Texas’ Coastal Bend is famed all over the world for its incredible fishing, and Rockport is at the heart of it. Sticking out on the Live Oak Peninsula, it borders Copano Bay and Aransas Bay, both of which are overflowing with prized fish.
But that’s not all. If you come fishing in Rockport, you could find yourself heading to the Gulf of Mexico in search of some big game monsters, too. With flats, jetties, bays, and access to the deep seas, it’s no wonder that this town revolves around fishing!
What can I catch when fishing in Rockport?
It would take an age to get through all the species you can catch when fishing in Rockport. But, in short, you’re sure to catch some of Texas’ most sought-after creatures when fishing inshore, with plenty of great rewards offshore. Here are some of our top picks!
There are fewer better places in the world to target the famous Red Drum than South Texas’ network of bays and lagoons. In fact, it’s even been named the state’s designated saltwater fish! Hit any of Rockport’s bordering bays, or head to the aptly-named nearby Redfish Bay and get your hands on enough to fill the boat, along with one or two “Bulls.”
Known for their tenacity, these creatures are sure to put up an intense fight to get off the end of your line, so get ready for a serious battle. It will all be worth it, though, as you head home with plenty of delicious meat to put on the BBQ during those warm Texan evenings!
If you’ve ever gone fishing in South Texas, chances are you’ve tested your skills against these bad boys. Not quite as tough as some of the bigger Redfish that share these waters, Speckled Trout are just as delicious as their fishy friends. Hit pretty much any inshore fishery, and you’ll come across one.
Available pretty much year-round, they’re a staple of the Texas saltwater fishing scene, and make up a third of the “Big Three” that seafood lovers crave when they come to the Gulf Shores. Go after Redfish, Flounder, and Specks, and be a part of the local culture!
No list of fish in the Gulf of Mexico would be complete without the elusive Red Snapper. Prized from the Florida Keys to Mexico, they’re sought after by pretty much any saltwater angler. The beauty of fishing for them in Texas, though? You can land one year-round in state waters!
Yep, that’s right. Head up to 9 miles offshore whenever you want and you could get your hands on one of these beauties.
If you fancy testing your skills against some of the bigger Snappers out there, you can take advantage of the federal season too. Come in summer and head to the deep waters of the Gulf, and you could land the fish of your dreams.
Whether you’re surf fishing or on a boat, there’s usually a Shark biting when you’re fishing in Rockport. Bull, Tiger, Hammerhead, and Blacktip Sharks make their way through the bays at different times of the year, giving you the chance to test your strength against a true predator.
The more daring among you may even come across a monster Mako on an offshore adventure. These are some of the most dangerous fish in the world, so get ready to get the pulses racing!
Just beware that most Shark species are endangered, so you’ll want to practice catch and release on these creatures. Use heavy tackle to limit the risks of them getting injured during the fight, and reel ‘em in as quick as you can.
Big Game Fish
From late summer through to mid-winter, the larger boats docked all around the Coastal Bend spring into life. This is the time when the deep sea fishing in Rockport kicks off. Pelagic beasts such as Blackfin and Yellowfin Tuna, Mahi Mahi, Sailfish, and even Blue Marlin make the warmer waters just out of Texas their home, giving you the chance for a test like never before.
Take advantage of the Mahi Mahi bite first off, before Marlin and Tuna show up towards the end of September, as you go in search of that trophy catch!
We said that we’d need an age to get through all the fish you can catch while fishing in Rockport, but we couldn’t leave out some of the following. All you need to know is whether you’re inshore, nearshore, or offshore, there’s something to keep you busy!
Add Sheepshead, Flounder, Jack Crevalles, Black Drum, and even Tarpon to the inshore list. Meanwhile, Cobia, Amberjack, and Mackerel are worthy opponents nearshore. If you go offshore, then don’t miss out on the Wahoo bite to go along with your big game battle.
How to Fish: Best Ways to Catch Fish in Rockport
Whatever kind of angler you are, there’s something for you when fishing in Rockport. If you’re looking to take the family for a fun day out on the beach, you’ve got it. Fancy a day alone on a pier? Check. How about a new, fun adventure? Try a kayak. The list is endless.
Read on and find out how to tailor your Rockport fishing adventure to your needs!
The shallow waters of the bays attract plenty of fish all over, which makes fishing from the shore in South Texas better than in most places around the world. With the jetties just a stone’s throw across the bay from Rockport, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from when deciding where to go fishing.
Go after the usual suspects of Redfish, Trout, Sheepshead, Jacks, and even Sharks. And you can even bring the whole family along for a fun-filled day on the beach.
If you thought the fishing was good from shore, just wait until you come pier fishing in Rockport. There are a number of extended walkways into the bays, giving you the chance to hit the deeper waters without getting wet. Come and set up camp for the day as you go fishing like never before, with stunning views of the bays and beaches.
