Port Aransas, Texas is the fishing superstar of the Lone Star State. Keep reading to learn all about the fishing capital of Texas, a beautiful city full of beaches, tournaments, fun family activities, and of course, probably the reason you're here- fish! Once you read about the fishing in Port Aransas, don't hesitate and look below and book your charter with Captain Experiences!
Located on the Texas coast, Port Aransas is a small city on Mustang Island. It’s home to beaches, dolphin watching, and boardwalks. Port Aransas is also known for being on the Gulf of Mexico and having their waterways absolutely brimming with fish, which is great news for anglers.
Port Aransas is surrounded by Corpus Christi Bay and Lydia Ann Ship Channel. This makes Port Aransas an easily accessible fishing location that all anglers will want to head to. The 7th largest estuary also borders Port Aransas- Galveston Bay. This provides access to waters with huge numbers of king mackerel, mahi mahi, grouper, and red snapper.
Another great aspect of Port Aransas is that no matter which direction you head, there is great fishing. You can go west to Corpus Christi Bay, east to Aransas Bay, or north to Redfish Bay. All of these spots will secure you a great day of inshore fishing.
If you’re looking for a nearshore or offshore trip you can head out of Mustang Island with one of our charters!
Redfish: The redfish is known as Texas’s official saltwater fish. Port Aransas even has a bay named after this tough fighting fish, the Redfish Bay. Of course, you can head straight to Redfish Bay for your limit of redfish, but don’t forget about Corpus Christi Bay or Aransas Bay.
Redfish can be found nearshore, inshore, in flats, and in the backcountry. Their weight can range from 10-45 pounds and their length from 30-61 inches. Recreational anglers can fish this species year-round, and they tend to love shrimp or mullet.
Speckled Sea Trout: Speckled sea trout are another species that never is always in season! They can be found nearshore, inshore, and in covered rivers. The best bait to use is perch and shrimp. Speckled sea trout weigh around 1-6 pounds and are 20-55 inches long on average.
King Mackerel: King mackerel, or kingfish, can be found in reefs, wrecks, nearshore, and offshore. Kingfish have are in peak season from May to September and you will have the best chance to catch yourself a one using shrimp as your bait.
Cobia: Cobia are the most active in April, May, September, and October. They range from 10-80 pounds and 24-79 inches long. They are typically caught using perch, shrimp, and ribbonfish as bait.
Sailfish: The best bait to catch sailfish with are mullet and ballyhoo. Sailfish are typically found in Texas offshore waters from July to September.
Red Snapper: Red snapper is one of the Gulf’s most well-known fish. An average red snapper ranges from 5-20 pounds and 19-39 inches in length. Peak red snapper season runs from April to October in state waters. Though, if you’re looking for a bigger snapper, try heading offshore into federal waters during the summer.
The species of fish that can be found in Port Aransas does not end here! There are jack crevalle, black drum, sheepshead, and tarpon to be found, if you head inshore. You can hit mackerel, cobia, grouper, and amberjack nearshore. Finally, if you’re considering offshore fishing, get ready for some tuna and mahi mahi!
Pier fishing is an easily accessible way to fish, especially in Port Aransas, with piers extending hundreds of feet into the waters. What's great about pier fishing is that it gives structure for fish to feed off of, so they're naturally drawn right to you. The piers in Port Aransas continue to be an excellent feeding ground for fish inshore, even after surviving Hurricane Harvey.
One of the major benefits of fishing from a kayak, is your ability to navigate to shallower waters, that you might not otherwise be able to get to. However, take care when you're fighting that redfish to the kayak, otherwise you might also take a swim.
We promise we aren’t biased, but charter fishing really is the top tier, and will definitely get you a great fishing trip! Book your fishing charter with Captain Experiences here, for an awesome trip and amazing memories!!
Horace Caldwell Pier: This pier is the longest in Port Aransas, and is only a couple of minutes from downtown. The Horace Caldwell Pier can get anglers some of the biggest nearshore fish because of how far it reaches into the Gulf.
Fish Pass Jetty: The Fish Pass Jetty is an excellent spot for surf fishing in Port Aransas. It’s located further south of Mustang Island and spans a national park. You can fish on the bays here throughout the year, but if you’re looking for some great nearshore fishing, go for the Fish Pass Jetty in the summertime.
Aransas Causeway: Another great area to fish, the channel that can be reached from the Aransas Causeway. This land formation separates Aransas Pass from Port Aransas. There are many ramps on the Aransas Causeway to launch your kayak!
South Jetty: When you fish out of the South Jetty, you can get great access to the nearshore fish because they come closer to the shore. The South Jetty is also great for inshore fishing because they enjoy the calm waters.
The Port Aransas Oil Rigs: If you head offshore from Port Aransas, you’ll reach one of the most widely known landmarks of the Gulf of Mexico: oil rigs. Oil rigs tend to attract bigger fish like red snapper.
If you’re thinking about planning a trip to this iconic fishing headquarters, you will need to know when is the best time to go.
Well, with Port Aransas there is no “best time”, it really is just excellent fishing year-round. Since Port Aransas is home to such a wide variety of fish, and with so many things to do, you’re going to have a great trip any time of year!
Fish like redfish or specks can be fished throughout the whole year, but your best chance for a big bull red is during the summer. Also coming with summertime is tournament and tarpon season.
