Port Isabel

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Fishing in Port Isabel

Casting a line into the best that both Laguna Madre and the Gulf of Mexico have to offer, all in a single day, just a couple of miles from shore? Yes, we're talking about Port Isabel fishing. 
Sitting on the western part of the lower Laguna Madre, surrounded by Laguna Larga, Bahia Grande, and Red Fish Bay, Port Isabel's history is strongly entwined with the waters surrounding it. Since its early days in the 1500s, the city's past has been colored with legends of pirates and hidden treasure. And the biggest treasure of all lies in the rich waters surrounding it – Red Snapper, Trout, Redfish, Mahi Mahi, Shark, and Sailfish are all up for the taking if you know where to look.

Known For

Port Isabel fishing guides are the key to a successful treasure hunt for the variety of exciting species in this area. Whether you're a rookie or a sea veteran, you'll find the catch of a lifetime in these waters, anywhere from the shallow flats of the bay to the Gulf. You just have to choose your prey and bag it during the most productive season, which lasts pretty much year-round for most species. 

Inshore/Nearshore Fishing

Experience some of the best inshore fishing that the "Lone Star State" has to offer in the shallow waters of the bays and flats. Laguna Madre averages just 3.6 feet in depth, with some areas as shallow as 1.1 feet – a true paradise for all inshore enthusiasts. Fishing here is all about catching big fish in skinny waters – any of the inshore Port Isabel fishing spots will give you the opportunity to land monster Redfish, Trout, and Flounder, the "Texas Holy Trinity."
If you set sail a bit farther out, you could be reeling in other inshore and nearshore superstars, just 10–30 minutes after leaving the dock. Depending on the season, you could get your hands on Red Snapper, Tripletail, Tarpon, Snook, Black Drum, Mangrove Snapper, King Mackerel, Jack Crevalle, Ling, Ladyfish, Whiting, and even Shark.  

Offshore Fishing

If you're more interested in deep sea fishing, Port Isabel won't let you down. Less than 5 miles away from Brazos Santiago Pass, located between South Padre Island and Brazos Island, reaching warm and deep waters of the Gulf will be a piece of cake. And when you get there, you'll have a chance to fill your coolers with some of the most prestigious game species of the Gulf. Depending on the trip duration and the time of the year, you could be bragging about landing the biggest Mahi Mahi, White and Blue Marlin, Sailfish, Swordfish, Wahoo, Yellowfin and Blackfin Tuna. If in season, you could also try your hand at deep water bottom fishing for Snapper, Grouper, and Amberjack. Cobia and Kingfish are a common bonus on these trips. Fishing for Tuna near commercial shrimp boats is very popular, as well as wreck fishing. 

Port Isabel Fishing Tips

  • Port Isabel fishing is all about light tackle, whether used for drifting, popping, or spinning. Light spinning tackle is efficient for battling Trout, Redfish, Snapper, Grouper, Snook, and much more. Fly fishing is also popular, along with jigging and bait fishing. Most of the longer trips will include bottom fishing and trolling – these are practically the default option when heading farther from the coast (about 30 miles offshore).
  • If you want to focus on fly fishing, these shallow waters will be on your side. Lightweight rods with floating or sinking lines will be your weapon of choice, depending on where you decide to test them – in skinny or deep waters.
  • When it comes to bait, you'll have a broad set of options, from artificial lures to live and dead bait. You'll be using spoons, topwater lures, live croaker, and live shrimp on corks. Skipping mullet is reserved for the species swimming closer to the surface, while cut bait is used when drifting for those swimming at the bottom. Reds and Specks are known for reacting best to light tackle paired with artificial lures or live bait, such as pinfish and shrimp. 
  • Apart from the time of the year, the bite can depend on various other factors. Many local captains will tell you that the bite is the hottest right after the sun rises and before it sets, an hour before or after tidal changes, and when the winds from the west are blowing. 

Need to Know


Please note that customers usually need to buy a fishing license when booking a trip with any Port Isabel fishing charter. Luckily, it’s easy to purchase a Texas fishing license with saltwater stamp online.


Full day trips for five or six passengers cost around $700–$1,200, while half days (5–6 hours) are usually $550–$750. If eight hours on the water just isn't enough for you, extended full day trips (10–14 hours) can be booked for $950–$2,000. Longer trips here don’t just mean more time on the water – you’ll also get a chance to target bigger and more prestigious game species. 

