May 2019

By Neil Taylor and kayak fishing staff contributors

Around the state:

The word is out:  Fishing all over the great state of Florida is exceptionally good.    Will the heat of summer come early for those of us central and south or will May be a mild month?   It should not matter.   Water temperatures will not elevate until June and May should have some of the best fishing stories of the year.    Read on to see what is in store around the state for the month of May:

The Tampa Bay region– 

Outstanding action in our region will remain excellent throughout the month of May.   The usual action would include snook but for the tenth straight year, I will not be offering them as an option for my charters.   Having a few more snook around is not evidence of a recovery.   The likelihood of dolphin eating a released snook makes it better to avoid the species altogether.   

An option:  The flounder, one of our most underutilized species.   The major Red Tide in 2005 and ’06 crushed this species.   Slower to recover than the speckled trout, the past two years have been good but to start out April, more big flounder have been caught in the past three weeks than we caught in basically all of 2012.    The 12 Fathom 3-inch Mullet, SlamR and Buzz Tail Shad are tremendous baits for flounder (which are discussed more in the other reports listed below).

Trout and redfish will also be the mainstay targets of May.   Toss in some pompano fishing late morning and we have the recipe for some great fun in the month of May!   Redfish:  Simply not in good shape.    You can catch a few but they are very hard to find.     Something needs to be done.  

The number of pompano caught on the flats is also evidence, as it is with the flounder, that it should be an exceptional year for pomps.    I use the 12 Fathom “BLING” Mullet or the Silly Willy (yellow) with a teaser (pink) for pompano.   Best choice:   Silly Willy, ¼-ounce with a pink teaser.   Use the yellow jig, pink teaser.    Pompano, like flounder, underutilized.    If you don’t know how to target pompano, maybe you will want to book me for a trip so I can teach you.   They aren’t hard but like anything else:  You need to know what you are doing.  

Trout action may shift to “early and late” depending on the weather cycles.   The hotter it gets, the better the action in the low light periods.   With mild patterns, the action should be decent throughout the daylight hours but probably getting tougher “Noon to Six in the afternoon.”  My six to ten rule is:  Fish from six to ten in the morning or six to ten at night to have the best results.   

Neil is published.    “Kayak Fishing” is completely instructional.    “Fishing Tampa Bay” is very helpful to those who are going to try it out around here.    $15 or both for $25.     A slight fee for postage and we can have them right out to you.    

In the Southwest “Suncoast” area
May usually is a good month to fish. The weather is typically
settled and front-free. I anticipate good redfish action on the flats and off
the sands bars, along with a few snook and spotted seatrout. Snook will
increase along the beaches and they will be around dock lights at night.
Seatrout are always available over the deep grass patches along the east and
west sides of Sarasota Bay. In fresh water, I anticipate good action bluegill,
bass and channel catfish.

The East coast of Florida,

Opportunity.    It is here.   April wasn’t bad.   May should continue that trend.    If you select the right spot, you could have incredible action.    Drum.   Redfish.   Trout.   If you know what you are doing:  Flounder.    The options are all there.    Figure it out, and get in on this action!

In the Big Bend of Florida’s Panhandle, Robert Baker at TnT Hideaway on the Wakulla River: .   If you are going to be in Panama City, stop in and see Brad and his staff at Sunjammers: .    The guys say this will be a good month up there.     Not seeing the pressure problems that are being encountered in other parts of the state, this fishery is INTACT.   

In Northeast Florida:

May is basically as good as it gets.     This month will see some of the best fish caught all year.    Fish the passes.   Fish the flats.    But go.   It is the best time of the year to have pretty easy action around here.   Take advantage of it. 

In the greater South Florida area:

Things are great in South Florida.   The weather.   The species to target.   It is all great for opportunities for the kayak angler.   We have snook and other inshore species.   We have the offshore targets for those with the right equipment and knowledge.    Too many people are taking risks that they are not ready for.   To get out into the deep water and fight offshore species, you should have a safety plan in place.        Wearing a life vest is simply not enough.    Can you successfully achieve a deep water re-entry?   Do you have your gear secured so you do not lose everything when you flip over?   Do you know how to handle an angry fish in a tiny boat?   For those who have the right skills, this is a thrilling way to try out some extreme fishing.    Our kayak anglers get some exercise, catch some amazing fish and have some great stories to tell.    But this kind of fishing is not for the beginner.   Do it safely.  Do it right and get your action:  But don’t get killed doing it!

The tip of the month:
The heat of summer is back, like it or not.   For so many months, we could get away with being less prepared with extra drinks and tricks to stay cool.    Bring way more water than you expect to use and drink it regularly.   In winter, you wear water repelling clothing to stay dry for a very good reason:  To stay warm.   With the heat of summer arriving, there is a very big trick to avoid overheating.   “Stay wet, stay cool.”    At the beginning of a day, before the sun is even up, I get in the water to get my pants and the bottom of my shirt soaking wet.    This is air-conditioning on the water:  The damp clothing will make it feel much cooler than if you are dry.    If you do this, you may feel a lot better at the end of the day and possibly not have to drink quite as much water.   But, take extra water, and drink it.   

Need help learning how to kayak fish?   Hire one of our guides on staff for your region and take advantage of their knowledge and sharpen your own skills!

Get out and into the action but as always: Be careful out there!

Neil Taylor, site administratorThis e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.