What’s better than spending the day fishing? Catching more fish than you ever thought possible! However, instead of hopping from spot to spot and hoping to get lucky, you can turn the odds in your favor. It all starts with focusing your efforts on the right type of fish.
To help you out, we’ve put together this fishing guide. Whether you’re fishing from the shore or going out on a boat, here are the best fish in Texas to target this summer.
1. Spanish Mackerel
When you see birds diving in the water, it’s a sign fish are nearby. Big fish, too, like the Spanish mackerel. Spanish mackerels are a type of ray-finned saltwater species commonly referred to as seer fish. They’re a migratory species, and summer is the perfect time to catch them in Texas.
You can find these fish around structures or flats next to open water. For the best results, use medium spinning gear. Since mackerels feed on estuarine species, some of the best live baits include live bait fish and live shrimp. You can also use sardines and still get a lot of bites.
Once you catch a few, you’ll be in for a real treat. They’re one of the best-tasting finfish worldwide and work with all sorts of recipes. You can fry, bake, grill, smoke, or poach mackerel. It makes incredible barbecue, too, if you marinate it a bit. You’ll find Asia and South Pacific cuisines use mackerel a lot.
2. Blackfin Tuna
Catch a blackfin tuna! It’s one of the best fish to catch in Texas this summer because of its size, taste, and tenacity. You could wind up catching a 20-pounder or even bigger! Blackfin tuna are occasionally called deep bodied tunny, bermuda tuna, and black-finned albacore. They’re delicious fish, and they taste especially great when fresh. If you hear Texans talking about tuna nachos, they’re probably talking about blackfin tuna nachos—they’re incredible.
The peak season for catching blackfin tuna in Texas is July and August. Some of the best spots include South Padre Island, Freeport, and Port Aransas. You’ll have to go about 60 miles offshore to find tuna fish. While you’re out there, you’ll have a chance to see all sorts of marine wildlife. Large sharks, migratory birds, and sea turtles are common sightings. Once you find an excellent spot to start fishing, take your time. There isn’t any catch limit, so get as many blackfin tuna as you want.
3. Mahi Mahi
When you hear people talking about eating dolphins, they’re likely talking about mahi-mahis. Also known as dorados, mahi-mahis can swim 50 miles an hour. They enjoy feeding on other fast-swimming fish like squid and flying fish.
Mahi mahis belong on our list of the best fish to catch in Texas this summer because of the variety they offer. When you catch one, you’ll notice it has vibrant yellow, green, and blue colors. It’s among the most popular game fish in the Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic, and Pacific. If it’s your first time saltwater fishing, consider hiring a guide or booking a fishing charter. You’ll learn about the best fishing hotspots along the way.
4. Tiger Shark
Galveston, Texas, is becoming a shark-fishing hot spot. Tiger sharks are one of the most popular species to target. They are a tenacious species and one of the most sought-after game fish. The tiger shark is easily identified thanks to its cockscomb teeth in both jaws.
Some of the best tiger shark fishing methods include chumming the waters and then trolling. You can also use catfish and scrap fillets as bait. A lot of anglers find success drift fishing too.
To successfully drift fish, you’ll need a bit of weight on the bait. As the boat moves through the water, the bait will slowly follow. The best part of drift fishing is that you can access a variety of fish habitats as you move with the current. Some of the best drifting baits include artificial flies, jigs, and lures.
5. Hammerhead Shark
You can’t stop at just one shark species. There are hammerheads just waiting for you to pull them out of the water! Hammerheads are impressive creatures with broad flat heads. Their eyes and nostrils are at the sides of their uniquely shaped head. The positioning of their nose and eyes helps them see and smell food better.
Get ready for a workout–these large sharks can grow to be longer than 15 feet. A fully grown hammerhead can weigh over 900 pounds. From June through September, Galveston offers great hammerhead opportunities. It’s definitely in your best interest to hire a fishing charter. There are a lot of experienced anglers who can guide your trip too!
6. Red Snapper
Another one of the best fish to catch in Texas this summer are red snappers. Some of the best fishing spots are right around reefs or fishing along the banks. The fish are usually about 20-40 miles from the shore. You’ll find them swimming about 130 feet deep or deeper.
Galveston, Texas, is a popular spot to catch snappers (as well as sharks). Using electric reels works excellently, and having multiple hooks is also wise. Try using cigar minnows or fresh squid as bait. To catch the largest red snappers, use live pigfish or live pinfish.
Fishing for red snappers in federal waters opens up in June, and there is a 2-fish-per-person limit, with a 16-inch minimum size limit. However, fishing in state waters is open year-round and has a 4 fish per person limit, with a 15-inch size minimum.
Plan on catching a few, and try frying them up for dinner. Red snapper has a slightly sweet and mildly nutty taste. It’s not a “fishy” tasting meat.
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