The Winds of May

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By Capt. Joe Kent

May should be one of the best months for fishing coastal waters; however, it is also the second windiest month of the year and for that reason it is usually an erratic fishing month.

During my long tenure as a saltwater fisherman, I have always focused on Mother’s Day Weekend and especially that Sunday as the time I begin frequent saltwater fishing trips.

There are several reasons for this and among them are warm weather has finally set in, the first big run of speckled trout around the jetties usually occurs in that time frame and the water temperature is usually well above the magic 70 degree mark.

Mother’s Day is one of my favorite times to hit the jetties, especially after late morning.  Why? It is because most anglers have headed in to take mom to one of the special Mother’s Day celebrations.
Unfortunately, too often my plans that day have been adversely affected by strong winds and actually my fishing plans for the month as a whole.

May tends to bring on moderate to strong southerly winds that blow for days before diminishing or switching directions.  While no one likes to fish in windy weather, there are advantages for anglers who know how to deal with the wind.

Strong winds from any direction limit the areas of fishable water either because they mess-up the water or create conditions that are too hazardous to hit certain areas such as mid-bay reefs or the surf.
Moderate winds and stronger have the same effect as Mother’s Day in that they draw anglers away from the water.  In order to take advantage of the situation, some of the following hints and suggestions should help you decide on whether to proceed with your plans and if so, where to fish.

If wind gusts are consistently running over 20 knots, from any direction, you likely will be better off postponing your trip. This is especially true for areas along the upper Texas Coast.

Farther south along the lower Texas Coast, winds can run well above 20 knots and still allow for fishing.

The next key is the wind direction.  In our area, southeasterly winds can run close to 20 knots and still not damage the water clarity in many spots.  Southerly winds, not slanted to far too the west, also can allow for fishable waters.  All other directions likely will sand-up most areas rendering them anywhere from marginal to poor in fishing quality.

Wade fishing along leeward shorelines is a good option during windy conditions.

During spells of southerly winds including the favored southeast wind, areas around the north and South Jetties often hold fishable waters and can easily salvage a fishing trip.  During those conditions, the Gulf side of the North Jetty and channel side of the South Jetty are the areas to target.

If your aim is to catch the Big 3, flounder, reds and trout, then look for good water clarity.  If the water is sandy with little or no visibility, move on or if pan fish are your desire, then anchor and fish.

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