If you’re more interested in offshore fishing and looking to get yourself a giant mahi mahi, tuna, or marlin, look more towards Port Aransas in early fall. Tuna and marlin season continues on even into early winter. In mid-winter, or January and February, head inshore for fish like sheepshead and pompano.
Port Aransas was formerly known as Aranzu, and each summer, nearly 600,000 people flock to this area to fish and take part in a variety of fun and adventurous activities. The story of Port Aransas begins around 5,000 years ago when it was first inhabited by a group of indigenous people known as the Karankawa People. The Karankawa People populated the area of Galveston Bay through to Corpus Christi and were known for living a nomadic lifestyle.
Legend has it that Pirates also used the Port Aransas shores to hide their treasures. There still is plenty of treasure to be found in Port Aransas, however nowadays in the form of great fish!
Port Aransas eventually turned towards commerce in the 19th century and the city began attracting merchants, immigrants, and smugglers.
Port Aransas has also faced its fair share of tragedies. In 1916 a hurricane hit Port Aransas and in 2017, another hurricane, Hurricane Harvey, destroyed most of the Gulf Coast including Port Aransas. However, through it all, it remains one of the greatest fishing and adventure capitals in Texas!
If you’re looking for some healthy competition, participating in a fishing tournament is a great way to demonstrate your fishing skills and compete with fellow anglers! South Texas is a great place to do this, as it is home to some of the oldest fishing tournaments on the Gulf. If you plan a trip in July, you can partake in the Deep Sea Roundup competition, with big-time prizes. If you’re looking into an August trip to Port Aransas, you can compete in the Legends Billfish Tournament or the Women Anglers’ Tournament.
Of course, you can't leave out the annual Texas Sandfest. The Texas Sandfest brings the best and most intricate sand sculptures to the shores, and has brought over 100,000 people to Port Aransas for this event alone!
Kayaking, Surfing, or Parasailing: In Port Aransas, kayaking is a very popular activity on Mustang Island Paddling Trail and The Lighthouse Lakes Paddling Trail near Aransas Pass. If you’re ready to fly high and look out over the oceans, those who dare can fly up to 300 feet high over the ocean in a parasail at Lydia Ann Channel or the Gulf of Mexico. And if you want to hit the waves with your surfboard, try the mangrove estuaries, salt marshes, and sand flats.
Birdwatching: Fish aren’t the only famous animal in Port Aransas. The Texas Coastal Birding Trail is a nationally acclaimed bird trail and is one of the biggest in the U.S! If you decide to birdwatch, you can see upwards of 450 different species of migratory birds!
Eat What You Catch! Another part of Port Aransas that’s so great is that you can not only catch great fish, but eat the very same ones you catch! If you head to any of the local restaurants, they’ll cook your fish how you like, in the compounds of a restaurant! So sit back, relax, and eat your hard-earned catch!
Mustang Island: If you move east of Corpus Christi, you’ll find yourself a beautiful little barrier island called Mustang Island. Travelers that hang around Mustang Island can enjoy camping and surfing, making it a great spot for a family trip!
Crystal Beach: At this point you know that Port Aransas is great for fishing and birdwatching! So, if you’re interested in both, Crystal Beach is the place for you! It’s secluded, and is a wonderful place if you’re looking for that cozy outdoors feeling with campfires and a vast view of the stars.
Lighthouse Beach: Lighthouse Beach has a shoreline that is wonderful for anyone interested in seeing birds, or who loves nature, since the shoreline is actually a bird sanctuary. This beach also has splash pads, which makes for a great place to take the kids!
Rockport Beach: If you want a beautiful view that overlooks Aransas Bay, head to Rockport Beach, home of Sandfest, which is Port Aransas’ annual sandcastle building competition. Rockport Beach is great whether you’re a family ready to check out sandcastles, an athlete looking for a fun volleyball game, or a tired angler looking to sit back and tan in the sun after a long day of fishing!
Troy Lancaster, a Port Aransas local, caught a record-breaking tuna 160 miles from Port Aransas Bay this past April. Lancaster was with some friends fishing for marlin when he hooked the monster bluefin tuna.
Lancaster’s record-breaking tuna catch weighed 876 pounds and was measured as 121 inches long.
Lancaster and his buddies set out at around 9:30 am, and after reeling in this giant fish, landing it, and bringing in the boat, they finished their day around 6:30 pm.
Previous stats from The Texas Parks and Wildlife records state the largest Texas bluefin tuna as 808 pounds and 103 inches, caught in 1985. Lancaster’s catch succeeded this and was officially recorded as a new Texas record!
If you’re ready now for some Port Aransas fishing and want to be certain you'll be able to fare the waves, you can use this website to check in with the tides for the day you go out!
One more vital piece of information for your Port Aransas trip is knowing your fishing licensing laws.
If you’re an angler 17 years or older you are required to get a fishing license, whether you’re fishing from a boat or from the beach. If you fish from a pier or dry land, you may not be required to obtain a license. To learn more about getting a fishing license in texas, please watch this video.
It’s also important to know that if you want to bring home the delicious fish you catch (which you definitely should), you need to buy a $10 endorsement so you can take the fish you caught within state limitations. This also includes taking one bull red that’s longer than 28 inches, which is called a Red Drum Tag.