Galveston Bay is a thriving ecosystem. The water makes for an ideal fishing destination owing to the various species of fish found in the area. This also makes Galveston Bay and its surrounding waters an excellent destination for individuals and families who want to indulge in fishing as a recreational activity or a sport.
So head out to the beautiful waters of Galveston Bay, let the wind in your hair, and fish for some of the best species found in these waters!
Let’s take a look at some of them.
Speckled trout are found along the Gulf Coast and the Atlantic Coast. It belongs to the Sciaenidae drum family is easy to identify owing to the two sharp upper front teeth and elongated bodies that have numerous spots black spots on them. Speckled trout average about 2 pounds in Galveston bay but fish in the 8 to 9 pound range are not uncommon. Some southern anglers may be surprised to know that Speckled trout are found as far north as Maryland and the state record there is 13 pounds! The Texas state record is a tad larger—you know what they say about Texas! J
The speckled trout are found in the main body of the bay or near oysters’ reefs during summer. In winter, the species can be found in muddy bottoms. There are a variety of baits for catching speckled trout from live bait to a plethora of artificial lures. Specks are the most sought after fish by anglers in Galveston and surrounding areas and they are excellent table fare.
The best time to fish for redfish on Galveston Bay is August till the end of fall. It’s a saltwater fish with a reddish and gold coloring and a signature black spot (or sometimes many black spots) on its tail. They can sometimes be found “tailing” in shallow water in search of crustaceans that inhabit the shallow mud and shell bottoms. Tailing refers to their tails and signature black spots being above the surface and visible to a keen angler’s eye as the redfish searches for food.
Redfish are also found in deeper water throughout the Galveston bay system. They’re a member of the Drum Sciaenidae family just like the Speckled Trout and are abundant and often sought after by recreational anglers.
The best red drum to keep as table fare is in the five-pound range but they grow very large. Records show that a fully grown fish can also be as big as 94 pounds!
Flounder are found near the western Atlantic and the Gulf coast. Their features include prominent eyes—both on the same side of the head—and sharp, pointed teeth in a strong rigid mouth. They’re found throughout Galveston’s open bay and marsh areas. Many flounder migrate to the Gulf of Mexico as winter sets in making for an eventful fishing trip late October through December. They also make a migratory push back into the bay in spring as the water warms back up.
The best bait to catch them is a mullet or a live mud minnow that can be dragged across the bottom of the water body slowly to catch the attention of the hungry flounder. Artificial baits such as Berkely Gulps and Mister twister grub tails also work quite nicely. The flounder is arguably the best fish for table fare in the Galveston bay complex—with the exception of the rare Tripletail which we’ll discuss later.
Flounder grow to weights in the mid teens but the average fish in Galveston bay is around 2 pounds.
The Black drum is a bottom feeder focusing mostly on crabs and other crustaceans. They belong to the Sciaenidae family along with their cousins the speckled trout and redfish.
They’re high-backed fishes with whiskers and a long jaw. The younger fish among this species have dark vertical bars on their sides, whereas the bellies of the older fish are white. In addition to that, the color of their sides and backs can vary—which is one of the reasons why a black drum is also called a ‘big ugly’.
The Black drum provides interested anglers an exciting fight as they are extremely strong pullers. Smaller fish make for great table fare but as they grow larger they are not only not as tasty but also illegal to retain as these fish are the large spawners producing all the other drum that we love to catch so much. They can be caught in large numbers without much effort in late February through April as they make their annual migration. The best bait for a Big Ugly is a blue crab or large dead shrimp.
The Sheepshead is a strange fish indeed. They are found throughout the Galveston Bay area and can be caught near structures such as jetty rocks, docks, and pilings. They have teeth similar in shape to humans and their strong jaws can break open shells and barnacles in search of morsels within. They also feed on small crustaceans such as crabs and shrimp.
The sheepshead belongs to the Sparidae family. Their average size is about 20 inches but they can grow up to 30 inches. They have a deep, compressed body with a few dark stripes on the sides of their grey body. , but the average size is about 20 inches.
The sheepshead makes fine table fare but beware!—cleaning them can be a challenge due to their many strong bones, so prep your knives well. Sheepies also have a great fight in them once hooked to the bait as their strong bodies and tails make them powerful swimmers.
The Spanish Mackerelor or “Smack” is found readily in Galveston Bay and surf from late spring till fall. They belong to the Scombridae family and have a green back; its sides are silvery marked with three rows of round to elliptical yellow spots. They also have deeply forked tails that aid them in swimming. They are speed kings and will provide a thrill as line peels off your reel when they are hooked. Smacks average a pound or two with chances of catching a screamer in the 6 pound range.
They migrate in large groups in search of spawning areas and suitable feeding grounds that are near an upwelling area. The best lure for a mackerel is the silver spoon fished fast with jerking action. They will also devour small finfish and crustaceans such as mullet and shrimp.
If you want to catch these species of fish, get a charter fishing trips Galveston Texas to help you out! We can guide you to these species.
Frenzy Guide Service is a bay fishing charter that offers expert fishing guide services Galveston Bay. Take a look at our fishing calendar, call and get in touch with us today at (832) 205-1357 to book your trip!