Are you interested in spearfishing off the fascinating coast of Texas? If you are, read on to find out about the best locations, types of fish, and spearfishing regulations when spearfishing in Texas.
The Texas Coastline stretches for 367 miles along the Gulf of Mexico. There’s a lot to do along the coast from exploring the different beaches to all the fun towns in between, but what I love to do is Texas spearfishing…so much fun and some tasty fish! Let’s dive in.
I do mention a couple of places to go out from the shore, but overall to really experience the great spearfishing Texas has to offer a boat is required. A kayak is also great to use off the beach or jetties. Let’s get started.
Texas Spearfishing Regulations
First, let’s take a look at spearfishing regulations in Texas. To a degree let’s say they’re a little murky (Scroll down to see regulations 9 miles offshore).
From Texas Parks and Wildlife:
Any hand-operated device designed and used for propelling a spear, but does not include the crossbow. It may be used to take NONGAME fish only.
Game Fish (includes hybrids or subspecies of fish on this list):
Catfish: blue, channel, flathead
Crappie: black, white
Mackerel: king, Spanish
Marlin: blue, white
Trout: brown, rainbow
Legal Devices, Methods & Restrictions (taken directly from Texas Parks and Wildlife)
These devices, subject to restrictions listed, may be used to take fish and other aquatic life in Texas public waters.
- Game fish may be taken only by pole and line (which includes rod and reel), except as otherwise provided in this guide.
- A person may fish with multiple poles or other devices, except as provided in this guide.
- In freshwater, it is unlawful to fish with more than 100 hooks on all devices combined.
- In freshwater, it is unlawful to take fish with a hand-operated device held underwater except that a spear or spear gun may be used to take nongame fish.
- Methods and devices not listed here are not legal for use in Texas.
You might be thinking, hey I know guys and gals that have gone spearfishing and brought back snapper, jacks, and wahoo (and more). Well, if you want to spearfish for those species and more you need to go out beyond 9 miles, into Federal waters. You’ll still need a Texas fishing license and a saltwater stamp. This is awesome and if you have a chance…do it!
Best Texas Spearfishing Locations
South Padre Island
South Padre Island is a great place to go spearfishing. It has fantastic beaches and the water is typically calm. I would recommend Isla Blanca Park once you get to town (South Padre Island). Also, take a dive off the jetties or a kayak out off the Packery jetties. You will enjoy an abundance of marine life. Expect to see the following sea life in about 15 – 20′ of visibility.
Take a dive off the jetties or a kayak out off the Packery jetties. You will enjoy an abundance of marine life. Expect to see the following sea life in about 15 – 20′ of visibility.
Trout, redfish, and sheepshead pretty consistently throughout the year. When warmer and in season expect to come across Spanish mackerel, snapper, tarpon, snook. You need to swim out a little or take a kayak out. You don’t need to be out too far from the rocks, but watch the pole fisherman casting in your direction. Always take note of where they are and move away accordingly.
Stetson Rock out of Galveston
Stetson Rock is about 70 miles south of Galveston and it’s awesome to fish, scuba dive, and spearfish. This is a great place to go after King Mackerel and Amberjacks.
Pelican Island – Galveston Bay
Take a boat out to Pelican Island. It’s a popular spot for the r&r fisherman, so watch out for other boats, lines, etc. A great spot!
Hannah’s Reef in Galveston Bay
Texas Oil Rig Spearfishing
Ok…the best for last!
Where Texas might not be the best place to go spearfishing off the beach it makes up in a major way with its manmade reefs in a big way. Where are these manmade reefs? Roughly 10, 15, 20 plus miles off the Texas Coast…oil rigs or just rigs to a spearo.
Hey, I’m no fan of oil rigs coming out of the ocean, but wow these rigs make a fantastic habitat for ocean life, thus a great place to go spearfishing, scuba diving, or snorkeling.
If you’re not familiar with the size of an oil rig picture this. In a way, I think of them as a manmade iceberg…most of the structure is below the service stretching hundreds and hundreds of feet to the seafloor. Picture this, thousands upon thousands of fish swimming around these massive artificial legs.
These artificial reefs are a perfect place for marine life to live…a lot of marine life. According to a study by the Coastal Marine Institute, “a typical eight-leg structure provides a home for 12,000 to 14,000 fish.” (James Wiseman). That’s some fish!
What are some of my favorite types of fish you can expect to come across when spearfishing these rigs?
Favorite Fish to Spearfish
Texas Grouper typically can be found in waters 8′ to 350′ plus. So, obviously you’re not going to go spearfishing at those deep depths, but it shows you how deep they can go.
King mackerel spearfishing off the Texas Coast is absolutely fantastic. If you’re interested in an in-depth read about spearfishing for King Mackerel check out this post. I talk a little bit about migration patterns, water temperature, etc. Great fish to BBQ!
You can come across Kings all over the Texas coastline, but the best spots for spearfishing Kings are Port Isabel and Sabine Pass. Here’s a google map for both locations. Rigs are also great for Kings. They love the artificial reefs and structures where their dinner can be found. You can find them in abundance at rigs such as Tequila, Auger, and Cerveza. As noted rigs are popular fishing grounds. So be careful of other boats, people, lines, etc.
Ok. so you want to step up and go after some Wahoo. Wahoo can swim up to 60 mph and weigh in at 180 lbs and are delicious. To learn more about Wahoo click here.
VERY IMPORTANT – Spearfishing, diving, snorkeling, and swimming around an oil rig is not for the beginner. It’s absolutely critical that you are a strong swimmer and go with a group of buddies that know what they’re doing. Make a dive plan, review the plan, stick to plan. Some of these rigs are way out there and swimming/spearfishing through and around these massive structures can be very dangerous. Bring the right boat with all the safety and right navigation equipment. Don’t be foolish…remember spearfishing and life is all about having a good time…Enjoy life!
Texas is a great state and it shows true when spearfishing in its waters, from its beaches, jetties, and of coarse its oil rigs. If you have never experienced spearfishing in Texas you must. If you are able to venture out to a rig…do it!
Lastly, a friendly reminder to stay safe, bring a buddy, and have fun!