Fishing on South Padre Island

South Padre Island is home to year-round fishing. The warm waters of Laguna Madre and the Gulf of Mexico make the ideal environment for a range of fish. South Padre Island is home to several major fishing tournaments such as the Ladies Kingfish Tournament and the Texas International Fishing Tournament.

Air & Surf Temperatures (°F)

Fishing Tournaments on South Padre Island


  • Shallow Sport Tournament


  • Dargel Boat Owners Tournament


  • Texas International Fishing Tournament (TIFT)
  • Ladies Kingfish Tournament (LKT)
  • Fishing for Hope


  • SPI Wahoo Classic
  • J.J. Zapata
  • Shallow Stalker Boat
  • Owners Fishing Tournament


  • SPI Fishing Days

Fish on South Padre Island

Speckled Trout – Along the southern coast, they can be found both in the Bay and along the beachfront. They are also common in the passes and rivers, and will take a variety of artificial and natural baits.

Sand Trout – Common throughout the summer months and can be caught along the beachfront, but are most common in the passes and deeper areas of the Bay. The are usually most tempted by live or fresh dead shrimp.

Redfish (Red Drum) – The post popular saltwater game fish in Texas, red drum will be thick on the flats of the Lower Laguna Madre during the summer months. Their penchant for spending most of their time feeding in shallow water make them an enticing target for sight-casting anglers. Reds will take a variety of natural baits, but are most rewarding when taken on light tackle plugs or flies.

Black Drum – The less glamorous cousin of the redfish, black drum are everywhere on the flats during summer and will readily gulp a variety of natural baits – particularly dead ones.

Flounder – Flatfish can be found along the channels in the Lower Laguna Madre, as well as the passes leading out of it during the summer months. Best bets for flounder are bottom-hopped finger mullet, shrimp and sof-plastic jigs.

Snook – The most uniquely “South Texas” species – both common and fat – are readily available both near the Jetties and along the beachfront during summer. There are also a good number of linesiders in the Bay until October. Snook can be caught on live shrimp, finger mullet, top water and slow-sinking plugs, and a variety of soft-plastics.

Spadefish – Generally an offshore species, they do move inshore and are common along the Jetties and in the Bay along the southernmost Texas coast. Spades are hard fighting and excellent eating, and are most commonly caught on tiny live shrimp and small jigs.

Pompano – Most common in winter, they are available year-round. These tasty panfish are spirited fighters on light tackle and will readily eat sand fleas, small shrimp, jigs and tiny spoons.

Bluefish – Although popular on the East Coast, bluefish are usually overlooked on the texas coast. In early summer, good numbers of blues can be found along the South Texas surf. They will greedily hit a variety of plugs and jigs.

Barracuda – Found strictly offshore in most areas of the Texas coast, they will frequent the Jetties and the flats adjacent to the passes in the Texas border region. Most are small, averaging about 16 inches, but they are great fun on top water plugs, jigs and natural baits.

Ladyfish – Most anglers see them as a nuisances and are great on light tackle and fly fishing equipment. This is true of the exceptionally large (25 to 27-inch) specimens which are found on the South Texas flats and beachfront waters. These fish will hit any fast moving jig, plug or fly.

Tarpon – Deep South Texas represents the best opportunity for most anglers to catch a silver king. Why? Because South Texas has a large concentration of tarpon within reach of anglers fishing from the shore or jetties. Tarpon of all sizes inhabit the waters of the surf and passes in South Texas, and will eat a variety of natural baits, including crabs, finger mullet, jumbo shrimp and artificial lures.

Tripletail – Common during the summer and can be seen floating near buoys, crab traps and pilings. The best bait for tripletail is live shrimp.

Jack Crevalle – Most anglers don’t have the patience to battle with a Jack to the end, but if you’re up for the challenge, they are thick in the summer surf and will pounce on plugs, jigs and spoons.

Lookdown – These are spirited fighters and voracious feeders. They can easily be taken around any structure with a variety of small lures and natural baits.

King Mackerel (Kingfish) – Generally thought as offshore species, Kingfish roam the beachfront and passes of South Texas throughout the summer. Through September, Kingfish can easily be caught by jetty fishermen and small boat anglers with a variety of artificial and natural baits.

Spanish Mackerel – Can be found in the surf and in the Bay during summer and are most easily caught on spoons and small jigs.

Bonito – Seen as an offshore target, bonito come close to the shore near the Mexican border and are easily chased by small boat anglers and even occassionally come within reach of jetty fishermen. They commonly hit fast moving jigs, spoons and flies.

Mangrove Snapper – Hard-fighting and well-toothed cousin of the Red Snapper, mangroves are common around pretty much any structure. These much sought-after snapper will readily munch on shrimp, mullet and jigs.

Gag Grouper – Can be found around the Jetties year-round. They can be taken on small jigs, but are most consistent on shrimp and small baitfish.

Goliath Grouper – Formerly known as jewfish, they still inhabit the Jetties lining the Brazos Santiago Pass. Though most of these fish are juveniles, they are still formidable on light tackle and are usually taken on various small baitfish.

Rock Hind – These smallish, speckled grouper are common around the Jetties and can be taken on jigs and natural baits.

Sheepshead – Usually fond around the Jetties or bridge pilings in the Bay. They are most commonly tempted with small shrimp or crabs.

Triggerfish – An offshore target, triggerfish are a common sight around the Island Jetties during late summer. Their tiny mouths require small jigs or shrimp pinned to small hooks.

Gaff-Topsails Catfish – Appear in the Lower Laguna Madre and the easiest way to find them is to look for muddy water in an otherwise clear Bay.

Whiting – Found year-round in the surf and passes and are easily caught on shrimp, squid and other dead baits.

Ling – Although they don’t make their way into the Bay, Ling will move into the pass from time to time and are common around the shore buoys (less an a mile from shore).

Atlantic Sharp-Nose Shark – The most common shark on this end of the coast, these are small enough to be manageable on light tackle, but still offers a spirited fight. They can be taken along the surf with a variety of dead baits.

Black-Tip Shark – Larger than the Atlantic Sharp nost, they can be found along the beachfront alongside sharpies and will take a variety of dead baits.

Bonnet Head Shark – Diminutive version of a hammerhead is virtually an ideal light-tackle species. It is fairly common along the beaches and passes of South Texas, rarely exceeds a few feet long and will readily slurp a variety of natural baits fished on or near the bottom.

Additional Species Found on the Island

Bull Shark, Hammerhead Shark, Spinner Shark, Cutlass Fish, Croaker, African Pompano, Palometa, Dorado, Blue Runner, Horse-Eye Jack, Amberjack, Rainbow Runner, Wahoo, Cero Mackerel, Cubera Snapper, Red Snapper, Black Grouper, Blackfin Tuna, Almaco Jack.