The Complete Guide to Fishing in Port Aransas
Jul 8, 2021 | 9 minute read Comments
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Reading Time: 9 minutes

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 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!

Redfish

A woman holding a Redfish caught fishing the shallow waters out of Port Aransas

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. 

Speckled Trout

A woman holding a Speckled Trout caught fishing near the shore

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. 

Flounder

A young man holding two Flounders caught while night fishing in Port Aransas

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. 

Red Snapper

A man and a woman holding two Red Snappers facing each other in Port Aransas

Possibly the Gulf’s most famous fish, Red Snapper is 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 beauty of Red Snapper fishing at Port Aransas, though, 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

A woman holding a Mahi Mahi caught while fishing in the Gulf of Mexico aboard a fishing charter

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!

A group of men holding a Grouper caught aboard a charter in the Gulf of Mexico

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, and sprinkle some Sharks all over, and there’s no end to what you can catch.

How to Fish: 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. 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 casting away, and you’re sure to find a way to fish that suits you. 

Pier Fishing

A view of the Horace Caldwell Pier from the beach with the waves crashing in around it

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!

Surf Fishing

A man holding a Speckled Trout caught while fly fishing on a beach

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. 

Kayak Fishing

An angler fishing from a kayak

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.

Charter Fishing

A woman sat in a fighting chair while two men look over the side of the boat in the Gulf of Mexico

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 hopping aboard a charter is the only 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. 

Where to Go Fishing at Port Aransas 

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 some 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.

An aerial view of the islands leading to the Gulf of Mexico at dusk

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, when the Bull Reds start making 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!

Throughout fall, you’ll have the chance to test your muscles inshore against the biggest Reds alive, while Mahi Mahi, Tuna, and even Marlin 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.

Events

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 in April (although it’s scheduled for October in 2021). The world’s best sand sculptures draw crowds of over 100,000 to Port Aransas, bringing the town alive like never before!

Anything else?

An aerial view of Port Aransas with a pier sticking out from the beach

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 (longer than 28 inches) home per year. 

And There You Have It

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, and 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!

Comments (10)
  • roland perez

    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?

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      Rhys

      Jul 5, 2021

      Hi Roland,

      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!

      Tight lines,

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  • Aurelio Salazar

    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.

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      Lisa

      Jun 8, 2021

      Hi Aurelio,

      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!

      Tight lines,
      Lisa

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  • Angele Yunes

    Apr 21, 2021

    Great blog. Thanks for posting.

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      Rhys

      Apr 21, 2021

      Hi Angele,

      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.

      Tight lines,

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  • Rick Valdez

    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.

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      Rhys

      Apr 19, 2021

      Hi Rick,

      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,

      Tight lines,

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  • Jorge Gringo

    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.

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      Rhys

      Mar 16, 2021

      Hi Jorge,

      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.

      Tight lines,

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