Freeport, TX Fishing: The Underrated Deep Sea Fishing Haven

Learn about the fishing season in Freeport, TX, and see what you can catch in this deep sea fishing haven.

Freeport, TX Fishing: The Underrated Deep Sea Fishing Haven
Freeport, TX Fishing: The Underrated Deep Sea Fishing Haven
Team Guidesly

August 19, 2021, 7 min read

Updated on August 18, 2021

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Located in the southern portion of Brazoria County, Texas on the Gulf of Mexico is the bustling coastal city of Freeport. While it may not look like a typical vacation spot, Freeport is home to the idyllic Bryan Beach, as well as museums, a golf course, and many other breathtaking attractions.

Freeport was founded as a European-American settlement in 1912 by the Freeport Sulphur Company and started out with a humble population of just 300. This population grew more and more over the next few decades, especially with the establishment of the Dow Chemical Company in 1939, which was responsible for much of the city’s economic growth at the time. It went on to become the city’s biggest employer. Freeport’s growth continued over the next few decades, most notably in 1957, when it merged with the neighboring town of Velasco, and again in 2003, when it annexed Bryan Beach, a dreamy natural beach stretching for about 3 miles.

The city is part of the industrial complex of Brazosport and is home to Port Freeport, a major deep-water seaport that handles more than 50,000 vehicles each year. A hotspot for both commercial and recreational fishing, Freeport is known as the best spot for deep sea fishing on the Texas Gulf Coast. It has some of the largest fish on the Gulf of Mexico swimming in its waters. 

Freeport Fishing

Freeport’s industrial facade and reputation can easily fool anglers and tourists that don’t know any better, allowing the city to remain under the radar as both a vacation destination and a recreational fishing haven.

Part of what makes the city such an ideal deep sea fishing location is its access and proximity to deep waters. The Freeport Coastline allows you to get to deeper waters offshore in short boat rides, allowing you more time to catch fish. Freeport is also open for other types of fishing, such as surf fishing, kayak fishing, inshore fishing, and the Texas tradition of flounder gigging. Its fishing locations include the mouth of the Brazos River, Mitchell’s Pier, Bryan Beach, Freeport Municipal Park, and Surfside Jetty County Park.

At Bryan Beach, you can fish from a kayak or go surf fishing from the sandy shoreline. The most popular catches in these shallow waters include redfish, black drum, sheepshead, and speckled trout. Another shallow water fishing destination is Brazos River, where you can fish from the banks or from kayaks for channel catfish, largemouth bass, white bass, and freshwater drum. Your best chances for catching largemouth and spotted bass are from June to August, when turbidity is at a low due to lack of rainfall. Largemouth bass tend to prefer baits such as shad, gizzard, crayfish, mice, small frogs, or any artificial lures that can mimic these. Speckled trout are popular among both beginner anglers and more experienced ones. They prefer artificial lures such as topwater plugs, plastic shrimp, jerk baits, and spoons. They also respond well to trolling.

The back lakes and Bays of Freeport are great locations for an inshore fishing trip, and offer opportunities to catch speckled trout, flounder, redfish, sheepshead, and drum. Flounder are another popular fish in Freeport and they open up flounder gigging opportunities from late summer to early fall.

Anglers looking to go on deep sea fishing adventures in Freeport won’t be disappointed. A good spot to start with is the Freeport Liberty Ship Reef, the nearshore site of the eponymous vessel’s shipwreck. It rests at a depth of about 100 feet and is a great spot for catching cobia, amberjack, red snapper, Atlantic spadefish, tarpon, and sharks. Cobia can often be spotted by sight fishing, when the fish is just below or on the surface of the water. It is best caught with crankbaits, topwater plugs, imitation eels, and bucktail jigs. Greater amberjack require heavy rods and reels, with lines testing 50 pounds or more, with baitcasting rigs, plugs, spoons, or jigs. They aren’t picky eaters and will gravitate towards most live or fresh baitfish.

