Nothing beats the beautiful scenery, the wonderful weather, and spending time with your family and friends than a little Galveston fishing.
From the early Spring until late Fall, Galveston Island has some of the best fishing in the nation.
The city's beaches, jetties, piers, bay reefs, and flats provide anglers with easy access to a wide variety of game species such as flounder, redfish and spotted sea trout just to name a few. While casting your line into the Gulf, you never know what you may land on the end of your line…
You know it’s a Red Drum when you see that unique mark, the large black spot on the upper part of the tail base. The most distinctive color is reddish-bronze. One good-looking characteristics of this particular fish species is its enthusiasm to take most kinds of bait, both natural and artificial. From my personal experience, live shrimp and small bait shrimp are the most effective natural bate. Red drum is a rapid growing fish getting approximately 11 inches and one pound in its first year (Texas Parks and Wild Life).
The black drum is a rounder, arched backed fish with many types of stubble under the lower jaw line used to feel and smell food. Youthful fish have four or five dark vertical stripes on the sides of their body but these tend to go away as the fish ages. Typically, this type of fish gets to about a length of six inches in the first year, 12 inches the second and 16 inches the third. The largest black drum ever recorded so far was 146 pounds. When it comes to the types of bate used to catch these fish, Black Drum are rarely taken on artificial baits since most feeding is done by feel and smell. The common bate used to catch Black Drum is fresh, dead and alive shrimp, bait fish and even squid. Lastly, while focusing on catching these guys, they are bottom feeders and rarely caught on the top of the water (Texas Parks and Wildlife).
Spotted Sea Trout
One of mine and many anglers’ personal favorites is the Spotted Sea Trout. This beautiful fish can range up to 19 inches and believe it or not, the female trout tend to be a bit larger on average reaching to about 25 inches in span. These gorgeous fish are dark grey and green tints outlining their backs and silvery-white below with an selection of distinctive black spots scattered around their upper body. Make sure you watch your fingers because Sea Trout have one or two noticeable canine teeth usually around their upper jaw line (Texas Parks and Wildlife).
Believe it or not, Sea Bass are the largest species of saltwater fish found in the world to date. The larger types of these fish are usually black while the smaller fish are more of a dusky brown color. Black sea bass tend to grow slowly, up to 2 feet and 9 pounds. They reach a reproduction stage at ages 1 to 3. Once a Black Sea Bass is born, they start out as females, and as they age and get larger, they become males. Researchers aren’t sure why this happens, but one hypothesis proposed the low number of males in a spawning group may be the incentive for a female to switch sex (Texas Parks and Wild Life).
Could you imagine looking at the world sideways your entire life? All flatfishes, including the southern flounder, are compacted sideways and spend most of their life lying and swimming along the bottom of the ocean on their side. Even though these fish are on their side, Males rarely exceed 12 inches, but like a couple other fish species, females grow bigger than males and often reach close to 25 inches long. While your fishing in Galveston during the Spring and Summer, the best place to find these remarkable fish are in dark lagoons or grassy areas where they blend in for defense mechanism (Texas Parks and Wildlife).
Gafftopsail catfish are named for their distinct dorsal fin that rises from the top of their back. Trust me, you will know this fish when you see it for many reasons! This dorsal fin reminds me and I am sure others like a sail on a sailboat. Their spines are not only sharp; they also have a coating of toxic slime. They have this slime coating used and produced for a defense mechanism mainly against parasites. To land these fish it is suggested to use live shrimp, small crabs and even small live fish for baits. The fish may feed throughout the water, but these fish are more likely caught on the bottom (Texas Parks and Wildlife).
Pig fish are beautiful in color and they have a district name. The name is pretty self-explanatory and exactly what you are thinking; They imitate the sounds of an oinking pig with their mouth. They don’t just make these noises when they are caught but they use the teeth in their throat to grind up food which causes the grunting sound. Sometimes mistaken for pinfish, its dorsal spines are smaller, the eye is smaller and the distance from eye to mouth is greater. Pig fish can be caught around docks and piers while using peeled shrimp or even live shrimp for bait (Texas Parks and Wildlife).
Atlantic croaker is about 12in long and weighs 1/2 to 2 pounds. These little guys have individual features including three to five pairs of small stubbles on their chins to help them feel for food on the sea floor. It is known that this smaller fish prefer estuaries and bays through the spring and summer, then make the trip offshore in the fall to breed. Because of this Croaker’s size, it is often used for bait to catch larger fish Texas Parks and Wildlife).
Galveston Fishing Musts…
Clearly, as stated, there are many fish species in and around Galveston. Introduced above are just a couple of the potential catches. Don’t forget to look up the bag limit for each fish along with the regulations. Although it is exciting and there is no other feeling quite like catching a fish, it is most important to go along with the regulations and laws to preserve the wild life and fish habitat. In addition, whether you’re fishing for the day or the year, you must remember pick up your fishing license at any of your local bait shops (Bayou Bait and Tackle and Smitty’s Bait House) just a couple local favorites. If you’re looking to have a fun filled, thrilling experience, get out and start fishing Galveston. You just never know what could be at the end of your line!
Texas Parks and Wildlife: https://tpwd.texas.gov/landwater/water/aquaticspecies/marine.phtml)