Along with the inshore favorites, pier fishing can see you catch some nearshore wanderers when the time is right. Get out far enough, and you could find a Cobia, Amberjack, or Mackerel at the end of your line!
A relatively novel way of fishing, casting from a kayak is quickly becoming a popular way to get your fill of fish in Rockport. The calm bay waters of the Copano and Redfish Bays are ripe for kayak fishing, and you can find plenty of shops along the marinas willing to rent you a light vessel for under $50.
“Why kayak fishing?” you ask. First of all, it’s a great workout. A sport in its own right, you’ll work up a sweat before you’ve even landed a fish. Then the hard work begins. Get ready to test your skills in tight quarters as you look to fill the kayak with something delicious to take home.
It’s no secret in the angling community that charter fishing is the best way to get your fish on. With a professional guide, you’ll find the sweet spots with ease, going after a range of delicious and exciting fish depending on what’s biting. Hop aboard a Rockport fishing charter and it will feel like the whole world is your oyster!
Of course, if you want to go offshore, you’ll need a charter, but it’s also just as useful inshore. Anglers of all levels are usually welcome aboard, with the captain ready to give a helping hand to novices, while the pros get their fish on in style.
Where to Go Fishing in Rockport
We’ve talked enough about the fact that there’s so much fishing on offer in Rockport, but now it’s time to decide where to go. You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to fishing here, but the following section should give you a better idea of where best to head to suit your needs.
- Aransas Bay: Just pipping Copano Bay to the top of the list, this vast expanse of water protected from the Gulf by the jetties has it all. Year-round you can battle a range of fish, with Trout and Redfish standing out.
- Padre Island: If you’re looking for an adventure and have access to a 4×4 car, then Padre Island is for you. Make your way along the rugged beaches and experience fishing like never before. Target Flounder, Redfish, and Trout bayside, with Snappers on offer Gulf-side.
- San Jose Island: Another prime spot for shore anglers, this jetty island is a little closer to Rockport itself. Along with the bays, you can also hunt the flats for Black Drum, Jacks, Sheepshead, and even Tarpon.
- Rockport Pier: Fulton Pier almost stole the crown of best pier in the area, but the length of Rockport Pier gives it the edge. Come and fish here and head home with buckets full of fish.
- Offshore Oil Rigs: Just 40 miles offshore, you’ll come across some of the most productive feeding grounds for fish in the Gulf. These offshore islands are a haven for huge Snappers, Mahi Mahi, Cobia, and even Tuna and Billfish.
When to Come Fishing in Rockport
There’s never a bad time to come fishing in Rockport. Make the most of the year-round warm weather and get your fish on against a range of exciting and delicious fish, and discover for yourself why Texas’ Coastal Bend is so famed for its fishing.
However, you may want to tie your fishing adventure with some local events to keep your family and friends occupied over the course of a few days. Come in any of the following months, and you can combine your fishing trip with a true taste of local culture:
- March: Sample the delights of the Fulton Oysterfest at the start of spring and get a real taste for some of the seafood you’ll be targeting.
- May: Not only will you get to make the most of the incredible fishing, but the Rockport Wine Festival transforms the Texas Maritime Museum into a hub of fun. Come and learn all about the history of the Gulf Coast and try out some award-winning local wines.
- October/November: Combine the old and new as fall hits Rockport, with the town’s Seafair and Film Festival inviting you for a cultural experience. The Seafair has been running for over 40 years, while the Film Festival only started in 2007, but both are sure to keep you entertained.
Depending on how you plan on fishing in Rockport, you may need to get a license. This is where it gets a little confusing. Anglers over the age of 17 fishing from a boat or from the beaches must get a Texas saltwater fishing license, which you can get here.
However, if you’re fishing from a pier or from land, you won’t need one. There’s a fine line between land and the beach, though, so we recommend you get one just in case.
Now, there’s also an additional $10 endorsement that you’ll need to purchase alongside your license if you want to take any of your fish home. This comes with a “Red Drum tag” (for one Redfish over 28 inches) included but you can purchase an additional tag if you want to catch more than one Bull.
If this hasn’t sold fishing in Rockport to you, then we don’t know what will! With year-round fishing, great weather, and some of the world’s most sought-after fish in abundance, the question should be “Why not Rockport?” Come to this angling paradise whenever you want, and get your fish on in style!
Have you ever been fishing in Rockport? How was it? Think we’ve missed something? Leave us a message in the comments below!
March 12, 2023 Mar 12, 2023
Hi we are staying in Rockport for a groups family vacation Monday – Thursday (13-16) is there a good fishing charter for 4 adults and 5 kids ? Is there someone you recommend for shark fishing from shore ? Is it a good time of year for that ?
