October 30, 2020
Of all the many bays along the Texas Gulf Coast, Copano Bay is one of our favorites. Technically part of the Aransas Bay system, this estuary is fed by the freshwater of the Aransas River and the saltwater of the Gulf of Mexico (via the Aransas Bay). The surrounding areas have plenty of camping grounds and create a perfect place to camp for a while and enjoy the wide-open spaces that only the Lone Star State can provide.
Copano Bay is located to the northwest of Aransas Bay, near cities such as Holiday Beach, Copano Village, and Rockport. Adjacent to Copano Bay are even more systems such as Port Bay, Mission Bay, Swan Lake, and Copano Creek. Highway 35 crosses the bay at the junction of Copano Bay and Aransas Bay; this is another favorited fishing spot for local anglers.
The muddy seafloor and grass flats create a habitat where inshore species such as redfish, trout, and flounder thrive. The addition of freshwater from the Aransas river also allows for shrimp and crab to grow large and in good numbers. The multiple oyster reefs also provide feeding grounds. All in all, Copano Bay is a hidden treasure.
Due to the many oyster beds and grass flats, Copano Bay is rich in fantastic fishing grounds. Those unfamiliar with the bay really should hire a local guide. Navigating around the oyster beds can result in disaster when you don’t know where they are.
Swan Lake is a shallow collection of tidal waters, located on the southwest side of Copano Bay. Trout and flounder are found here, but typically anglers target redfish in this small fishing spot. Port Bay is just around the corner, and again it’s a hotspot for trout, flounder, and redfish. Kayak fishing is really popular in this overlooked area, and the populations are healthy due to lack of fishing pressure.
Those familiar with fly fishing will enjoy the calm waters and many shallow flats of Copano Bay. The south side of the bay offers the best access to the bay. The north side is more rural and may be difficult to access. To make sure you don’t miss out, hire a Rockport guide who can not only get you access but also will have all the gear needed.
Running parallel with Highway 35 across the bay is the Copano Bay State Fishing Pier. It’s part of the original bridge that crossed the bay before the Causeway replaced it. Before 2015 anglers could access this pier from the north or the south, but it has since closed due to structural issues. Boaters still fish near the bridge pilings, and there is a break on the pier to allow boats to pass from Copano Bay to Aransas Bay.
When a bay or system has a location titled “Redfish Point” you know what you can catch there. That’s right, redfish are by far the No1 species found throughout Copano Bay. Redfish are golden or tan colored with distinct dot (or dots) near the tail. In this system they can grow to over 15+ pounds. While they are available almost the entire year, anglers should plan their excursion during the fall months of October or November for trophy reds. There’s plenty of crab and shrimp found throughout the bay to use as bait. Sight fishing for tailing reds in the shallow waters is always productive when fishing Copano Bay.
For another popular inshore species, drift your bait near the grass beds to attract trout to the line. Speckled trout (also known as “specks”) are gray or silver with black dots littered across their backs. They are a year-round species, found in good numbers from February through December. Trophies are typically caught when the weather is colder, as trout like to swim closer to shore as the temperatures drop.
The muddy bottom of Copano Bay is a perfect habitat for flounder. These flatfish are brown on top and white on the bottom to blend in with their environment. They like to hide from predators and ambush their prey. Again, the Fall spawning season offers peak numbers and sizes for this species.
While the previously mentioned are usually at the top of many anglers’ list of targeted fish, we can’t forget about the black drum, another highly popular species found throughout Copano Bay. As juveniles, black drum will have black vertical stripes on their bodies. But as they mature the stripes fade and they are sometimes confused as redfish. Remember to look for the redfish black dot to distinguish if you have a black drum or not.
Whether you’re fishing from the jetties, fly fishing in the shallows, or fishing the many reefs of the bay, you’re sure to have a very productive day. Copano Bay is not a frequently visited system, and so the fish are able to grow big and in large numbers. And you don’t need much experience to land your next trophy. Or you can increase your success rate by hiring a local guide. Search FishAnywhere.com for the guide that can get you on the fish for the best price!
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