Discover Fishing in Galveston, TX

Discover Fishing in Galveston, TX
Published: Wednesday, February 10th, 2021
Updated on: Monday, February 22nd, 2021

Located on Galveston Island and Pelican Island, Galveston, Texas is a coastal city located in the southeast portion of Texas. Currently, Galveston is known as the second-largest municipality in the county. It’s also situated within the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Metropolitan, northwest of the Gulf of Mexico. As a coastal city, it’s home to many shipping businesses and also tourists who come visit from the other states in the U.S.

Galveston’s name came from a Spanish military man. The man, Bernardo de Gálvez y Madrid, Count of Gálvez, in 1746-1786 led the fight for independence in Mexico. With the help of the French Pirate - Louis-Michel Aury, Galvez established settlements to help Mexico split away from the Kingdom of Spain. Once it gained its independence in 1825, the citizens then built a port in his honor known as the Port of Galveston. From then on, Galveston also became the temporary capital of Texas and also became home to the still-growing Texas Navy.

Fast forward into the 1900s, Galveston became a major commercial center in the U.S. However, that changed after the Great Galveston Hurricane. Known as the Great Hurricane of the 1900s, the hurricane brought in floods and winds that nearly wiped Galveston town off the map. It was first thought to be a tropical cyclone which eventually turned into a hurricane that tore through the island.

Despite the calamity, Galveston repaired itself and continues to be a coastal city that offers a variety of activities and industries. Home to industries such as shipping, tourism, and healthcare, Galveston flourished beyond what was once just a colony of the Kingdom of Spain.

 

Fishing in Galveston, TX

When we hear the word “Texas”, the first thing we think about is how big their steaks are. However, their fish are no different. And Galveston is home to big fish too! Some of these fish also include three varieties of sharks such as the Tiger Shark, the Bull Shark, and the Blacktip Shark. Best not to fish alone when going through Galveston’s fishing spots. The best way to make the most out of your fishing trip in Galveston is to get an expert. A Galveston fishing charter ought to do the trick especially in finding the fish you’re looking for.

Galveston, Texas is home to so many places where you can test out a variety of fishing techniques. Deep-Sea Fishing is one of them. This is especially true if you’re going for fishes such as Flounders which are usually lying on sandy bottoms and sometimes, even sharks can be found near the bottom. Fly Fishing is perfect for dancing with the Redfish which is also a good fish for novice anglers to try their mettle against. And finally, there’s Flounder Gigging which Galveston Texas is known for.

Anglers can do both inshore and offshore fishing in Galveston. Featured as a home to saltwater species, anglers take their chances in both. Inshore fishing in Galveston, Texas lets you experience fishing in a 150-year old jetty or 32-miles worth of beaches. Some even brag that among all the cities in Texas, Galveston can easily brag being the best place to fish for Redfish, Speckled Trout, and Flounder. Being the best place also made Galveston the home to the 2020 Galveston Bay Grand Slam Tournament where you’ll have to find the biggest Redfish, Speckled Trout, or Flounder you’ve ever seen. But if you’re going for a leisure trip while fishing for these three, the best way to go fishing for them is via kayak fishing.

Kayak fishing is one of Galveston’s inshore fishing activities where you get to experience fishing up close. Although kayaking sounds more like a solo flight, it’s fun too to bring your family along. Having a kayak means going through the water systems of Galveston and looking for fish there. it’s mostly done on the bayside of the island which is where most of the Redfish are. Kayak fishing is also perfect for scouting if you’re a first-timer. Before you start fishing and you’re with your Galveston fishing charter, the best way to start is to begin scouting the local fishing grounds to help you make the most out of your fishing trip. 

For Kayak Fishing, your common opponents will be the Redfish or the Speckled Trout. If you’re fishing inshore though near Galveston Pier, don’t expect them to be too big. The bigger ones are near Pelican Island. But if you’re a newbie, it’s okay to start small. It’s also why they’re considered good practice partners for fly fishing. What some people do to assure that their Redfish are big is that they upsize their lures. They usually bring a 5” - 6” lure with them to weed out the smaller Redfish in the area. 

But if you want to try something specific, Galveston offers an inshore fishing activity known as Flounder Gigging. Because of them being home to Flounders, Galveston is also home to a variety of Flounder-based tournaments. Some of these tournaments include the Galveston Bay Grand Slam which has a category for Flounder. Another is the Fall Flounder Classic which is usually held in November. They also were the host for the Flat Out Flounder Tournament held in November 2014.

