South Padre Island Fishing: The Complete Guide

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South Padre Island isn’t your common Texas coast fishing spot. The island is roughly in step with Miami and appears as very similar to the Keys because the higher coast. South Padre’s fishing can be shocking, with species you possibly can’t catch anyplace else within the state. Throw in nearshore reefs, sprawling shallows, and quick access to deep water, and also you get some severe angling potential.

On this article, we break down all the things that makes SPI particular. Be taught concerning the space’s prime species and fishing spots. Choose up recommendations on the assorted methods to work these waters. You can even get information on tournaments and rules. Briefly, that is your full information to South Padre island fishing.

South Padre Island Fish Species

There are dozens of fish to catch on this a part of Texas. Most of them style nice and just about all of them put up struggle. Nevertheless, there are a couple of native favorites that deserve a selected point out. These are the “should catch” fish when you’re on the town.

Redfish and Speckled Trout

These guys are the dynamic duo of the South Padre Bay fishing scene. The staple catches within the island’s shallows. Redfish and Speckled Trout develop fats and completely happy within the sheltered seagrasses of the Laguna Madre. Small fish make for a tasty meal. Large ones will provide you with the struggle of your life on medium-light spinning or fly gear.

You’ll be able to catch Seatrout and Redfish year-round in South Padre. The largest “Bull Reds” present up in summer time and early fall, however younger “Pet Drum” are round in drive all yr. It’s an identical story with Trout. The big “Gators” hit the shallows in spring, however smaller fish are a continuing catch. Throw within the large Flounder that additionally dwell right here, and also you get a Texas Slam.

Snook and Tarpon

Wait, you possibly can catch Snook in Texas? If you happen to’re in South Padre, you positive can! Snook spend the entire yr right here. Within the hotter months, they often hunt on the flats and round jetties. When the climate turns chilly, they head to deeper passes and channels. Wherever they’re, they’re an actual favourite amongst South Texas anglers.

Snook aren’t the one warm-water fish that present up round SPI. Tarpon spend many of the yr right here. They roll into Brazos Santiago Cross as early as March, and stick round into October. In late summer time and early fall, additionally they transfer alongside the seashores and jetties. That is one of the best time of yr to focus on them.


Shark fishing is getting increasingly more in style in South Padre Island, and it’s simple to see why. You’ll be able to catch a variety of huge, toothy predators proper off the seashore or within the bay. Blacktips and Bonnetheads are the entry-level targets, excellent for teenagers and households. If you happen to’re searching for extra of a problem, you too can tackle Bull Sharks and even Hammerheads farther out.

South Padre’s Shark chunk is finest in summer time. That is when the fish are most energetic and in shallow water. Sharks are nocturnal hunters, so evening fishing is the simplest (and thrilling) solution to goal them. To maintain the native fisheries wholesome, we advocate at all times releasing Sharks unhurt – particularly endangered species like Hammerheads.

Crimson Snapper

Fish lovers and foodies want no introduction to Crimson Snapper. This delicate, flaky meat is among the finest consuming within the Gulf. Understandably, Crimson Snapper rules are very strict. In federal waters, you possibly can solely catch them for a few months every year. State waters are equally restricted – besides in Texas. Right here, you possibly can goal Snapper all yr lengthy if you will discover them.

Enter the Rio Grande Valley Reef, 1650 acres of arduous construction sunk off South Padre. As soon as completed, will probably be the biggest synthetic reef advanced on the earth. It’s particularly designed to develop and maintain reef fish like Crimson Snapper. An unlimited Snapper metropolis you can go to all yr lengthy? Appears like angling heaven to us!


Inshore fish are enjoyable and Snapper positive are tasty, however nothing compares to taking up Tuna. You’ll be able to catch each Yellowfin and Blackfin Tuna within the waters offshore from SPI. It’s worthwhile to head 30 miles to succeed in them. The perfect spots are nicely previous that. Make the journey, although, and also you’ll be rewarded with a tricky struggle and sufficient Tuna steaks to feed a military.

