Redfish Fishing in Galveston: The Complete Guide

Dec 2, 2022 | 7 minute read
Reading Time: 7 minutes

If you look up Redfish fishing in Galveston, your search results will be flooded with breathtaking images of this magnificent creature. There’s no dilemma about it – Redfish are ranked high on the Galveston to-catch list. Each year anglers from all over the world flock down to this charming island town to try their luck at landing Reds. But what makes them so alluring to fishers worldwide?

An angler holding a big Redfish with both hands caught while fishing in Galveston’s inshore waters and posing next to a power pole trolling motor

The answers are multiple. For some, a love of Redfish angling started when their lines got tight. For others, it happened once they finally got hold of their hard-earned trophy. And for many, it began even earlier than that – the first time they read about Redfish. We won’t lie, we’re hoping that you’ll fall in love with them after reading this blog, too. 

In the following sections, we’ll examine Redfish’s popularity and provide you with more information on when, where, and how to pursue them. So are you ready to fall hard for Reds? Read on!

Why Redfish?

Red Drum, more commonly known as Redfish, are among the most sought-after inshore species in Texas for several reasons. Firstly, Redfish are the ultimate opponents. These muscular beasts are the rivals you’ve been looking for. Their reputation of being stubborn is what makes passionate fishos tick. 

A group photo of five anglers standing on a charter boat and holding big Redfish they caught while fishing in Galveston

If you thought that hooking them is the endgame, think again. This is when the real struggle begins. Once hooked, Redfish immediately go berzerk. These strong brutes will do everything in their power to reach the bottom and leave you empty-handed. This is why overpowering them comes with a taste of glory.

Speaking of taste, Redfish make for mighty good eating, too. Their meat is white, mild, and fine-textured. Grilled, baked, fried, or smoked – Redfish are a highly rewarding dinner. Plus, what could possibly taste better than a meal you’ve caught and prepared?

A woman posing against the shoreline in the background and holding a Redfish with both hands while standing on a Galveston fishing charter boat

The list of reasons to love Redfish just goes on. Not only are they awe-inspiring fighters and delicious table fare, but they’re also gorgeous-looking sportfish. Their large-sized and bronze-hued body with that distinctive dark dot makes them the picture-perfect trophy fish. And who can resist a brag-worthy picture?

Besides quality, Redfish fishing in Galveston is also associated with quantity. Coastal Texas is jam-packed with Reds. What’s more, the number of Bulls isn’t lagging either. These impressively big specimens are true royals of Galveston’s waters. Hooked already? If all this didn’t convince you to pack your things and go after Reds, maybe our next section will.

When is Redfish season in Galveston?

A photo of two anglers on a charter fishing boat looking happy while holding their big Redfish catches with both hands

The best time to catch Redfish in Galveston is whenever you set your mind to do so. Yes, you read that right – you can pursue Redfish any time of the year. Believe it or not, captains report decent Redfish action even in December and January. Be it under the blazing summer sun or in the dead of winter, Reds will be biting in Galveston. 

While there’s no closed season, some months are naturally more prolific than others. The time frame between spring and fall is ideal for angling. But truth be told, late summer and fall are probably the most productive for Redfish fishing in Galveston. So, if you want to maximize your chances of landing that prize catch, hit Galveston in September.

How to catch Redfish in Galveston?

Before you start targeting these beauties, you’ll need to know about outsmarting them. Find out all about their eating habits, common whereabouts, and the best angling methods below. 

Habitat

Two satisfied anglers standing on a charter fishing boat against a background of jetties and rocks, while showing off their Redfish catches

Red Drum are highly adaptable fish. Not only can they tolerate temperature variations, but they can also survive in a wide range of salinity conditions. This means you can find Redfish almost anywhere in Galveston’s waters. However, there are certain areas they prefer more than others.

Redfish are primarily flats-loving creatures. You’ll find them in Galveston’s shallow bays, bayous, and estuaries up to 4 feet deep. While they adore muddy and grassy seafloors, they’re obsessed with underwater structures, too. So, you’ll often see them meandering jetties in search of food.

Food

A captain demonstrating how to prepare bait and as a kid carefully watches while holding a fishing rod and getting ready to try fishing

Reds aren’t picky eaters and they’ll mouth just about anything you throw at them. Be it live, dead, or artificial bait, Red Drum will readily gulp it. Live shrimp, however, works wonders – especially if you pinch them a bit to release a tempting smell that Redfish won’t be able to resist.

Besides shrimp, Reds will also fall for crabs and fish such as mullet and Atlantic croaker. As for the artificials, gold spoons and jigheads are your allies. Even white-bodied lures and plastic worms seem to be effective.

Angling

An angler sitting on a boat and holding a Bull Redfish with both hands

Fly fishing, surf angling, sight or blind casting, wading… You can use almost any approach to battle Reds. You can also mix and match a variety of different methods until you find your perfect combo. It really comes down to what you enjoy the most. Sight casting, however, tends to be a preferable way of Redfish fishing in Galveston.