Thank you for any insight . We are down from MN
Replied on March 13, 2023 Mar 13, 2023
Thank you for your question. You can find some Sharks in the Rockport waters in March, just bear in mind that it’s not their high season yet.
As for the charter offer, you can take a closer look here to check out the offer on our website, then you can enter the number of people and children you’re taking and the preferred date. I’ve taken the liberty to check availability for March 15, and here are some options.
I hope this helps Theresa and that you’ll have a fantastic time in Rockport.
February 3, 2023 Feb 3, 2023
We’re planning to rent a house off Copano Bay near Salt Lake in April or May. What would be the best time do you think for fishing from the pier at the house? Is April too cold for trout or flounder? Thank you!
Replied on February 6, 2023 Feb 6, 2023
Thanks for your question. The great thing about fishing in Salt Lake is that it’s never a bad time to go fishing. Flounder are available year-round, as are Trout and Redfish – although it may not be peak season. Keep an eye on tide and lunar patterns closer to the time to better inform you of when to go out, but dawn and dusk are usually the best time to go fishing here, while mid-morning or the middle of the day can also yield good results, depending on the conditions. I hope this helps.
May 17, 2022 May 17, 2022
I’m going to be going to rock port this weekend and hoping to catch some flounder and speckle trout what would be the best lures or bait for the both
Replied on May 18, 2022 May 18, 2022
Thanks for getting in touch. When it comes to bait, a lot of local anglers stick with small crabs, shrimp, and mud minnows. As for lures, soft plastic jig heads work well for Flounder while sub-surface plugs are a good option for Speckled Trout. Hope this helps you have a fun time on the water.
March 6, 2022 Mar 6, 2022
First off, thanks for the wonderful information above! We will be coming down this upcoming weekend for a few days. We are from the panhandle and it is a different kind oof fishing up here, what do you recommend for tackle? We have lighter weight string up here, what’s the best all around for down there? We will primarily be fishing off the backyard in little bay during the trip, but I want to ensure the kids have a blast and catch something.
Replied on March 7, 2022 Mar 7, 2022
Thanks for reading, I’m glad you liked the article. When it comes to tackle, you can keep things simple while keeping the little ones happy. For the fishing line, if you plan on fishing with lures, 10 or 12 lb monofilament line will do the trick, but if you’re fishing with bait, then having a sturdier 14 lb might be better.
You can use live bait like small crabs, shrimp, finger mullet, and pinfish to attract Redfish, Speckled Trout, and more. If you prefer lures, you can’t go wrong with crankbaits, spoons, and topwater plugs.
I hope you have a blast in Rockport, Mark!
All the best!
January 14, 2022 Jan 14, 2022
We are coming down in mid-March… What are the chances of hooking into a tarpon around that time? Also, how good is the fishing in salt lake? Thank you in advance.
Replied on January 14, 2022 Jan 14, 2022
Thanks for reaching out. Mid-March is typically too early in the season for Tarpon to start showing up around Rockport. Salt Lake is pretty shallow, so try fishing it during high tide. You can also explore some spots around Rattlesnake Point nearby.
Hope you enjoy your time in Rockport!
August 18, 2021 Aug 18, 2021
We are staying at a house right off Salt Lake. Is that area deep enough for a 25′ bay boat?
Replied on August 18, 2021 Aug 18, 2021
Thanks for reading and for your question. Salt Lake is fine for boats with a shallow hull, which your bay boat should have. I know many anglers and captains prefer to head out at high tide, however, as that’s when the Redfish bite is at its best. Otherwise, Copano Bay is where the best action is at. I hope this helps.
August 4, 2021 Aug 4, 2021
Can you go crabbing for Blue Crabs off Fulton Pier?
Replied on August 5, 2021 Aug 5, 2021
Thank you for reaching out. It looks like the has been rebuilt and is now open for anglers. You can double-check with Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce by calling 1-800-242-0071.
Hope this helps!
June 14, 2021 Jun 14, 2021
My wife and myself are planning a long weekend around the end of July. I was planning on doing a little fishing off the Rockport Pier offof Market St. Do you have any suggestions on fishing the Peir? Maybe types of bait would be best for that time of year. I’m not very familiar with peir fishing.
Thanks so much for any help.
Replied on June 14, 2021 Jun 14, 2021
Thanks for your question! Rockport Pier is a great location for first-time pier fishers. It’s easy to access and you’ll find species such as Redfish and Speckled Trout in the waters around the pier itself.
When it comes to your setup, you just need to get your hands on a basic spinning rod and reel. Make sure your rod isn’t too flimsy, though, as the Rockport Pier is home to a variety of underwater structure that fish love to retreat to. Fishing from a pier also means you have to pull your fish above the water line, so using a hardier rod means you’ll have better control if something bites. For your reel, anything with a fairly strong, smooth drag will do the trick.