Flounders are flatfish known for their soft white meat and they taste good when grilled. The best part is, it’s perfect for the whole family to enjoy. While the activity to catch them sounds intimidating, Flounder Gigging is quite simple especially when you have a fishing charter from Galveston guiding you along. It’s usually a half-day trip so a good 5-6 hours at night. But if you’re a newbie angler, that’s more than enough time to gig for a flounder. The Flounder (or more specifically the Southern Flounder) is probably what you’re going to spend your time gigging for. Southern Flounders have a taste for worms, shrimps, and blue crabs which are easy to procure from the bait and tackle shops nearby. The fishing charters can also direct you to bait spots that’ll make it easier for you to catch Southern Flounders especially since the Southern Flounder also has a thing for small fishes. Some people when catching these Flounders would recommend using live bait and a medium-to-heavy line, though it depends how big a flounder you’re looking at. But some fishing charters will give you the true Texan experience by lending you a spear. Yes, you’ll be impaling Flounders on a spear. Just make sure you have a license to do so as not all fishing charters provide you a license right away. People usually buy them at the Galveston local bait and tackle shops. 

As much as Redfish, Speckled Trouts, and Flounders give a good fight, nothing says adventure more than fishing for sharks. In Galveston, people go there to fish for sharks. Sharks such as the Bull Shark, Tiger Shark, and the Blacktip Shark are often found roaming near offshore oil rigs. What’s there? It’s their food! These sharks feast on pelagic fish which are fish normally found in water columns. When the shrimp come out to play, so do the bigger fish such as a Red Snapper or a Cobia. But once those come out to play, so do the sharks. The sharks are apex predators due to their size, making it easy for them to snap up all sorts of pelagic fish such as the King Mackerel and Bluefish which are also commonly found in Galveston. Once they’re out, expect to have a shark lurking nearby to snap up their meal. Galveston fishing charters that specialize in offshore may sometimes recommend catching King Mackerel and Bluefish instead to serve as your bait and chum.

Catching a shark is bound to raise a few eyebrows especially as a conversation. And in Galveston, you’ll definitely be taught how to catch a Blacktip Shark - the signature shark of Galveston. Some anglers give themselves a handicap on purpose such as fishing from the shore. But if you’re going to do that, anglers recommend bringing some special equipment. Some of that special equipment includes a rod that’s around 13”-15” in length and a 50+ lbs test line. You’re trying to reel in a fish that’s almost your weight so bringing a spinal-support also will help so you don’t throw your back out. Normally, fishing for sharks in Galveston has an age limit as well. Anglers need to be at least 17 and above before going hunting for Blacktip Sharks. And if you’re feeling cocky, you can ask a Galveston fishing charter to take you 30 miles out offshore towards the oil platforms and shrimp boats where the behemoths lie. In Galveston, you’re only allowed to keep 2 sharks and there’s also a length limit to which ones you can keep. Anglers can only keep Blacktip Sharks that are 24 inches and above. Hammerheads are allowed 99” or longer. For Bull, Spinner, Tiger, and Lemon Sharks, people are allowed to keep them if they’re above 64”.  Doing this makes sure that the sharks are not victims of finning and overfishing. Besides, wouldn't it be cooler to keep a shark that’s triple your height? That’d be fun to take a picture with. You can also do the whole capture and release method wherein the sharks are released into the water after you take a picture of them. Lemon Sharks are probably the easiest ones to catch due to their docile nature but again, make sure they’re released back into the wild. Check first if they’re a vulnerable species or not. A shark fishing trip will take around a good 6-8 hours though it depends where exactly you’re fishing.

 

Top 5 Fishing Spots in Galveston, Texas

  • Seawolf Park, Pelican Island
  • Galveston Island State Park
  • Galveston Fishing Pier
  • Galveston’s 61st Street Fishing Pier
  • San Luis Pass

 

The Top 10 Fish Species in Galveston, Texas

The top 10 fish you'll catch in Galveston, Texas are Redfish, Sheepshead, Speckled Trout, King Mackerel (Kingfish), Blacktip Shark, Cobia, Red Snapper, Black Drum, Flounder, and Tiger Sharks.