Summer season is one of the best time for Tuna fishing in South Padre Island. The ocean’s calm and the fishing grounds are alive with apex predators. Your finest wager is to troll round deep sea oil rigs or shrimp boats. The Tuna aren’t alone right here. Wahoo, Mahi Mahi (“Dolphin”) – even Blue Marlin and Sailfish present up. You actually need to deliver your a-game when deep sea fishing.

Find out how to Fish Round South Padre

As you possibly can inform, South Texas has quite a lot of selection in what you possibly can catch. You even have loads of choices in the case of fishing for them. The preferred methods to moist a line are from shore, on a kayak, or on a fishing constitution. Right here’s a abstract of what makes each particular.

Shore Fishing

South Padre is a tremendous place to fish from shore. The island is roofed in sandy seashores which can be excellent for surf fishing. There are jetties and piers for casting into deeper water. If you happen to don’t thoughts getting moist, you possibly can even wade fish on shallow flats. The entire space appears custom-built for shore anglers.

Your primary targets might be Redfish, Speckled Trout, and Flounder. You can even discover Snook in some spots, in addition to Tarpon should you time your journey proper. Briefly, all of South Padre’s inshore stars are reachable from land. You most likely gained’t catch a monster, however one can find loads of enjoyable.

Kayak Fishing

Itching for slightly extra motion? Wish to attain distant spots the place the massive fish disguise? One easy answer is to leap in a kayak. Launch out from spots across the island for a calming few hours away from the busy seashores. If you happen to don’t personal a fishing kayak, you possibly can hire them domestically for slightly over $100 per day.

Kayaks aren’t simply good for escaping the crowds. Additionally they provide you with much more choices of what you possibly can goal. Catch massive Redfish, Trout, Flounder, and Snook, in addition to species like Spanish Mackerel and Sheepshead. Skilled ‘yakers may even head out seeking Crimson Snapper, Cobia, and Kingfish.

Constitution Fishing

That is the last word solution to fill the boat or discover a monster. Fishing on a constitution opens up areas and methods that simply aren’t an possibility in any other case. No fish is out of attain. No spot too far. And that’s simply the boat itself. You additionally get all the advantages of fishing with an area skilled.

Constitution captains spend their lives working these waters. They know all one of the best spots for the season or model of angling you’re enthusiastic about. They’re additionally clued up on rules and limits, so that you don’t have to fret about them. If you’d like a hassle-free day on the water and a ton of fish to indicate for it, that is the best way to go.

South Padre Island Fishing Spots

what you wish to catch. You know the way to get to it. Now it is advisable to determine the place to go. The reality is that you will discover fish just about in every single place. Nevertheless, there are some tried and true fishing spots for every species and elegance of angling we talked about above.

Shore Fishing Spots

  • Holly Seaside. Holly Seaside is simply north of Laguna Vista on the mainland. It’s the most effective wade fishing spots round, filled with shallow seagrasses that maintain good-sized Speckled Trout and Redfish. There are additionally hazards like oysters beds and stingrays, although, so watch out should you’re new to wading.
  • South Padre Island Fishing Jetties. These twin jetties sit on both facet of the move, on the island’s southern tip. They’re go-to spots for fishing deep water. You’ll be able to catch Redfish, Trout, Sheepshead, and extra right here. The primary draw are Tarpon, which transfer into the move every summer time.
  • Pirate’s Touchdown Fishing Pier. The longest fishing pier in Texas, working subsequent to the Queen Isabella Causeway. It’s an important place to catch a variety of inshore species, from Trout and Croaker to Sheepshead, Flounder, Catfish, and extra. You can even hire rods and purchase provides right here.

Kayak Fishing Spots

  • Brazos Santiago Cross. Fishing from the jetties is one factor, however exploring the move itself is an entire different story. These waters are a magnet for Redfish, Snook, and Tarpon. You can even discover King Mackerel within the deeper reaches. The move will get quite a lot of visitors, although, so be alert when fishing right here.
  • South Bay. Searching for a distant, enjoyable bay to discover? That is the place for you. South Bay is simply throughout the move from SPI. It’s excellent for kayak fishing, with loads of Redfish, Trout, and Snook to maintain you busy. There’s even a paddling path which takes you to the bay’s prime honey holes.
  • Rio Grande Valley Reef. That is extra a normal space than a selected fishing spot. Drive up the island till you run out of street then paddle out till you begin to discover construction. The RGV Reef holds Crimson Snapper, Spadefish, Mackerel, and extra. Nevertheless, it’s an 8-mile paddle and never for freshmen.

