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Top Fishing Charters in South Padre Island

Fishing in South Padre Island

South Padre Island fishing charters are rigged for serious business. Moored at the waterfront of this bustling resort town, local fishing charters stay inshore and around the bay, or head offshore. This means that fishing is diverse and solid year round. The town of South Padre Island boasts a mild climate and calm seas with plenty of sun. Attracting college students during the spring break and families during the summer heat, this town is a real charmer.

Here you can find a number of fishing events, the biggest one being Texas International Fishing Tournament. Each year, scores of anglers come along to try and win the prize, and many rookies are tempted to join the chase. Those who do, head out with a local crew to explore the rich marine life. They hope to get Kingfish, Shark, Mahi Mahi, Amberjack, Tuna, and Cobia when the waters are warmer, or fish around the bottom for Red Snapper and Grouper.

Known For

South Padre Island is famed for its beachfront and favorable weather, water activities, festivals, and tournaments. As the heat goes up, so does the number of visitors who stay here from early spring to late summer. The action is on throughout the year, and this place seems like a good match for almost anyone. Whether you want to unwind, swim, watch dolphins, run, take a walk down the beach, or embark on a fishing endeavor, here you will likely find what you want.


As for the ‘serious business’ part. Well, if you have a look at the island’s map, there are two main things to see. One, the island is overlooking the bay waters. Which means that anglers can go fishing for Redfish and Speckled Trout, but also Black Drum and Sheepshead. Wade fishing is popular and rewarding near Holly Beach and Laguna Heights. If you’re a first-time wade fisherman, you will want to have an experienced guide by your side to help you fish around holes, soft bottoms, and drop-offs. Grass flats around the lower Laguna Madre are great for getting Reds and Trout, while North and South Jetty are a Tarpon hot spot in the fall.


If you turn your head to the other side while walking down the Padre Blvd, the Gulf of Mexico is all you will see. And it's rich waters. When we say rich, we mean that almost any month will yield some prize. South Padre Island fishing trips can put you on the bite, whether it’s Red Snapper, Mahi Mahi, Amberjack, Grouper, Tuna, or Jack Crevalle, the Gulf waters have a lot to offer.

For the Enthusiasts

As far as serious deep sea fishing goes, SPI can rival any of the Gulf's hotspots. The closest point to the Perdido Spear, deep sea fishing charters may battle with Marlin, Wahoo, Yellowfin Tuna, and more. Some charters head out as far as 100 miles offshore, in search of big specimens. To weather the choppy waters far far offshore, you will need to find a stable boat and a skilled crew. But once you travel the distance, you’ll be in a real fishing paradise. Tuna, Mahi Mahi, Wahoo, and Blue Marlin from spring to fall? Yes, it’s worth the trip.

Family Groups

Inshore fishing is best for smaller kids as you're never far from shore and you're in protected waters and there are lots of little fish they can catch. Then, once they hit their teen years, they will enjoy the activity on a bottom fishing charter heading further out into federal waters, or even a shark fishing charter!

If you’re taking your family for a vacation here, bottom fishing for Red Snapper or Grouper is a popular past time. The federal waters open on 1 June, and you don’t want to miss out bragging about a Snapper catch. State waters, on the other hand, are open year round. It’s unbelievable, isn’t it, getting a Snapper barely two miles off the coast.

While you’re around town, you can also try taking sand castle classes, scuba diving, kiteboarding, flyboarding, and variations thereof. If you want to learn about fishing techniques, there are many local captains who will take you around on their skiffs and teach you how to present the bait right. The waters are shallow and it’s fun and safe to indulge in family water adventures.

What can I do on a half day trip?

Half day trips are typically closer to the shoreline. That, however, means no less action. Here you will find many Redfish and Trout to battle, and the excitement will be as high as when fishing offshore. The inshore and bay waters of South Padre Island are one of the most productive locations for inshore fishing in this part of the Gulf. Some charters do head offshore even on a half day trip. You won’t really manage to fish for long hours, but you will have just enough time to test your skills and target Mahi Mahi, King Mackerel, and Bonito, although an occasional Sailfish might surprise you as well.

What does a full day trip look like?

Now, if you’ve marked a full day of fishing in your calendar, you’ve done just right. Hiring a charter for a full day of fishing is exactly what you need if you want to make the most out of your trip. Once you reach the rich South Padre Island fishing spots, you can hope to get Kingfish, Spanish Mackerel, Mahi Mahi, Cobia, and Sharks. A full day trip would be a good starting point to explore the Laguna Madre, Bahia Grande, South Bay, or to head further north, towards Baffin Bay.

South Padre Island Fishing Techniques

If you stay inshore, you can’t really miss fishing for Redfish. They are mostly light tackle kind of fish. The captain will either provide artificial lures, or let you try live bait, be it shrimp of pinfish. Most Redfish are super strong, and not particularly fussy eaters. They will go after most of the things you present, but getting one is a feat in itself.

Specks, well, we love Specks. They are light tackle fish, working well on natural bait, but also very rewarding to try on artificial lures. For something a tad more exotic, try fly fishing if you can. It may be madly productive around here, especially around the shallow waterways. Use lightweight fly rods with a floating line if fly fishing inshore or go for sinking lines when fishing offshore.

It’s no secret that when you head far far out, you’ve got your sights set on something big. Those big fish can be anything from Wahoo to Blue Marlin, Sailfish, Mahi Mahi, or Yellowfin and Blackfin Tuna. That means that trolling is probably the default option, using either dead or live bait. On a typical full day trip, you’d go between 20 and 30 miles offshore. Local captains are mostly fishing veterans and know how to rig the gear to make the game bite. You can try bottom fishing for Grouper out there as well. Find a shrimp boat and scout around for Yellowfin and Blackfin Tuna. Use chum, then see Tuna aggressively jump out of the water. It’s the real deal.

