The best all-around fishing spot in Texas and a top contender nationwide, Port Aransas has quality fishing everywhere you look. The deep sea fishing is top-notch thanks to an array of offshore structure that’s only a short distance from the dock. With huge pelagic species out in the bluewater and tasty reef fish a little closer in, this is a fishing destination that doesn’t get enough recognition.
Early on when Port Aransas was getting established it was home to pirates, cannibals, and wild horses. Over the years the city has served many different roles with buildings like a military fort and a lighthouse, but a storm in 1919 destroyed most of the city leaving only a few structures still standing. The city served various roles throughout its development and the names changed just as much previously being called Mustang Island, Ropesville, Tarpon, and finally Port Aransas.
For a town previously named Tarpon, it’s easy to assume there is plenty of amazing fish habitat, and that would be correct. Once you leave shore there are plenty of underwater structures with rock piles, platforms, and ledges all well within striking distance from the docks. The famous continental shelf is closer to Port Aransas than most other areas and opens up opportunities for bluewater giants. The offshore platforms offer a unique fishing experience because they are brightly lit at night it attracts a ton of baitfish which means sport fish frequently hunt there as well.
Port Aransas is famous for red snapper fishing near any deep structure in state or federal waters. The federal season usually happens in the summer but in state waters, the season usually lasts most of the year. Other species of snapper along with grouper, amberjack, and cobia can frequently be found in the same areas, and make no mistake these fish pack a punch. With just as much fight as many of the larger pelagic species taking a trip to the reef will be an angler's dream.
Easily one of the top species out of Port Aransas is the yellowfin tuna. They can grow up to 400 pounds, fight for hours, and their meat is perfect for almost any recipe. Fishing the offshore platforms at night when the baitfish ball up is a great approach for anglers who want to fish all night but trolling is also effective and opens up opportunities for other fish. Some of the other popular open water pelagic species are marlin, wahoo, kingfish, and mahi mahi and all of them are top-notch sportfish. If you love trolling open water looking for big fish, Port Aransas is one of the best spots to take a trip.
There is a staggering number of offshore oil platforms or “floaters” as they are sometimes called, just off the coast of Port Aransas. Fortunately, they are home to many other popular species including red snapper, grouper, and giant yellowfin. Night fishing the floaters for monster yellowfin has become more popular every year and is the perfect opportunity to hook into a school of giant tuna.
The fishing in Port Aransas has peak seasons but many of them run so long and overlap with other species creating a fishery with almost no slow season. For snapper, the best time is during the federal season in the summer but they can also be caught throughout the year in state water while the season is still open. Kingfish and wahoo are two fish with a truly year-round bite while tuna, sailfish, and marlin are best from summer into fall. Mahi mahi and cobia have their prime season during the summer when the warmer water brings on the bite.
The offshore fishing is incredible but the inshore and nearshore fishing in Port Aransas is second to none with incredible inshore flats and jetties or nearshore oil rigs and reefs.
The inlets, jetties, flats, and bays give anglers a long list of ideal spots to target popular inshore gamefish. Redfish and sea trout can be found on the flats or at the jetties depending on the season. The redfish here are top-notch with giant bull reds coming into the shallows throughout the fall to spawn. Flounder are easy to spot during the fall in the shallow backwaters or can be caught in the bays. Tarpon can be found in the flats or nearshore waters and are the ultimate challenge for aspiring fly fishermen.
Kingfish are a year-round trophy in Port A for nearshore trips. The cobia, snapper, and amberjack fishing is also world-class but is much more seasonal. No matter the time of year you will find one of these species held up in the reefs or oil rigs that are just offshore from the docks and jetties in the marina.
While Port Aransas has some of the best fishing in the state, it is also a popular tourist destination and host to a long list of things to do both on and off the water. From dolphin cruises to beautiful beaches, and historic sightseeing, there is bound to be something for everyone in your group.
The relaxing beaches are the perfect spot to take a day to unwind and if that's not enough there is plenty of shopping to do as well. If exploring the complex history of Port Aransas is more your speed then go see the lighthouse, check out the museums, or go see the secret battery 155 coastal gun battery.
There is also plenty of food and beverage options available with great restaurants and bars scattered throughout the city. Amazing seafood and dining options will have you feeling fueled up and ready for another round on the water. If you want to cut loose check out any of the bars that have a vibrant vacation atmosphere and are perfect for unwinding after a long day on the water. Whatever your reason for visiting Port Aransas be sure to take advantage of the world-class fishing and don't miss out on all of the adventures that await back onshore.