Every bass fisherman in the Carolinas looks forward to the annual spawn, whether it be smallmouth, largemouth or spotted bass. It’s shallow-water fishing at it’s most challenging and often most rewarding.
If ever there has been a redfish wonderland, few would disagree that it rests in the big toe of boot-shaped Louisiana, where the mighty Mississippi River channels the remainder of its inertia into a vast delta system that floods the wetlands with freshwater, creating a unique blend of low-salinity marshes next to the salty Gulf of Mexico.
As the Earth slides closer to the sun during spring, the waters warm and kick-starts fishing action. Anglers along the coast of both Carolinas look forward to the first few weeks of May, when nearshore waters fill up with energy rich pods of menhaden, knowing that these oily baitfish will be swarmed by toothy predators every step of the way in their travels.
On the Cape Fear coast, spring mornings can come very early. When the forecast is for light and slight wind, there is a rash of pre-dawn activity at the boat ramps and marinas as everyone makes last-minute preparations to head offshore.
Learning to use a fly rod can be complicated and time-consuming, especially for younger anglers. But Lance Milks of Greensboro has important a Japanese technique for putting artificial flies in front fish that’s easy to master and a kid-friendly introduction to fishing.
When crappies make their rush to spawn in the shallows in lakes across South Carolina, hordes of anglers hungry for fillets follow their every move. With the spawning process complete, fish reverse the migration and turn back toward deep water — but few anglers follow them on the return trip.
Speckled trout are a favorite target for many saltwater fishermen throughout the Carolinas. Fairly adaptable, they can be found from the nearshore ocean through the marshes and rivers to brackish water and sometimes into waters classified as inland. Most fishermen chase them from boats, but there is a dedicated group that catches a lot from the decks of the fishing piers.
The density and diversity of catfish species found in South Carolina’s Lake Murray, along with warming water temperatures, creates an outstanding opportunity to catch a cooler full of ol’ Mr. Whiskers. With abundant channel and blue catfish populations, along with plenty of flathead and white catfish, Lake Murray is a catfish haven in May.
Whether you prefer fresh or saltwater, May is a fantastic month to be on the water. Bass are postspawn and heading deeper, while cobia can be had on corks.