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Port Aransas Shore Fishing

Shore Fishing in Port Aransas, Texas

One of the most popular activities for people visiting Port Aransas is fishing. There are many types of fishing opportunities but one of the easiest to start with is shore fishing. Shore fishing in Port Aransas draws both die hard anglers and novices who take to the beach or jetty with pole and bait to see how their luck will play out that day.

Shore fishing requires only basic equipment, a pole, line, reel, tackle, and bait or lures. The poles used for shore fishing are quite large, from 10 to 15 feet long. In addition, poles for surf fishing are much heavier than most fresh water poles to handle the stress of wrestling in larger, stronger sea fish. Longer poles facilitate longer casts, allowing anglers to reach past the breaking surf into the trough (known as the gut) between breakers and the first sand bar. There is bait and tackle shops in Port Aransas that will rent tackle for surf fishing by the day for fishermen or women who want to try the sport without making a financial commitment.

Fish most commonly caught when shore fishing at Port Aransas are speckled trout, red drum (aka redfish or reds), black drum, flounder, catfish and sometimes shark. What you catch will depend on what you are using and the depth at which you are fishing. Redfish are among the most popular fish to catch in the area and they are good eating. Black Drum are the redfish's undervalued cousin. Where redfish have a reputation for being aggressive eaters and therefor more likely to come to an artificial lure, black drum have the reputation for being coy and unwilling to come to a lure. For anglers who love a challenge, black drum may be the fish of choice. Trout is another popular fish that is good eating and is commonly found along the jetties and chasing bait fish into the shallows. Channel Cat is another tasty fish that anglers like to take. For those more familiar with fresh water angling, surf fish are larger, stronger and can cause damage if they bite. While these fish don't have teeth, the do have strong jaws for eating their own prey. And, as with any catfish, salt water cats have strong poison spines in their side fins.

As every angler knows, hours can be spent in lively debate about what is the best bait or lure for each fish in each situation. This article won't attempt to answer that question. For shore fishing in Port Aransas, there are two approaches, use of natural bait or lures. Often the choice is a matter of personal preference. Natural bait can be either live or dead. Baits include shrimp, mullet, squid and other bait fish. Bait fish is a catchall term that includes all small fish that serve as prey for sport fish. Lures are varied and the selection of lure depends on many factors. Even more than with natural bait, the selection of lures draws out strong opinions. Soft lures may work well in bright light. In dimmer light the flash of a metal spoon may be what is needed. Fishing near the surface demands different tackle than fishing at the bottom. For the novice, the best advice is to seek the opinions of one of the many bait and tackle shops that serve Port Aransas.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) regulates all sport fishing activities within the state. Anyone 17 years of age or older needs a fishing license to fish in public waters, such as when shore fishing near Port Aransas. In addition to a fishing license, anglers need a salt water stamp. These may be purchased in many places around Port Aransas. Bag limits, slot limits and length restrictions vary according to species. A bag limit is the maximum number of fish that can be taken by each licensed person or child under the age of 17. A slot restriction for salt water fish defines a length range between which all fish may be kept. For example, according to the TPWD website FAQ, Black Drum having a slot size of 14 to 30 inches means that all Black Drum between 14 and 30 inches may be kept. Fish less than 14 inches and longer than 30 inches must be released. A length restriction is the minimum length a fish must be in order to be legally kept. Length is measured from the tip of the snout to most distant point of the tail. TPWD bag limits and fish size restrictions change from time to time and species to species depending on the management goals for that fish in that place for a given year. It is advisable to check with the TPWD website for current regulations.

There seem to be two types of shore fishers around Port Aransas. One type takes their pole, completes the cast, plants the pole in a holder, plants themselves in a chair and proceeds to relax until something bites. The other type seems to operate more like a fly fisherman, completing the cast and using the rod to work the bait or lure while they wait for a bite. It is up to you to choose your style, like many things associated with fishing, preferences run strong and are often a matter of opinion.

For those anglers who are lucky with their catch that day there are restaurants around Port Aransas that will, for a small fee, clean and cook your fish and serve it as part of your meal.

Shore fishing can take place on the beach including above the water line or wading, the jetty along the shipping channel or from a pier. Equipment and bait can be similar for any of the locations but will vary depending on many factors. Fish species caught from each location may also be similar with larger fish being caught in deeper waters. What is caught from each location will depend on the water conditions, the temperature, the tides, and the seasons.

Where ever you choose to fish, shore fishing in Port Aransas is a fun but relaxing way to spend a day and collect some lies to tell back home.

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