Getting There

Port Isabel is connected to South Padre Island via Queen Isabella Causeway and easily accessible by car from any city in the state of Texas, as well as Mexico (only 24 miles away). Highway 100 and Highway 48 are your best options. When it comes to buses, Port Isabel is serviced by Metro Connect Blue Line and South Padre Shuttle. You can fly in to a number of local airports, including  Brownsville/South Padre Island Airport,  Port Isabel–Cameron County Airport, and Brownsville/South Padre Island Airport.
If you want to get the most out of your trip to Port Isabel, come at the beginning of August – this is when the Texas International Fishing Tournament takes place. You could be just a cast away from setting a new record!  
Port Isabel
Based on 19448 reviews by FishingBooker anglers

Port Isabel Fishing Seasons

Focus on Redfish in January and you won't regret it for a second – the waters are teeming with them. Trout are more picky than usual, try tempting them with spoons and jigs.
Redfish and Trout fishing is still good, don't miss the chance to catch as many as you can. The weather is getting hotter, and so is the fishing.
Flounder and Trout are on the rise, while fishing for Redfish can be less productive than previous months. Inshore fishing is the name of the game in March.
You'll be searching for Speckled Trout near shore and Redfish on the flats. Black Drum fishing is excellent. April brings more action offshore – Blue Marlin is possible with some luck. 
May is all about inshore action – the shallow waters of the bay are filled with Speckled Trout and Redfish. Tarpon are also making their first appearance – catch them if you can.
Red Snapper season opens – head out to federal waters and bag your personal best. Bottom fishing and battling Wahoo, Yellowfin Tuna, and Mahi Mahi is a must.

Red Snapper is still going strong, along with Mahi Mahi, Amberjack, Tuna, and Wahoo offshore. Inshore fishing is all about Tarpon, and catching them on the fly will be unforgettable. 

The beginning of August is reserved for the Texas International Fishing Tournament – test your angling skills against others. Reds are waiting for you inshore, while Tuna, Mahi, Wahoo, and Amberjack prowl the offshore fishing grounds.
September is all about Flounder fishing on the flats. But that doesn't mean that Reds, Specks, Snook, and Tarpon are slowing down. Snapper fishing is still hot, hot, hot.
October can be very productive and diverse when it comes to the species you can catch. The sky's the limit with Tuna offshore and Redfish, Speckled Trout, and Snook inshore. 
The weather is getting colder, but fishing is still hot. November is all about fishing inshore for Reds or offshore for Yellowfin Tuna – just choose your game, and anything's possible. 
Colder weather will usually lead anglers to stay inshore, but that doesn't mean less action. Trout, Redfish, and Black Drum can be amazing this time of the year.

Port Isabel Fishing Calendar

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Reviews of Fishing in Port Isabel

Half day trip
Rafael A. fished with South Texas Fishing Adventures on June 17, 2020
Port Isabel is a prime fishing spot if your thinking about taking a fishing trip on the lower Laguna Madre don’t think twice just do it you won’t regret it
June fishing trip
Micheal N. fished with George's Fishing Charter on June 11, 2019
Yes sure would..possibly going again Thursday afternoon.
Incredible Half Day For A Bunch Of Rookies
Ron H. fished with George's Fishing Charter on April 8, 2019
Book with George Strader , "George's Fishing Charter Service"! This guy will make your day! He had a sonogram instrument on his boat to find the fish. The day had a North Wind, which was not ideal for fishing--it kept the schools on the move and caused big swells in the gulf. The Bay, however, was excellent, much calmer & easier to find large schools of fish. The water was pretty cool but warm enough for a refreshing swim.
Full day with captain George
Craig V. fished with George's Fishing Charter on March 19, 2019
Keep a close eye on the weather and find a Capt who is easy to contact. Also find an experienced captain who has good ratings. That's your best chance at a successful day.
Full day with Captain Jaime De La Fuente. Very nice time despite the weather!
Teri N. fished with Reel Therapy Charter Service on November 21, 2018
Bring rain gear. Wear it. Enjoy the hungry speckled trout and when the tide is moving in, the tailing redfish.
Half day with Captain Ryan
Anthony D. fished with South Padre Outfitters – Ryan Falls on September 2, 2018
Make sure the Captain has shrimp and if its windy, the fishing is tough, but thats why its called fishing and not called catching. Still had plenty of bit3s and action, even though the wind made things tough.
Half day trip with his partner captain Jaime
George H. fished with George's Fishing Charter on August 10, 2018
Call and. Poked captain George and Captain Jiame They will work very hard to put you in the fish and could not be nicer people.
Half day trip with Captain George!
Eddie R. fished with George's Fishing Charter on August 6, 2018
The only thing is be sure you book with Captain George

Top Targeted Species in Port Isabel

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