June 12, 2020
On the Texas Gulf Coast are seven major estuaries where anglers cast their lines and reel in trophy sized fish. Aransas Bay is just one of these estuaries, and has one of the best fisheries in the state.
Aransas Bay is situated between Corpus Christi Bay and Matagorda Bay. But while these bays reach into the mainland of the Lone Star State, Aransas Bay is like a wide intracoastal waterway between the coast and San Jose Island. Fish are migrating through the bay throughout the year from the Gulf to nearby bays. There are two access points to the Gulf of Mexico, found on either side of San Jose Island. Cedar Bayou is located to the north, but most anglers head towards the larger channel of the Aransas Pass to the south. In the fall, Aransas Pass is filled with the redfish migration, and is just one example why anglers flock to this area year after year.
There are actually eight bays that make up the Aransas Bay ecosystem. Aransas Bay and Redfish bay are the two largest, with Carlos Bay, Copano Bay, Mesquite Bay, Mission Bay, Port Bay, and St. Charles Bay completing the system. The estuary is created from the joining of freshwater from Mission River and Aransas River with the saltwater from the Gulf of Mexico. The bays closer to the mainland (Copano Bay and St. Charles Bay) will see more freshwater species than those closer to the Gulf (Mesquite Bay, Aransas Bay, and Redfish Bay).
The many bays of this system offers anglers a buffet table of sorts for anglers to find both freshwater and saltwater species.
It is quite normal to see blue catfish or alligator gar caught in St. Charles Bay and Copano Bay. Alligator Gar, in particular, is a fantastic, prehistoric fish that is a bucket-list fish for many fishermen and women. If you’re new to this species, we recommend hiring a local Texas fishing guide. Alligator gar can grow to be very large fish with sharp teeth, and reeling them in takes skill and experience. You can use a traditional rod and reel, or try your hand at bowfishing. If you’re not harvesting alligator gar, use conventional rods and have your needle-nose pliers nearby to release the hook without getting your fingers chomped. Catch-and-release is encouraged for the vitality of this exciting species.
As we mentioned, the redfish of Aransas Bay is among the number one species targeted by anglers. This bronze and gold colored fish has a distinct black dot near the tail, which can sometimes be seen when “tailing” redfish. This is a technique often used by anglers during migration, when the amount of reds in the water in Aransas Pass has them breaching the surface of the water and showing their backs and tails. Redfish enjoy feeding on shrimp and crab; cast cut or live bait in the tides and let your bait drift towards the schools of reds. You’ll have a fish on the hook in no time at all! Make sure you are aware of Texas regulations for redfish, and stay within bag and slot limits (that are subject to change).
Other species found throughout the bay’s ecosystem include speckled seatrout (known as “specks”), flounder, black drum, ladyfish, sheepshead, snook, amberjack, and even sharks. Anglers are able to fish this system twelve months of the year (weather permitting) and will use a variety of techniques to land their desired fish. Keep in mind any and all regulations when fishing, and know that hiring a local guide will increase your success rate. For a safe and successful day of reeling in keepers in Aransas Bay, hire a professional who knows where to find the fish and has everything you need for a great day on the water.
Anglers can enjoy fishing the bay either by bay boat, kayak fishing, or wade fishing. Kayak fishing is quite popular here, so much so that the Lighthouse Lakes Paddling Trail was the first ever paddling trail created in Texas. There are four trails available, ranging from 1.25 to 6.8 miles long. Kayak anglers can search among the grass flats for redfish, specks, flounder, and more.
If you’re fishing from a bay boat, make your way to the middle of Aransas Bay, where there are several oyster reefs. Here you can drop a line for trout and redfish that are feeding on the oyster beds. Use fishfinder electronics to help find the fish. Along the eastern shores of the bay, near San Jose Island, the grass flats are another great place to start your fishing excursion. Wade fishing off the island is very common, as the clear water gives anglers better success at sight fishing for redfish.
No matter when you go, a trip to Aransas Bay is a good day of fishing. You can explore beyond Aransas to the surrounding ecosystem and explore everything this area has to offer. Hire a local fishing guide for a charter trip and you can bet you’ll be reeling in your bag limit. There’s a reason Aransas Bay is one of the best fisheries in the state, the size and numbers found here alone explain why anglers keep coming back. Reserve your Aransas Bay fishing trip today and get in on the action!
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