Top 10 Fish in Texas

Updated on November 24, 2021

These fish have gained an elevated level of popularity in Texas and have become part of the fishing culture. They are the perfect representation of the state with their large size and unique but beautiful appearance. Over time with their popularity, these fish have become integrated into the tradition and history of fishing in Texas.

Texas Redfish

Texas Fishing Icons

Redfish

It doesn’t get more Texan than the saltwater state fish of Texas. Redfish have a special place in the heart of every inshore angler in the state with their beautiful coloration and wonderful food qualities. They are the perfect representation of the state: big, gorgeous, and full of flavor. If you want to experience Texas with a rod and reel, take a trip to the Texas coast and target redfish in any of the bountiful inshore waters

Largemouth bass

Freshwater lakes, streams, and rivers across Texas are dominated by huge largemouth bass. This fish has become a titan of Texas fishing culture with its aggressive personality and wide distribution across the abundant bodies of water. Largemouth bass crush lures from top to bottom nearly year-round with a slow bite only happening in the scorching heat of late summer.

Flounder

Gigging flounder has become controversial but it’s steeped in Texas tradition. It was started by Native Americans that lived on the Texas coast in the 15th century where they used torches and sharpened cane stalks to spear flounder. This method of catching flounder has been in use by anglers in the state ever since but the equipment has advanced significantly. Using a rod and reel is a great way to catch flounder and allows you to find them in deeper water. Regardless of how you choose to catch flounder, these fish are delicious which is probably the reason they have become so popular.

Texas Giants

Striped bass

This highly popular freshwater gamefish is a favorite among Texas anglers and brings saltwater action to the inland waters. Striped bass are both large and strong which makes for some crazy fights. The Texas state record for striped bass currently stands at 53 pounds which is a true giant, especially for freshwater. These fish will crush bait on the surface and in the depths making the fishing some of the most diverse.

Lake Texoma on the Texas, Oklahoma line is one of the only self-sustaining populations of striped bass and produces some exceptional fish. These fish have mild white meat that is perfect for almost any meal and are becoming more popular as table fare every year.

Alligator Gar

The alligator gar is the river monster of Texas. As the largest of the seven gar species in North America, they grow to over 289 pounds and look like something from a horror movie. Their long mouth and large teeth make their appearance even more intimidating.

The alligator gar can live up to 50 years which is incredibly long for a fish. However, this fish has been on earth for over 100 million years and is well adapted to survive in almost any environment. Their large size, fierce appearance, and durable nature make them sought-after trophy fish that anglers across the state head out to catch with rod and reel or sometimes arrows.

Yellowfin tuna

Oil has been a big part of Texas for a long time and now it's even part of the fishing. The large offshore oil platforms are the perfect structure to house the baitfish that yellowfin tuna feed on. At night these platforms are brightly lit causing a feeding frenzy and creating opportunities for anglers to hook into giant tuna.

These giant tasty fish grow to a texas sized 400 pounds and are some of the toughest fighting fish around. Catching a big yellowfin tuna is a challenge that will test the skill and endurance of any angler.

Wahoo (Texas Torpedo)

One of the fastest fish in the sea and nicknamed the “Texas Torpedo”, wahoo are a Texas favorite. These fish grow to over 4 feet long and can hit speeds of up to 60 mph. They also are ferocious eaters and will crush lures and bait while trolling. It's easy to say that a big fish that will crush lures at over 60 mph is a favorite among anglers across the state.

The wahoo may not weigh much with a max weight of only 25 pounds but they fight hard and will keep you on your toes. Their impressive length is what gives them their large stature topping out at just over 4 feet long. Last and certainly not least, their white flaky meat is firm, clean, and makes for a delicious meal.

Texas Fishing Pastimes

Red Snapper

An all-around favorite in Texas, the red snapper is an ideal gamefish. Head out to structure or reefs to drop bait and then wait for a bite. With state waters usually open year-round and the summer federal season offering plenty of opportunities, these fish are always on the menu.

The relaxed fishing style makes them a favorite among anglers both young and old. Red snapper can also grow to large sizes with the state record sitting at just over 38 pounds. They put a strong fight and because they live so deep it can be a struggle to get them on the boat.

Catfish

Maybe the most classic of Texas fishing pastimes is the catfish. Catching catfish is the most popular sit and wait fishing activity around. Setting out chicken liver or stink bait and waiting for a bit has been passed from generation to generation in Texas and with how frequently they show up on the dinner table, it won’t stop anytime soon.

Texas is home to flathead, channel, and blue catfish which reside in almost every lake, pond, and river. The low tackle requirements and relaxing approach make fishing for catfish one of the easiest ways to spend time on the water.

Speckled trout

While there isn’t nearly as much sitting around waiting on a bite from speckled trout, the culture surrounding them is full of comradery. Casting around piers stacked with friends or quietly working flats, these fish have been a long-time target of Texas anglers.

With some of the best trout fishing in the world, the Lower Laguna Madre is the pristine home to the State record speckled trout weighing over 16 pounds. While not everyone is lucky enough to catch a trout over 30 inches, heading to Texas will increase your odds.

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