Rockport is arguably located in some of the best saltwater fishing found in Texas. Everyone has their favorite fishing holes around the state but Aransas Bay and the waters immediately off the coastline offer incredible inshore fishing for speckled trout and redfish. You can find a diverse number of opportunities as well. Fish the surf, cast from a kayak or hop on a shallow draft boat to run around flooded grass flats in less than a foot of water. Alternatively, you can grab a ride on a bigger offshore vessel to chase dorado, marlin and big game.
Having Aransas Bay in the backyard is a blessing. The bay is chock full of habitat with some big redfish and trout running around. Anglers catch both species successfully with conventional tackle and fly-fishing gear. The bay has a ton of shoreline access near Rockport, but boating can really help you navigate the backwaters and channels around here.
Other Great Bays
Aransas is the better-known bays and it remains a great and productive fishery. There are however many other smaller bays that have excellent fishing. The next largest is Redfish Bay and like Aransas, it’s a large estuary with great speckled trout and redfish habitat. Additionally, you can work the waters of Copano, Mesquite, Carlos and St. Charles bays without straying from Rockport.
Shore Fishing San Jose Island
The Island is surrounded by three distinct bays and it has some great fishing for shore anglers. Aransas, Matagorda and Carlos Bays are all accessible via land here. While much of the island is private land, you can walk the beaches, staying below the high-water mark to legally fish off any shoreline. A good portion of the shoreline is shallow water with great redfish habitat. Speckled trout tend to hang on the periphery and are accessible with a long cast or a kayak or paddleboard to reach the edges of the flats.
Sheepshead and big black drum are also present on the flats. If you are really lucky, a croup of tarpon or Jack Crevalle will cross your path and put up a serious fight.
The Mustang Island Jetty
Located adjacent to San Jose Island, you can take a drive from Rockport or a ferry San Jose Island to reach Mustang Island. Two fish pass jetties exist on either side of the island. They have filled with sediment and only flow heavily during a storm but the structures still offer great access and fishing.
The jetties are ideal for shore fishing because they offer access to deeper waters. You can find black drum and flounder right off the shore. Redfish and some larger speckled trout also use the jetty habitat. Mustang Island State Park has access to the southern Jetty and you must pay a small fee to enter the park. You can bypass the park on side roads but you lose access to the park facilities and the drive is far more difficult.
The deep water calls for weighted lures and baits to get down where the fish live. To reach the deeper waters, a boat is often required but fishing from a jetty means shore anglers can work the deep areas and catch fish off the rocks.
South Padre Island
The Padre Island seashore is another must visit area for fisherman. It has a great mixture of surf fishing, boat access and commercial operators for offshore and inshore trips. Shore fisherman with a quality four wheel drive vehicle can drive to more remote beaches. Bring a shovel and sand tracks just in case because the sand can trap even the best vehicles around.
North of the jetties, an artificial reef is under construction. This will attract a greater variety of species and you might catch red snapper, flounder and drum in and around the reef. South Padre is also well known for the large sea trout and redfish hunting for food in the grass flats.
Numerous commercial guides operate in the region and the offshore fishing can really be spectacular here. Tarpon migrate around the island; sailfish are present in the open ocean environment and even blue marlin are caught here.
You can take an offshore charter right out of Rockport or off Padre Island depending on your preference. Both areas have great charter captains running far out into the bluewater environments. These trips are fuel and equipment intensive and they often cost more than the inshore trips. Some of the boats however are extremely comfortable and traveling to bluewater is an experience you will not soon forget.