Boat Fishing Spots

  • Brownsville Ship Channel. That is the best possible place to catch Snook within the fall and winter. Large fish pile up within the depths, making them virtually too simple to search out. You can even set your sights on Tarpon, Mangrove Snapper, Redfish, Trout, Sheepshead, and extra.
  • Port Isabel Reef. A man-made reef round 10 miles southeast of the move, virtually in Mexican waters. It holds something from Cobia and Kingfish to Crimson Snapper and Spadefish. The reef doesn’t get too crowded, as South Padre anglers are about the one individuals who can attain it.
  • Texas Clipper. A 473′ clipper sitting roughly 17 miles off South Padre Island. That is a tremendous place to land Crimson Snapper, Triggerfish, Sheepshead, Spadefish, and Grunt, in addition to hard-fighters like Barracuda and Kingfish. If you happen to’re after selection, issues don’t get a lot better.
  • Oil Rigs. The guts and soul of Texas’s deep sea fishing scene, house to Amberjack, Dorado, Tuna, and even Marlin. Oil rigs cowl the Gulf from 10 miles as much as 140 miles out. The farther you go, the larger the fish get. SPI is particular as a result of it’s the closest level to deep-water rigs like Perdido.

Necessary Occasions and Native Legal guidelines 

Fishing is persistently good in South Padre, so that you don’t have to fret about once you go to. Nevertheless, there are a number of occasions you possibly can participate in should you time your journey proper. There are additionally rules to keep in mind, no matter time of yr you go.

South Padre Fishing Tournaments

As if the fishing wasn’t thrilling sufficient, South Padre hosts a wide range of tournaments every year. There’s one thing for everybody, from family-style occasions to severe sportfishing competitions. Essentially the most well-known one by far is the South Padre Worldwide Fishing Event. It’s been going for 80 years and now attracts over 500 boats every July.

In August, feminine anglers can check their expertise within the Women’ Kingfish Event. This long-running competitors offers you three probabilities to win. A Bay Division targets Redfish, Trout, and Flounder. An Offshore Division focuses on Kingfish, Blackfin Tuna, and Dorado. Lastly, the angler who catches the largest Mackerel might be topped “Queen of the Kings.”

Searching for one thing extra informal? Have enjoyable for trigger on the annual Fishing for Hope Event. This family-friendly inshore occasion raises cash for the Hope Household Well being Heart, an area non-profit medical clinic. And these are only a few of many tournaments held across the island.

Texas Fishing Laws

Anglers aged 17 and over want a license to fish in Texas, whether or not it’s on a constitution, a kayak, or on foot. There are a couple of exceptions to this, which we’ve devoted a whole article to already. If it is advisable to purchase a fishing license in South Padre Island, you possibly can head to the aptly-named Blue Marlin Grocery store. You can even get them at Pirate’s Touchdown Fishing Pier.

Texas has no seasonal closures for catching fish. Nevertheless, it is best to brush up on closed seasons earlier than heading into federal waters, particularly for Crimson Snapper. You must also verify measurement and bag limits for any fish you plan to maintain. If you happen to’re fishing on a constitution, your captain will care for all this for you.

South Padre Island: A South Texas Fish Magnet

South Padre is surrounded by so many fish that it virtually appears intentionally constructed to carry them. Really, it type of is. From ship channels to reefs to grease rigs, the waters round SPI have been formed and embellished to draw as many fish as doable. And that’s with out even mentioning the pure surprise of the Laguna Madre.

The fishing grounds aren’t the one issues that make the island particular, although. This is among the most southern factors within the nation, with species you possibly can’t discover anyplace else in Texas. Add in a relaxed vibe and a few beautiful surroundings, and you’ve got an angling vacation spot you would come again to yr after yr.

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