South Padre Island Fishing

South Padre Island Bay Fishing - Main Species We Catch

Popular Sport Fishing Species of Texas. As you can see when it comes to South Padre Island Bay fishing there are many great species to catch. When you make the trip to South Padre Island for your fishing vacation you will certainly have a chance at catching one or more of these pictured species. So check out the fish, book your charter vacation, and get ready to hook up with one of these magnificent sea creatures on your next South Padre Island Bay fishing trip.

South Padre Island King Fish Fishing

Southern Kingfish
Scientific Name: Menticirrhus americanus
Physical description:

Southern kingfish have an elongated body with an arched back that gives them almost a triangular shape. They are an overall silver-gray or copper in color, often with darker shades on the back. On their sides are a series of dark, vertical bars that help differentiate the southern kingfish from the gulf kingfish. The southern kingfish also has a large head and a single chin barbel. They have two dorsal fins, the first tall and pointed. The pectoral fin is relatively large and the back margin of the tail fin is uneven.

Range:

Southern kingfish are located in the western Atlantic as far north as New York and as far south as Buenos Aires, Argentina. They are found throughout the Gulf of Mexico.

Feeding Habits:

Southern kingfish spawning occurs from April to August, when females scatter their eggs in open offshore waters. Upon hatching, larvae are carried by the current inshore, where the young remain for months to seek food and protection from predators.

Sporting Qualities:

Southern kingfish can be tough fighters when light tackle is used. The best baits for kingfish are shrimp, squid and sand fleas. They will also hit flies and small jigs. Anglers will typically bottom fish from bridges, piers, the surf and small boats. The southern kingfish is considered good table fare and excellent when fried.

Habitat:

The southern kingfish is an inshore species that inhabits shallow coastal waters. Typically found in the surf, southern kingfish prefer water over sandy or muddy bottoms. Though they can tolerate water from 46 to 84 F, they will move south and to deeper waters as the water temperature decreases.






South Padre Island Sand Trout

Sand Trout
Scientific Name: Cynoscion arenarius
Physical description:

Sand seatrout are small fish with a thin, elongated body. Coloration is pale yellow on the back and silver to white on the sides and belly. The inside of the mouth is yellow, and they have two rounded teeth at the front of the upper jaw. Young sand seatrout have cloudy markings on their back that sometimes form cross bands. They have two dorsal fins, the first high, pointed and short, the second long and flat like a comb. The back margin of the tail fin is flat.

Range:

Sand seatrout are found in the western Atlantic from Florida to the Bay of Campeche, Mexico, in the southern Gulf of Mexico.

Feeding Habits:

Feeding on small fish and crustaceans, sand seatrout particularly enjoy shrimp. When they are located near passes in estuaries they eat mainly fish, especially bay anchovies and gulf menhaden. When they are in areas of lower salinity, shrimp again become more prominent in their diet.
Young sand seatrout eat a higher proportion of shrimp than adult sand seatrout do.

Sporting Qualities:

Sand seatrout are considered good table fare. Their small size means they do not have much meat per fish, but they are an important part of the Gulf of Mexico’s commercial bottom fishery. They are not considered hard fighters and are frequently caught while fishing for other species. Sand seatrout are an excellent baitfish, especially if they are put on ice immediately after being caught.

Habitat:

An inshore species except during the winter when they migrate to offshore areas, the sand seatrout seems to prefer brackish waters with low levels of salinity. In the summer months, they are often found in their nursery grounds located in the grass flats of river estuaries. In these environments they are often seen mixing with speckled trout. They prefer habitat with sandy, hard sand or shell bottoms in shallow waters. Young sand seatrout are found in shallow bays, particularly in areas where salinity levels are low.






Sheepshead Fishing in South Padre Island Bay

Sheepshead
Scientific Name: Archosargus probatocephalus
Physical description:

Sheepshead have a compressed body with a shape somewhere between the round disk of a spadefish and the elongated form of a bass or trout. Coloration is silvery to yellowish white with an olive-brown back and five or six distinct black vertical bands on the side (from which they get their common name “convict fish”), with the oddity that some fish have a different number of stripes on their two sides. These stripes fade with age. The mouth is small to medium size and the have long, flat, incisor-like teeth that they use to crush the shells of mollusks and crustaceans.

Range:

Sheepshead are found in the western Atlantic Ocean from Nova Scotia to Brazil, including the northern Gulf of Mexico but excluding the southern Gulf of Mexico, the Bahamas, the West Indies, Bermuda and Grenada. Along the United States coast they are rarely found above the Carolinas in winter.