For bait, you’ll want to generally match it with what your target species are feeding on naturally. For the species you’ll find around Rockport Pier, whitefish, crabs, or shrimp work wonders. Summer is when these fish tend to mix up what they’re eating, which means you can use a variety of bait with good results!
We hope this information helps. Enjoy your trip to Rockport and make sure you come back and let us know all about it!
March 28, 2021 Mar 28, 2021
I’m a 71 yrs of age that love to fish from shore use to fish at rollover pass until it closed looking for another good safe spot other than piers asking for some suggestions around Rockport what about fence bayou?
Replied on March 29, 2021 Mar 29, 2021
Thanks for reading and for your important question during these tricky times. If you can get yourself over to San Jose Island, you can find some of the best shore fishing in the area, with the Aransas Bay and Gulf of Mexico within reach. Mustang Island is a little more accessible, and it boasts a jetty on either side, which you can cast into the deeper waters from. Airport Road just off Texas Highway 35 is also a good spot closer to town, just make sure to get out early in the morning to make the most of the early bite. I hope this helps.
February 9, 2021 Feb 9, 2021
I’m heading down in a few weeks with my kids for spring break. We are staying off perch ln where salt lake meets copano bay. If we’re not regular fishers but want to enjoy at least a few catches from the backyard of the Airbnb what fishing setups and bait should we bring? i.e what should I tell the people at academy that I need?
Replied on February 10, 2021 Feb 10, 2021
Thanks for reading and reaching out. I’m very jealous that you’ll get to fish Salt Lake/Copano Bay for Spring Break! You’ll have a blast, I’m sure. You won’t need anything too heavy, something in the 10–14 lb range when it comes to tackle will be enough, with a leader of around 14–16 inches. As for bait, you can use whatever’s in season, or try dead shrimp, mullet, croaker, or pinfish for the best results. Let us know how it goes!
February 9, 2021 Feb 9, 2021
this was really a great read. Thanks for all the time and effort you put in. Now we know what to fish for.
Replied on February 10, 2021 Feb 10, 2021
Thanks for reading and your kind words. I hope you have a blast when you fish the next time in Rockport. Please let us know how you get on!
Replied on March 29, 2021 Mar 29, 2021
I have a cabin for thus weekend in Rockport And I did see you recommend 10-14 lb line but how about if I go to the county park close by that has big waters – should I have something bigger ? Any any suggestions for lures inland and deep water jetty’s?
Replied on March 30, 2021 Mar 30, 2021
Thanks for reading and for your good question. Of course, you can use different lines for fishing different waters, as it all depends on the fish you want to catch. A 10–14 lb monofilament line will be enough for fishing the inlets, but if you’re looking for the bigger fish in the deeper waters, you’ll want at least a 20 lb line. If using a braided line, you’ll want something stronger in both waters, with a 20 lb line useful in the inlet, while you’ll want over 40 pounds for Cobia and other bigger creatures in the Gulf. I hope this helps.
February 1, 2021 Feb 1, 2021
Thanks for the article. My wife and I plan to vacation down there for a month to escape the Minnesota winter. It won’t be until next January/February but this article already has me excited
Replied on February 2, 2021 Feb 2, 2021
Thanks for reading and for your kind words. You’ll definitely have a blast down in Rockport. Don’t hesitate to get back in touch to let us know how it goes!
September 9, 2020 Sep 9, 2020
It looks like their are lots of private piers not open to the public. Are any of the Piers free and open to the public?
Replied on September 9, 2020 Sep 9, 2020
Thanks for reading and good question. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it can be difficult to keep up with what’s open and what’s not. Thankfully, the Rockport-Fulton Chamber of Commerce has put together a list of what’s open and what’s not, which you can find on their website. From what I can see, Aransas County public piers should be open. I hope this helps.
September 6, 2020 Sep 6, 2020
Are there group fishing boats out of Rockport?
Replied on September 7, 2020 Sep 7, 2020
Thanks for reading and that’s a very good question. Most charters in Rockport tend to offer private trips, especially for bay fishing, as vessels tend to be smaller bay boats or flats boats that can only cater to a limited number of people. However, there are a few charter operators along the Coastal Bend that offer shared trips. You can use the search function on FishingBooker.com for Texas, and filter it for “shared” to see the results. I hope this helps.
September 2, 2020 Sep 2, 2020
Just wondering if you can rent fishing equipment for pier fishing….
Looking forward to our trip to Rockport in a couple of weeks!
Replied on September 4, 2020 Sep 4, 2020
Thanks for reading and for posing a very important question! You can find bait and tackle shops that will usually rent gear near all the major fishing piers in Rockport. I hope you enjoy your trip!