Situated on the south side of the Corpus Christi Channel, Port Aransas is a gateway to the Gulf of Mexico. But fishing at Port Aransas is more than just heading out to the oil rigs. Head west to the Corpus Christi Bay, east to Aransas Bay, or north to Redfish Bay, and you’ll find some of the world’s best inshore fishing grounds.
Not only that but, being located on Mustang Island, Port Aransas is also a great starting point for a nearshore adventure. Whether on a charter or fishing straight from the jetty itself, you’re sure to land a range of prized fish.
What can I catch when fishing at Port Aransas?
While pirates once used these shores as a hiding place for their treasure, nowadays anglers from all over the world come to Port Aransas. This time, though, it’s to discover the riches of fishing. With so many fishing grounds on your doorstep, it’s no surprise that you can catch a trophy and some dinner on the same trip. So without further ado, let’s meet the all-star cast!
If you’re fishing along Texas’ Coastal Bend, then chances are you’ll be going after the Lone Star state’s official saltwater fish. This tough-fighting and delicious creature is a joy to behold, and anglers all over the Gulf love targeting this beauty.
It’s so abundant in the Port Aransas area that it’s even got a bay named after it. There’s no surprise that the Redfish Bay is overflowing with Redfish, but don’t forget about the rich waters of Aransas Bay and Corpus Christi Bay, too.
We’re sure that the beloved Speckled Trout was in the running to be crowned state saltwater fish, too. These fish are so characteristic of the Gulf that they have a different name here to almost everywhere else. The “Spotted Seatrout,” as it’s known elsewhere, is another strong creature that boasts an incredible taste, too.
Anglers of all levels love catching these beauties, and the calm waters of the inshore bays are the ideal place for beginners to learn to fish. Meanwhile, avid anglers can look to max out on their limits, as there are so many of these creatures here.
Completing the “big three” of Texas inshore fishing is one of the nation’s most-loved table fare. Port Aransas Flounder fishing is up there with the best in the US, with plenty of these delicious creatures calling the nearby bays home throughout the year.
Come in summer for the best chance of filling the boat with these tasty beauties. In fact, your best chance of landing them is during the darker hours when the weather is still warm, as you partake in that old Texas tradition of gigging for Flounder.
Possibly the Gulf’s most famous fish, Red Snapper are high on the list of any angler who comes to fish these rich waters. Known for their tough fight and their delicious taste, they’re the kind of all-rounder that every angler dreams of.
The real beauty of Red Snapper fishing at Port Aransas is that you can do it year-round! Unlike other states, Texas allows you to catch these beauties in state waters (up to 9 miles offshore) whenever you want. If you’re looking for a bigger specimen, though, then wait for summer and head offshore during the federal season.
Big Game Fish
If you want to target some of the toughest fish in the sea, then a Port Aransas offshore fishing trip is for you. Located on the entrance to the Gulf, this town boasts a shorter run to some of the deep sea fishing spots. Head anywhere from 30 to 100 miles offshore with a federally-licensed guide, and get your fish on like never before.
These waters are full of some truly prized creatures. Go after delicious Mahi Mahi and Tuna, along with stunning Sailfish and Marlin to land that trophy catch. Peak season lasts from mid-summer all the way through winter, so there’s no need to worry about missing out!
And Much More!
It’s impossible to dedicate a section to each of the prized fish that keep anglers on their toes when fishing at Port Aransas. But all you need to know is that, wherever you go, you’re sure to catch something you want.
Inshore, you’ll be targeting Jack Crevalle, Black Drum, Sheepshead, and even Tarpon, in addition to the prized creatures mentioned above. Meanwhile, nearshore adventures could see you go after Mackerel, Cobia, Groupers, and Amberjacks. Add Wahoo to the offshore list, sprinkle some Sharks all over, and there’s no end to what you can catch.
Types of Fishing at Port Aransas
The population of Port Aransas can swell in summer from a mere 3,480 to over 60,000 people, many of them looking to get their fish on. Anglers can bring their families along for a day on the beach, with the chance to go surf fishing, while there are plenty of piers nearby to get some peace and quiet. Add the chance of hopping in a kayak and you’re sure to find a way to fish that suits you.
Extending hundreds of feet out into the sea, piers are great spots to wet your line from. Offering structure for the fish to feed on, they’re a haven for attracting some prized species. While most local piers suffered destruction during Hurricane Harvey, Port Aransas still has a few prime spots. Short and long, these walkways dot the coastline in town and beyond, giving anglers an advantage both inshore or nearshore.
Pier fishing at Port Aransas is a great way to fish on a budget, too. These public facilities are actually free to fish from, and you won’t need to rent anything – provided you have your own gear, of course. Not only that, but the piers here are well-lit, meaning you can fish 24 hours a day!