 

Seasonal Fishing in Galveston, Texas

Depends on what you're aiming for. Some anglers during the spring stay closer to shore since most of the fish prefer warmer waters. In March and April, anglers go to Galveston, Texas to catch their fill of Redfish, Black Drum, and Sheepshead. The summer season which is around May to September gives anglers in Galveston more variety. During the month of May, anglers in Galveston can aim for a Dolphinfish, Amberjack, Spanish Mackerel, and a Black Drum. June brings in the Red Snapper season along with the Cobias and is also one of the best times to go Flounder Gigging at night. July marks the start for Speckled Trout with August bringing in the heat, making more fish head towards the deeper waters. But there's some Kingfish that have not backed down from the heat and Flounders are coming in. September and October are the start of an early Fall with more Bull Redfish and Flounder coming in. November's closed off for the season but Flounder Gigging opens again in December.

Discover Fishing in Galveston, TX Fish species
King Mackerel

Habitat: Onshore, Nearshore, Offshore, Reef, Wreck

Weight: 10 - 20 Pounds

Length: 19" - 72"

Blacktip Shark 

Habitat: Onshore, Nearshore, Continental Shelves, Insular Shelves

Weight: 100 - 150 Pounds

Length: 60" - 108"

Sheepshead 

Habitat: Onshore, Nearshore, Offshore, Reef, Wreck

Weight: 1 - 8 Pounds

Length: 14" - 20"

Cobia

Habitat: Onshore, Nearshore, Offshore, Reef, Wreck

Weight: 10 - 80 Pounds

Length: 24" - 79"

Redfish

Habitat: Onshore, Flats, Backcountry, Nearshore

Weight: 10 - 45 Pounds

Length: 30" - 61"

Scalloped Hammerhead

Habitat: Inshore, Offshore

Weight: 60 - 64 Pounds

Length: 59" - 169"

Bull Shark

Habitat: Warm, Shallow Nearshore, River

Weight: 200 - 500 Pounds

Length: 84" - 142"

Sea Trout 

Habitat: Inshore, Nearshore, Covered River

Weight: 1 - 6 Pounds

Length: 20" - 55"

Galveston, Texas Beaches

Galveston Island State Park

Known to be 2000+ acres big, Galveston Island State Park is not just a fishing spot but also a beach. Galveston Island State Park can give tourists a view of the unique environment in Galveston. Entry inside the beach was last reported to be $5.00 per person. It’s also less crowded than East End and Seawall Beaches. Galveston Island State Park was also known as part of the 5 Best Gulf Coast Beaches.

Stewart Beach

A family-friendly beach, Stewart Beach is home to volleyball courts and children’s playgrounds. Unfortunately, they don’t have a definite schedule so you’ll have to call in and check if they’re open that day. As a family-friendly beach, Stewart Beach also doesn’t allow alcohol within the premises.

East Beach Galveston

East Beach Galveston is the beach where all sorts of events are held. Concerts, festivals - people go to East Beach to have an amazing time! The East Beach is more of an event place where it also has a pavilion, boardwalk, and a stage. And for those who are wondering, yes, alcohol is permitted on this beach unlike the other beaches in Galveston.

 

Things to do in Galveston, Texas

1. Fishing Charters in Galveston

You don’t go to Galveston and forget to fish! Galveston is home to the big game! Getting a Galveston Fishing Charter will help you maximize your time and effort when trying to find those big fish. While you’re there, you can learn a few tricks from the Galveston local charters especially when it comes to Flounder Gigging or Shark Fishing. When in Galveston, make sure you contact a Fishing Charter to bring back a tale how you subdued a mighty shark or something of the sort. You’ll usually find them in places like the Galveston Pier or the Galveston Island State Park.

2. Time Travelling in Historic Strand District

Ever wonder what the Victorian era looked like? The Historic Strand District will definitely give you that experience. Buildings in this district still preserve their Victorian architecture and are home to many shops and dining places. It’s also a good place to take a couple of selfies if you’re going for the Victorian motif. You’ll also be able to watch here the story of the Great Galveston Storm - the calamity that changed Galveston, Texas forever.

3. Live amongst the Animals in the Moody Gardens

The Moody Gardens is a family-friendly place that showcases the unique ecosystem of Galveston. There are several pyramids. The first is the Aqua Pyramid where you get to play with some otters and penguins while observing the sharks and other fish. Another is the Rainforest Pyramid where you can see all the flora and animals in the forest. The Discovery Pyramid is more for physics and the sciences. After that, you can make your way to Palm Beach to watch the sunset to end the day.

Fishing Techniques
Flounder Gigging
Deep Sea Fishing