Need to Know

Depending on how long you want to fish, there are some things to put on your to-do list. First, you must have a valid Texas saltwater fishing license. You can purchase it online easily. Bring it with you, or you won’t be able to head out. Then, most charters supply the fishing gear, and you will get the rods, reels, and tackle. Lures are also a standard item, while live bait may or may not be provided. Some captains provide live bait at an extra cost, so you’d want to check that beforehand.

As for the clothes, wear something that makes you feel comfortable but lets you move around. You don’t want to miss out on action. Pack sunblock, a cap/hat, sunglasses, preferably polarized, and put on shoes that won’t leave marks. Hydrate, and make some snacks. If you’ve been dying to try a new fishing gadget, feel free to bring it along.

How much does it cost?

The prices of a half day trip are start somewhere around $350 and go up to $650 if a boat is in a bigger range, meaning above 35’. This is just an illustration of, course, it’s the safest to look around and explore.

If you want to stay out for a full day of fishing inshore, then you’d need to bring anywhere between $400 and $600. Extended trips cost more, but split up between anglers are affordable if you really want to get your hands around that Marlin, Tuna, or Wahoo. Offshore charters range between $1500 and $2000, usually split between a group of up to six people.

Ok, so let’s have a look at what you can try here. South Padre Island fishing charters offer many techniques, depending on your skillset, and local captains like teaching people how to get better.

When to go?

There are solid numbers of Redfish peaking from February to October. Specks’ prime time is August to mid-November, while Flounder are on fire from end-July until late October. You will want to try wade fishing, drift fishing, and mesh it up with some fly fishing moves. But, if you want the game, then extended trips, lasting anywhere from 10 to 14 hours are the packages to book.

South Padre Island
Based on 14228 reviews by FishingBooker anglers

South Padre Island Fishing Seasons

Head to Baffin Bay to target Specks. They can get super big and super tasty. Slow down your presentation as Trout save energy in winter. This is a great time to target Snook in deep channels.

If you go towards the Upper Laguna Madre, you can hope to catch Black Drum. They will go for dead shrimp and cracked crabs, although cut bait may also work. Trout and Snook are still around, too.

Reds are biting well, with Trout and Flounder also kicking in. Farther out, the first few Kingfish start to show up, and you might even see Tarpon roll into Brazos Santiago Pass.

You can get Reds out on the grass flats, as well as Specks where shallow waters meet deeper spots. Black Drum is a common sight. Nearshore waters are heating up, with Red Snapper taking baits on the reefs.

Things pick up across the board in May. Kingfish, Cobia, and Snapper are biting nearshore. Wahoo, Tuna, Mahi Mahi, and Billfish show up around the rigs. And of course, Reds and Specks hunt in the shallows.

June is one of the best fishing months in South Padre Island. Federal waters open for Red Snapper. Sailfish, Tuna, and Wahoo are biting offshore. As if that's not enough, Tarpon, Trout, and Snook fishing is on fire.

You can reach offshore spots and troll for Wahoo, Tuna, and Mahi Mahi. Red Snapper should still be open in federal waters. Inshore, Tarpon and Snook hit their peak. Fly fishing anyone?

Offshore, you can get Amberjack, Yellowfin Tuna, Wahoo, and Mahis. If you’re here for your summer break, a family trip around the bays should yield Reds, Specks, Flounder, and more.

Flounder time! The fish will hide around grass beds and near passes. There are also Tarpon, Snook, Redfish, and Trout about. If the weather allows it, Snapper in state waters are a big thing.

A lot to catch. Reds, Specks, Snook hide around jetties, waiting to crush your bait. Flounder are here to make things even more interesting. Offshore, Blackfin and Yellowfin Tuna await.

The water is starting to cool down but the fishing stays hot. Find a bay fishing guide to take you after Redfish and Snook. If you’re heading far out, you may come across Tuna, Wahoo, and even Sailfish.

Cold fronts might mess up your plans every now and then, but generally fishing is good. The inshore bite is best, with Red Drum, Trout, Snook, Flounder, and more.

South Padre Island Fishing Calendar

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What People Are Saying About South Padre Island

"Afternoon Half Day"

Travis W. fished with South Padre Island Fishing Charters on July 31, 2019

Temper your expectations and expect to fish not catch. Casting is difficult if you’re not accustomed to bay-fishing, and lots of species are super crafty about surgically removing live shrimp from your hook.

"Half day trip (a.m.) with Captain Riojas."

Steven C. fished with Rio Fishing Guide Service - SPI on July 29, 2019

Have fun fishing but take time to enjoy the surroundings. What a beautiful place and friendly people.

"Great trip!"

Rick J. A. fished with Captain Elliott Charters on July 24, 2019

Caught some nice trout and reds. Definitely worth the time!

"Half day trip with Capt. Dunkin"

Mark O. fished with Dunkin Guide Systems on July 23, 2019

Be flexible with what you want to catch. Wind and tides may rewrite your plan for the day.

What would you recommend to anglers fishing in South Padre Island, Texas for the first time?

Top Fishing Techniques in South Padre Island

  1. Deep Sea Fishing

Top Targeted Species in South Padre Island





Black Drum

Black Drum



Speckled Trout

Speckled Trout

Snapper (Mangrove)

Snapper (Mangrove)

Jack Crevalle

Jack Crevalle

King Mackerel (Kingfish)

King Mackerel (Kingfish)

Nearby Fishing Destinations