July 7, 2020
San Antonio Bay, Texas is not to be confused with Spain’s San Antonio Bay resort town. While both have their benefits and draw people in, it’s for very different reasons. Spain’s resort town is great for vacations, relaxing, and enjoying the beach. There are no beaches at Texas’ San Antonio Bay, but it is one of the Lone Star State’s best kept secrets. And anglers in the know visit this fantastic fishery year after year.
The entire San Antonio Bay system makes up one of the seven major estuaries along the Texas Gulf Coast. While San Antonio Bay is the largest in this system, other bays and extensions include Ayres Bay, Hynes Bay, Guadalupe Bay, Mission Lake, Long Lake, South Pass Lake, Contee Lake, Pringle Lake, and Espiritu Santo Bay. Espiritu Bay is to the east of San Antonio Bay and is quite large itself at sixteen miles long and five miles wide. The entire San Antonio Bay system covers over 200 square miles.
The bay is situated between two major ports, Port Aransas and Port O’Connor, and is considered a remote bay comparatively. Its location means that there are no major shipping vessels traveling to and from this area, and allows for recreational anglers and professional fishing guides more access. Anglers who make their way to the bay will be rewarded with reeling in trophy sized fish in good numbers.
Matagorda Island protects the estuary from the Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf’s saltwater makes its way to San Antonio Bay through inlets on either side of the island. The northside of the bay’s system are fed by freshwater rivers Guadalupe River and San Antonio River that combine north of the bay to fill the system. This mixture of freshwater and saltwater creates brackish water that allow for a variety of species to inhabit.
Anglers fishing San Antonio Bay will have the opportunity to catch a buffet of species. Texas’ inshore superstars redfish, flounder, and spotted seatrout of course appear here. And you’ll also be able to catch other species, such as black drum, jack crevalle, ladyfish, sheepshead, and pinfish to name a few. Striped bass and catfish are found near the northern part of the bay near the Guadalupe River. If you’re looking to break some records, check out the TPWD records for San Antonio Bay, and get the scale ready!
If you don’t have a boat, there are a few fishing piers around the bay to get you in on the action. Austwell Pier is located on the east side of the Hynes Bay, while Seadrift has a few spots near the seawall. There was a pier but Hurricane Harvey damaged it in 2017. You can also go off the beaten path and fish from the shore in various spots around the bay. Just make sure you’re fishing from public property and have all appropriate licenses.
Kayak fishermen and women also enjoy fishing in San Antonio Bay. There are several kayak launches near the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. You can launch from the wildlife refuge among endangered species such as whooping cranes and a variety of waterfowl. Keep an eye out for alligators as you navigate the shallow waters. There is no fishing near the refuge, but you can make your way to legal waters in no time at all, and enjoy the beauty of this area.
Wade fishing and fishing from a vessel are other options for anglers. Fishing the seagrass beds near Matagorda Island will yield anglers nice sized trout or redfish. There are also several oyster beds throughout the bay that provide fantastic fishing. Using shrimp as bait is a common technique that brings drum, trout, and flounder to the line. Your favorite rod and reel, light tackle and a few hours is all you need to fill the cooler!
For a successful outing on San Antonio Bay, consider hiring a local guide who knows the area. They know the migrating habits of the species, and whether to fish closer to the shores or in the deep waters of the bay. Depending on what you’re looking to reel in, these professional guides can customize the perfect excursion.
The temperatures in San Antonio Bay allow for fishing twelve months of the year (weather and hurricane season permitting). Most guides will have vessels that can accommodate two to six passengers. If you have a larger group you may want to consider hiring two guides and having your own mini-tournament. It’s a chance to practice your casting, as well as your trash talking!
It may not be the resort life of Spain, but this San Antonio Bay still offers a reprieve from everyday life. If you’re interested in fishing away from civilization and crowded fisheries, San Antonio Bay is the perfect place for you.
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