With 18 miles of Gulf coastline to explore and plenty more inshore, Mustang Island is a haven for surf anglers. With so much on offer, even when the beaches are crowded, you can find a quiet spot.
Cast in the bays for your fill of Redfish, Trout, and Flounder, and you could even bring your waders and head to the flats for some Jack, Pompano, or even Tarpon action. Meanwhile, the crashing waters of the Gulf are where you can target the cream of the crop. Monster Sharks come right up to shore, while Mackerel, Cobia, and Amberjack can all be found biting.
While often associated with white water rafting, many anglers are now starting to appreciate the benefits of having a kayak. These light vessels will keep you afloat in the shallowest of waters, getting you to the spots that no other boat can. Grab your waders and go fly fishing in the flats or cast directly from the kayak, and get your fill of delicious fish.
Beware, though, you’ll need to work on your upper-body strength before coming, as maneuvering the kayak is demanding, not to mention fishing from tight angles. Hit the bays for a better time of it, where you’ll also find plenty of retailers willing to lend you a kayak for under $50.
The creme-de-la-creme of fishing, it’s no surprise that charter fishing is so popular in Port Aransas. With a professional guide, you’ll find the sweet fishing grounds with ease, and you’ll be able to move from one to the other without any hassle. What’s more, the Gulf of Mexico is on your doorstep and a charter is the way to truly experience it!
Whether you’re looking for a light bay boat for a couple of anglers, a massive offshore sport fishing vessel for the whole family, or something in between – there’s a Port Aransas fishing charter for you. Fill whichever vessel you have with a whole host of tasty treats and head back to shore with more than just incredible memories.
Port Aransas Fishing Spots
Choosing where to go is the next big question when it comes to fishing these rich waters. But, fortunately, you can’t go wrong! Choose any of the following locations for your angling adventure and you’re in for a treat:
- Horace Caldwell Pier: Just minutes from downtown, the longest pier in Port Aransas stretches way out into the Gulf, giving anglers the chance to land those bigger nearshore species.
- Fish Pass Jetty: A little further south down Mustang Island, the Fish Pass Jetty spans a national park. Possibly the place for surf fishing in Port Aransas, you’ll want a 4×4 to get over the beaches, before setting up camp. Hit the bays year-round, while nearshore action heats up in summer.
- Aransas Causeway: Separating Aransas Pass from Port Aransas this land formation is the best place to fish the channel from. You can camp at different intervals, with ramps for kayaks to enter the water, too, so bring the whole family!
- South Jetty: Spitting out of the tip of Port Aransas the South Jetty boasts the best of all worlds. Target the nearshore fish as they come close to shore, while the inshore creatures are still biting where the waters are calm.
- Oil Rigs: The only things more characteristic of the Gulf of Mexico than Red Snapper are oil rigs. And they go hand-in-hand out from Port Aransas. Head offshore and get your hands on the elusive Snapper, along with some of the bigger, prized species.
When to Go Fishing at Port Aransas
It’s always difficult to know exactly when to plan your fishing trip to get the biggest bang for your buck. Fortunately, you can’t go wrong in Port Aransas. Come year-round, and you can target a range of exciting and delicious fish.
Of course, every fish has its season – despite Redfish and Specks being available year-round. Come in late summer for the best of all worlds. That’s when the Bull Reds make an appearance, Tarpon show up, and the offshore fishing has started to get underway. This is peak tournament season, too, so come and test your skills against the best!
During the fall months, you’ll have the chance to test your muscles inshore against the biggest Reds alive. All the while, Mahi Mahi, Tuna, and even Marlin will show up at different intervals. The Tuna and Marlin season runs through early winter, before Sheepshead and Pompano make their appearance in January and February to keep you on your toes.
We mentioned tournament season, and there’s no better tournament in South Texas than the oldest fishing tournament on the Gulf. Come in July to experience the Deep Sea Roundup for your chance to win big. Meanwhile, the Legends Billfish Tournament and Women Anglers’ Tournament fill up the calendar in August.
There’s one other date to note in the diary, and that’s when the Texas Sandfest comes around. The world’s best sand sculptures draw crowds of over 100,000 to Port Aransas, bringing the town alive like never before!
Before you go fishing at Port Aransas, you’ll want to make sure that you’re sticking to the law. Depending on how you fish, you may need a license. Anglers aged 17 and over, fishing from a boat or beaches, must get a license. Find out how to get one with our useful guide here. However, you may not need a license if you’re fishing from a pier or from dry land.
If you plan on taking some of the tasty treats of the seas home with you, then you’ll also need to purchase a $10 endorsement. This will let you take home whatever you like within state limits. It will also include your Red Drum tag that will let you take one Bull Red home per year.
Fishing at Port Aransas: No Brakes on This Train
With its year-round fishery and incredible range of fish, Port Aransas is unrivaled almost anywhere in the world for fishing. Come here and go after whatever you want, whenever you want! You’re sure to head home with an angling experience you’ll never forget, along with plenty of delicious fish.