Many of these deep sea fish prefer live or fresh fish bait. Red snapper are a coveted game fish that are common to the Gulf of Mexico. They prefer cigar minnows, squid, octopus, and shrimp; but if you’re looking to catch a bigger one, you’ll have better luck using pigfish or pinfish. If the snapper is near the surface, you can also try catching them by fly fishing with a 11-13-weight fly line. In January 2021, angler Megan Keith caught a record red snapper weighing 16 pounds and 12 ounces (7.60 kg) just out of Freeport while bottom fishing. Caught using squid, the catch qualified her for the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) Women’s 10-kg Line Class Record for red snapper.

Unique from the rest of Freeport’s game fish, Atlantic spadefish have an affinity for clams. Place them on a small circle hook and you’re practically guaranteed to have a spadefish swim towards you. Another bait fish they love are ball jellyfish, a type of jellyfish whose sting doesn’t affect humans. Tarpon are carnivorous eaters known for swallowing their food in one gulp. Though they grow to weigh up to 280 pounds, they don’t require heavy tackle. Using a non-corrosive 5000 to 7000 size spinning reel in conjunction with a medium weight rod should suffice.

Further offshore, at the edge of the continental shelf and beyond, you can find mahi-mahi, blue marlin, swordfish, kingfish, sailfish, and bluefin and yellowfin tuna. Mahi-mahi are fond of dwelling on or near the surface, and can often be found under floating objects and debris. Adult mahi-mahi often feed on bony fish. Similar to other large game fish, bluefin and yellowfin tuna prefer natural bait such as herring, squid, mullet, whiting, and mackerel. Where there’s yellowfin tuna, you’re likely to find blue marlin too, as adults feed on yellowfin and bigeye tuna. Blue marlin are one of the most sought after game fish species in offshore waters and are common to the Gulf of Mexico all year long. However, only anglers with industrial grade equipment should attempt to catch an adult blue marlin - they are very heavy and strong and are likely to break equipment. Apart from yellowfin tuna, adult blue marlin also eat bullet and skipjack tuna, and Atlantic mackerel.

Being a fantastic fishing location, Freeport is part of and hosts many fishing tournaments each year. Among these are the Annual Take-A-Child Fishing Tournament in May, Fishin’ Fiesta in July, and the Texas Billfish Classic Tournament in August. There’s even a tournament specifically for women anglers called the Broads With Rods Tournament.


Top 10 Fish Species in Freeport, TX

The top fish species in Freeport, TX are largemouth bass, spotted bass, speckled trout, redfish, red snapper, cobia, amberjack, tarpon, channel catfish, and flounder.

Seasonal Fishing in Freeport

Thanks to the subtropical climate and mild winters of Texas, there’s great fishing at Freeport all year round. Many game fish are perennial too, though some are easier to catch in certain seasons. Perennial game fish include offshore favorites yellowfin tuna and blue marlin.

Red snapper season is one of the most highly anticipated fishing seasons among Freeport anglers and begins on the first day of June and runs until mid-July or early August. In late August, flounder fishing begins to pick up, prompting the commencement of the Texan tradition of flounder gigging, which runs until November. Flounder gigging takes place at night, right after sunset. It makes use of powerful lights to illuminate the bottoms, where flounder are hunting for mullet, shrimp, and other small fish and crustaceans.


Other Things To Do at Freeport

Whether on land or on water, there’s plenty of fun to be had at Freeport. The city is home to many cultural and recreational attractions.


1.Book a Fishing Charter

Sailing offshore is not something anglers should take lightly, especially if they’re new to the area. Book a fishing charter and have a guide who’s well-versed in navigating Freeport’s waters take you through the best places to find the fish you’re looking to catch.

2. Go on a Nature Trip to the Freeport Wetlands

Take an afternoon to go for a walk at the Freeport Wetlands Trail and Bird Observatory, a 1.8km loop trail with a serene lake and lush greenery as far as the eye can see. Dog owners are welcome to bring their beloved canine companions, so long as they’re on a leash.

3. Dive into Freeport’s Renowned Offshore Waters

Freeport’s easy access to deep waters makes it an ideal spot not just for anglers, but for divers, too. For instance, at the Freeport Liberty Shipwreck, you can find exquisite species of fish, including blennies, butterflyfish, damselfish, and sharks.

Fish in Freeport and beyond.