by Kyle Whitecotton
So you’ve lured all the largemouth bass in your local lake, caught all the crappie you can cram in a pan and tackled all the trout your tippet can take, and yet you’re still not completely content calling yourself an experienced angler.
Or maybe you are fine with the recreational status you’ve reached in the fishing world, but you are still looking for something with a little more tug on the line and fight in the fish.
Have you ever considered deep-sea fishing off the coast of Texas? With more than 300 miles of coastline and a host of exceptional port towns, the state offers some of the best access around to the Gulf of Mexico and the fish that linger beneath.
Texas’ Gulf Coast waters offer an abundance of fishing for anything from red snapper and dolphin to tarpon and tuna. You might even find a shark or a barracuda on the end of your line if you’re lucky.
These waters are typically calm and present plenty of reefs, rocks and ledges that attract numerous sport fish. Frequent catches include billfish, such as broadbill swordfish, sailfish, blue marlins and white marlins. And though the best fishing here is done during the warmer months of the year, it is almost always a good time for casting your line.
Inshore fishing from the docks and rocks is certainly the less expensive way to fish the coast, and many sport fish are accessible in this way. Speckled trout, sheepshead, croaker, redfish, sand trout and hardhead catfish are just a few of the fish often caught inshore.
But for a shot at the big guys — the majestic blue marlin, the hard-hitting tarpon, the high-flying dolphin and the speedy king mackerel — you will have to head out a little farther. And there is no better way to fish the deep waters than with a local captain who knows where to find those big trophies.
Good luck choosing a charter though. The only thing more abundant than big game fish in Texas coastal waters is the multitude of charter companies competing for your business.
For small groups, usually less than five people, the options are limitless and even include private charters using small boats. If you have a large group or just want to save some cash, try the larger, less expensive party boat option. In the end, your choice is based on personal preference and group size because many of the charters run year-round and offer an assortment of trip options with similar amenities.
From their docks in Galveston, Williams Party Boats is a year-round, family-owned operation offering long and short fishing adventures. The trips range anywhere between four and 36 hours of deep-sea excitement and cost as little as $25 per person up to $350 per person. Williams Party Boats caters to both small groups and large corporate parties for up to 83 people.
However, party boat charters can get a little congested. You pay for a place on a boat that may host as many as 100 other people and lose the personal touch of having your own captain all to yourself.
If you’re looking to avoid the crowd and gain a little elbowroom, consider hiring a private charter.
In Port Aransas you could try Bill Busters Fishing for a deep-sea adventure tailored to your taste. Choose from one of the six-, eight- or 10-hour trips for one to six people and pay between $1,000 and $1,850. These prices include all the bait, equipment and fish-finding expertise you will need.
If you’re fishing near South Padre Island, check into Reel Madness Fishing for one of the overnight billfishing trips for four or a 14-hour marlin trip for up to six anglers. Trips like these run anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000, but the experience of being on the open water and fighting some of nature’s most majestic creatures is nothing short of priceless.
Bill Busters Fishing
136 W. Carter Ave.
Port Aransas, Texas
Williams Party Boats
409.762.8808 or 713.223.4853
Reel Madness Sport Fishing
510 Queen Isabella Blvd.
Port Isabelle, Texas