Have you ever fished at Aransas Pass? How was your experience? We’d love to hear your views, so leave us a message in the comments below!
December 21, 2021 Dec 21, 2021
What equipment would you recommend purchasing for Bay Fishing (Robert’s Point Park) and Pier Fishing?
Replied on December 21, 2021 Dec 21, 2021
Thanks for your comment. This is definitely a question with more than one answer! When fishing from a pier, the rod and reel combo you choose should reflect the fish you want to target. In most cases, a medium-heavy 7 to 9′ spinning rod will do the trick, paired with 30–40 lb lines. You want the rod to be slightly heavy so it can lift your fish from deeper waters.
For bay fishing, again, the specific gear depends a lot on what you’re targeting. However, a 6–7′ light to medium-light rod paired with a 2,500–4,000 size reel. This setup is usually best when paired with a 10–30 lb braided line.
For more information, feel free to check out our complete guide to fishing gear and tackle. Tight lines!
December 6, 2021 Dec 6, 2021
We fished from Roberts Point Park last year on the first week of April. Caught a ton of gafftop. Is there a season for these? If so, when would be the best time to schedule another trip?
Replied on December 7, 2021 Dec 7, 2021
Thanks for reading and for sharing your experience with us. Gafftop Catfish can be found in Port Aransas year-round, but they’re most prolific in spring when they spawn, all the way through fall, where they reach their biggest size. April would therefore be a good time to try fishing for them again, or you could wait until later on in the season to try and land a bigger creature.
Good luck and tight lines,
November 27, 2021 Nov 27, 2021
Hey. My family is thinking about taking a trip to Port A the first week of January. It seems like we might be in between fishing seasons?! Any thoughts on that? Any recommendations on an inshore guide or what we can expect to catch around January 5th.
Replied on November 29, 2021 Nov 29, 2021
Thanks for reaching out. You should be absolutely fine fishing early January, especially if you plan on staying inshore. Around that time, your best bet will probably be to target Speckled Trout. You can see some of our most popular charters in the area by clicking here.
If you need any help with booking a trip for your family, we’ll be happy to help!
July 3, 2021 Jul 3, 2021
My wife and I took a trip last week of June, did some surf fishing with no luck, we have been going there for years , just cant see why its taking so long to rebuild piers, this comunity makes so much money from tourists for years, and still nothing but a place to just play on the beach, when will these be rebuild? how many years from now?
Replied on July 5, 2021 Jul 5, 2021
Thanks for reading and for raising a very important question. We’re all disappointed with the lack of piers since Hurricane Harvey and even Hanna last year. Work is ongoing on a new observation deck at the Horace Caldwell Pier, so that’s good news. Unfortunately, I don’t know how quickly we can expect the others to be up and running. I hope, like you, that it will be sooner rather than later!
June 8, 2021 Jun 8, 2021
Great information you’re providing. My wife and I are heading over there this June 13th thru the 16th and I plan on doing some surf fishing. We are both going on one of the 4 hour party fishing trips. I hope we catch some fish on that trip.
Replied on June 8, 2021 Jun 8, 2021
Thank you for reading and writing in.
Good trip choices! Are you planning on checking out the bays and the flats or perhaps getting straight to the Gulf?
I hope you and your wife enjoy your trip and come back home with your cooler full of fish!
April 21, 2021 Apr 21, 2021
Great blog. Thanks for posting.
Replied on April 21, 2021 Apr 21, 2021
Thanks for reading and for your kind comment. I’m glad you found it useful. Hopefully, you can come back and tell us some tales of what you manage to catch on your next Port Aransas fishing adventure.
April 17, 2021 Apr 17, 2021
Only one public pier left in port aransas, located on gulf of mexico, pier pic in your article is not located in port aransas, all piers destroyed by harvey.
Replied on April 19, 2021 Apr 19, 2021
Thanks for reading and for your comment. I’m aware that Horace Caldwell Pier is the only current pier in operation in Port Aransas, but we all hope the one in Cole Park will reopen soon, among others. You’re correct that the image is not Horace Caldwell Pier. I’ll go ahead and update that now – thanks again for the heads up,
Replied on February 1, 2023 Feb 1, 2023
Bundrett Pier north end of station street has re-opened. Channel side pier off Port St. should be open soon.
March 16, 2021 Mar 16, 2021
Great article. I don’t fish but will be in town in early April and I think you’ve convinced me to give it a shot.
One small correction though. SandFest is later in the year for 2021.
Replied on March 16, 2021 Mar 16, 2021
Thanks for reading and for your comment. I’m sure you won’t regret picking up a rod and reel and casting your line at Port Aransas. Let us know how it goes!
Good spot regarding SandFest, I’ve updated the article accordingly.