding.
In both areas, bay and surf, tidal movement continues to play a major role in the successful fishing trips.
For the surf an incoming tide is the preferred tide while in the bays, tidal movement whether incoming our outgoing is desired.
Anglers fishing shorelines tend to prefer the incoming tide while others fishing the mouth of drains, creeks and bayous prefer the outgoing tide.
For those new to wade fishing, safety comes first. The Cardinal Rule is to not wade alone. Have a companion fishing nearby that can quickly come to your assistance and vice versa.