South Padre Island is not your average Texas coast fishing spot. The island is roughly in line with Miami and looks as much like the Keys as the upper coast. South Padre’s fishing is also surprising, with species you can’t catch anywhere else in the state. Throw in nearshore reefs, sprawling shallows, and easy access to deep water, and you get some serious angling potential.
In this article, we break down everything that makes SPI special. Learn about the area’s top species and fishing spots. Pick up tips on the various ways to work these waters. You can also get info on tournaments and regulations. In short, this is your complete guide to South Padre island fishing.
South Padre Island Fish Species
There are dozens of fish to catch in this part of Texas. Most of them taste great and pretty much all of them put up a good fight. However, there are a few local favorites that deserve a specific mention. These are the “must catch” fish while you’re in town.
Redfish and Speckled Trout
These guys are the dynamic duo of the South Padre Bay fishing scene. The staple catches in the island’s shallows. Redfish and Speckled Trout grow fat and happy in the sheltered seagrasses of the Laguna Madre. Small fish make for a tasty meal. Big ones will give you the fight of your life on medium-light spinning or fly gear.
You can catch Seatrout and Redfish year-round in South Padre. The biggest “Bull Reds” show up in summer and early fall, but young “Puppy Drum” are around in force all year. It’s a similar story with Trout. The large “Gators” hit the shallows in spring, but smaller fish are a constant catch. Throw in the huge Flounder that also live here, and you get a Texas Slam.
Snook and Tarpon
Wait, you can catch Snook in Texas? If you’re in South Padre, you sure can! Snook spend the whole year here. In the warmer months, they usually hunt on the flats and around jetties. When the weather turns cold, they head to deeper passes and channels. Wherever they are, they’re a real favorite among South Texas anglers.
Snook aren’t the only warm-water fish that show up around SPI. Tarpon spend most of the year here. They roll into Brazos Santiago Pass as early as March, and stick around into October. In late summer and early fall, they also move along the beaches and jetties. This is the best time of year to target them.