As for the equipment, again, a whole range of weaponry can work depending on the area you’re targeting and how big the fish are. For example, surf angling requires a 10′ rod with lines up to 40 pounds. Grassy flats, on the other hand, can be tackled even with 8′ test lines and 6′ rods for smaller Redfish.

Where to catch Redfish in Galveston?

The answer to this question is simple – anywhere in Galveston’s inshore waters. You can literally hit any shore corner or shallow and stumble on a Red. However, this doesn’t help you much. So, to make your life easier, we’ll outline a couple of good starting points below. Feel free to kick off with them and move on to exploring the surrounding fisheries on your own. 

An infographic featuring the best Redfish fishing spots in Galveston and text that says "Galveston Redfish Fishing Spots" and names of the hotspots against a blue background with the FishingBooker logo
  • Galveston Fishing Pier. This well-maintained angling facility is considered to be among the best fishing piers in the area. Galveston Fishing Pier is a family-oriented place that guarantees excellent Redfish action. It comes with an admission fee and is equipped with bait and tackle shops. 
  • 61st Street Fishing Pier. Another popular pier is the 61st Street Fishing Pier. This angling location offers rod rentals and night fishing. You can buy bait and the necessary tackle here as well. But similar to its neighbor, 61st Street Fishing Pier isn’t pet-friendly.
  • Pelican Island. The sandy flats around Pelican Island are perfect for fishing for Reds. But that’s not all. If you’d rather stay dry at the dock, you can also fish in Seawolf Park located the island. It features a fishing pier, picnic sites, a playground, and parking. 
  • Galveston Island State Park. Speaking of parks, you can’t miss out on the opportunity to check out Galveston Island State Park. There are numerous kayak access points and a fish cleaning station. Plus, if you opt for angling from the shore, you won’t need a fishing license!
  • Hanna Reef. If you move further toward Galveston Bay, you’ll come across Hanna Reef. This is the ideal spot for drifting soft plastics in search of Reds. Anglers also reported that fishing with live shrimp under a popping cork can be effective here.

Anything else I should know?

An infographic featuring the state flag of Texas and the title "Galveston Redfish Fishing Regulations" and text below it that says "what you need to know" against a blue background

Mastering the art of finding and battling these gorgeous beasts is of the utmost importance. However, another crucial aspect of your Galveston Redfish adventure is actually knowing the rules and regulations surrounding your hunt. First and foremost, you should learn everything about Texas’s license requirements. 

Everyone who’s 17 and older must purchase a valid fishing license to cast in Galveston’s waters. Even if you’re fishing with a certified charter operator, you’re obliged to buy your permit ahead of time. The only places where you’re allowed to wet your line without having to purchase a fishing license are the banks and piers of Texan State Parks. 

Apart from a fishing license, you shouldn’t venture out there without being familiar with size and bag limits. The minimum length of your Redfish catch has to be 20 inches and you should possess no more than three fish. To stay updated, monitor the Texas Parks and Wildlife’s official website regularly.

Frequently Asked Questions

A cute photo of a kid smiling and holding small Redfish with both his hands while standing on a boat
  • What's another name for Redfish?

    There are several names you can use when referring to Redfish, the most popular ones being Red, Red Drum, Rat Red, and Bull Red.

  • What does Red Drum sound like?

    This may come as no surprise to you, but Redfish are famous for their drum-like noise. This drumming sound is usually associated with male specimens during the spawning season.

  • Can I fish for Redfish in lakes?

    Yes, but not in Galveston's proximity. You can find Redfish in Braunig and Calaveras Lakes. These Texan reservoirs are regularly restocked.

  • What is Texas's state record Redfish?

    The biggest Red Drum caught off the coast weighed almost 60 pounds and was nearly 55 inches long.

  • Where can I buy a Galveston fishing license?

    You can either purchase it online or find the closest license retailer in Galveston to buy it on the spot when you get there. Fishing piers that are home to bait and tackle shops are also good places to look for your Galveston fishing license.

  • What should I bring with me on my Redfish fishing trip?

    If you're angling with a certified Galveston fishing charter operator you don't have to worry about finding a vessel and renting any equipment. You only need to bring your fishing license, snacks, and personal items.

  • Are Redfish fishing charters in Galveston kid-friendly?

    Since you'll mainly be exploring the flats and inshore waters, feel free to bring your children on a Galveston Redfish fishing adventure.

Redfish Fishing in Galveston: An Inshore Adventure

A woman and a teenage boy kissing a Redfish each that they caught while standing on a charter boat after the trip

Redfish fishing in Galveston is certainly one of the most cherished inshore activities in Texas. Game fish qualities, exceptional market value, exquisite flavor, and unique looks – Redfish has them all! We can’t think of a single reason why you shouldn’t spend your next vacation pursuing Reds in Galveston. Really, there’s nothing more satisfying than playing tug of war with these magnificent goliaths. So, go ahead, book your Redfish adventure and then tell us all about it.

Have you ever been Redfish fishing in Galveston? If you have, we’re all ears. Hit the comment button below and share your experience with us. We’re also here to answer any additional questions you may have about Redfish angling.

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