Feeding Habits:

Sheepshead have specially designed long, flat teeth for the crushing of mollusk and crustacean shells so they are able to consume the soft animal inside. Sheepshead are “browsing” feeders that forage by bouncing alone rock pilings, wharves, jetties and other structures. They travel in schools while they feed. Favored prey include oysters, mussels, sea urchins and crabs, especially fiddler crabs. They also consume numerous barnacles.

Sporting Qualities:

Sheepshead are considered excellent table fare, though they are difficult to clean. They are not particularly renowned for their fighting ability. Because sheepshead are bottom feeders, the best strategies to catch them are bottom and float rigs fished around barnacle-encrusted structures. They do not bite readily on artificial lures so anglers should use live bait such as fiddler crabs, barnacles, oysters, clams or shrimp, sometimes used with sliding sinker rigs. During winter, sheepshead can be found along deeper artificial reefs at depths between 35 and 60 feet. Sheepshead have a very light bite and are renowned as bait stealers, and thus can be a frustrating species to fish. Anglers should also keep in mind that sheepshead have very stout and sharp spines and should be handled with caution.

Habitat:

Sheepshead are associated with underwater structure such as jetty rocks, piers, pilings and bulkheads and can also be found near navigation markers. They inhabit water up to 50 feet in depth in bays, estuaries and along mangroves, and often enter brackish and even freshwater areas. Because of their feeding habits they can often be found around oyster bars and seawalls. The only migration sheepshead undertake is out to sea in cold months and back inshore at spring. They prefer water temperature at 60 F or above.






Black Drum Fishing in South Padre Island

Black Drum
Scientific Name: Pogonias cromis - (scientific Name)
Physical description:

Black drum are characterized by their high-arched backs and numerous barbels that hang from the lower jaw. The barbels serve as feelers for the fish, aiding in its search for food. Adults have dusky to black fins and tails on a silvery body. The younger fish referred to as “puppy drum,” possess 4 to 6 vertical bars and are sometimes mistaken for other species. The dorsal fins of the black drum have 11 spines, 20 to 22 dorsal rays, and 41 to 45 scales along the lateral line, which runs all the way to the end of the tail. The large, silvery scales are very difficult to remove. The black drum has large cobblestone-like teeth in the throat, allowing it to easily crush oysters and barnacles. Typical of all drum species, the tail is shaped like a broom.

Range:

Black drum are native to the western Atlantic Ocean and, in North America, they occur from southern New England to the Gulf of Mexico. Major concentrations are found in the Chesapeake Bay area and the tidal waters of Georgia, Florida, Louisiana and Texas. Black drum also inhabit South America, ranging from southern Brazil to Argentina.

Feeding Habits:

Black drum are fundamentally bottom feeders. The smaller fish feed on marine worms, shrimp, small crabs, and small fish. Larger drum feed on crustaceans and mollusks, with a preference for blue crabs, shedder crabs, shrimp, oysters and squid. Generally, the fish enters estuaries to feed on a rising tide, and then leaves as the tide drops.

Sporting Qualities:

Black drum are known to be very strong fighters and often reach impressive sizes. The best time to fish for the black drum is when the tide is about half to three-quarters out, after the fish have come inshore and begun feeding. They are caught primarily on natural baits, such as shrimp, squid and crabs, though some anglers cast slow-sinking mirror-sided lures or bump the bottom with fast-sinking spoons, bucktails or nylon jigs. Black drum tend to mouth the bait, so anglers need to wait several seconds before setting the hook. Spinning, bait-casting and conventional rods and reels with 15- to 20-pound monofilament line and 2/0 to 4/0 hooks are typical tackle selections.

Habitat:

The black drum is an inshore, bottom-dwelling fish common to bays and lagoons. This species prefers sandy bottoms in salt or brackish waters, especially near breakwaters, clam and oyster beds, pier pilings, high marsh areas and shorelines. Although these fish are suited to a wide temperature range, black drum generally do not survive long in waters colder than 37 F. Likewise, the species can adapt to varying levels of salinity, with the younger fish preferring freshwater areas. During the first three years of life, the black drum appears to migrate very little, generally residing in estuaries. Mature adults may move further offshore, but frequently return to the estuarine system.



South Padre Island Bay Species We Catch

  • Black Drum
  • Croaker
  • Kingfish
  • Shark
  • Sand Trout
  • Sheepshead
  • Sting Ray
  • Whiting


When fishing in South Padre Island you are subject to catch any number of a multitude of saltwater species that are available. Although our trips usually are for species in the bay there is still the possibility of hitting another popular species while fishing for something entirely different. That is what is great about South Padre Island fishing, there is always something available so if one fish isn't hitting then we can change up and target another species entirely.

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