Redfish are among the most beautiful and challenging saltwater game fish along the American coastline, and few states offer a better shot at them than Texas.
From the Louisiana line to South Padre Island, Texas has over 360 miles of coastline.
That’s a lot to consider. However, we sort through the options to show you the top picks, no matter where in the Lone Star State you want to catch these big red drum throughout the year.
Texas boasts almost endless sandy beaches, inlets, marshes, jetties and flats, making fantastic redfish habitat wherever you turn. And there are even a couple of freshwater lakes where anglers can catch redfish.
Anglers have caught redfish pushing nearly 60 pounds in Texas waters.
Let’s start on the eastern border and work our way around past Galveston and Corpus Christi and almost to the southern tip of Texas.
Sabine Pass and Lake
In the late fall and winter especially, Sabine Lake (a saltwater bay connected to the Gulf by Sabine Pass) and the pass can draw in schools of frenzied redfish.
The lake and pass sit right on the Louisiana border.
Look for birds dropping on bait and shrimp jumping out of the water to find redfish as well as speckled trout (spotted seatrout) that have got bait pinned.
Keep in mind while fishing Sabine Pass or the connecting lake that redfish can often behave like largemouth bass, holding around structure, especially on the downcurrent side.
A live shrimp on a popping cork drifted past or fished around structures such as jetties, bridge pilings or docks can be extremely effective.
Access: Along South First Avenue at Broadway Street in the small community of Sabine Pass, a public ramp will put you on the upper pass near the lower lake.
Located between Galveston and Sabine Lake, High Island is a Texas community (not an actual island) that has got a great redfish presence, especially in the fall when big bull reds are spawning.
These fish will come inshore from the Gulf, although typically not within range of surfcasters, and eat anything from shrimp to mullet. A flats boat or a kayak are the ideal tools for success here.
In the early fall, in September especially, schools of mullet will swim along Texas beaches before moving offshore to spawn. Big schools of moving mullet are a prime source of redfish sustenance, so bull reds will intercept the run.
Work the High Island coastline with mullet-imitation baits, soft-plastics, and shrimp-tipped bucktails from the middle of September into the fall, and you’ll have a good shot at a memorable redfish.
Texas allows vehicles to drive onto the beach in certain locations including High Island.
Purchase a beach sticker from one of these vendors, and you’re all set to go. Just make sure to have a means to deflate your tires, a shovel, and a rope in case your vehicle gets stuck.
Access: Drive south through High Island on Rte. 124, and after it turns into Rte. 87 along the coastline, you will see signs for beach access.
Trinity Bay/Galveston Bay
Just outside of Houston, you’ve got the connected waterways of Trinity Bay and Galveston Bay, which are redfish destinations for thousands of Texas anglers.
The bays themselves are full of points, jetties, islands and beaches that create ideal redfish habitat.
The Trinity River Channel, in particular, is a redfish hot spot in the shoulder seasons of spring and fall.
The channel also can be a good place to fish when high winds make the remainder of the bay too choppy for smaller boats.
One key to fishing Trinity Bay is finding structure. There’s both artificial and natural options, including oyster beds, reefs and sandbars. Redfish will hold in these areas, so finding such structure can be critical to catching redfish. When the wind is out of the north or south, work the marshes along the eastern shoreline where bait will concentrate, likely drawing in redfish.
Access: Bayland Park off Convention Center Way in Baytown features a public boat ramp.
Texas City Dike
At more than five miles long, the Texas City Dike stakes a claim as the longest fishing pier in the world.
The dike stretches from Texas City on the southwest side of Galveston Bay out into the shallow bay pointing toward Bolivar Roads, the strait out into the Gulf of Mexico.
Everything from sea trout to sharks have been caught from the dike, but redfish are certainly a local favorite.
Many anglers will bring sand spikes or a similar rod-holding device and fish several baits at once.
Anglers will use sabiki rigs or cast nets from the dike to catch mullet, which, fished either chunked or live, can be a great bait for big redfish.
The dike features shore-fishing areas, four boat ramps, and fish cleaning stations for anglers. A beach, playground, bike rentals, disc golf and covered picnic tables will help keep the whole crew happy while you fish.
On weekends in the summer, there is an entrance fee ($10 at last check), but it’s free during the winter and on summer weekdays.
Access: Dike Road off Bay Street North in Texas City will take you onto the dike.
Galveston Island State Park
This state park’s inland marsh is a popular destination for kayakers who can stealthily stalk shallow redfish, and surf anglers can wade into the flats and wetlands with light spinning or fly tackle.
The park sits on the island just a dozen miles from Galveston. From here, you can ply the calmer waters of the West Bay side on the north or the open shoreline along the Gulf of Mexico to the south.
There is just about every kind of camping available here, ranging from tent sites to camping lodges with fireplaces and air conditioning.
Access: Termini-San Luis Pass Road, Rte. 3005, goes right through Galveston Island State Park. Park Road 66 to the north will lead you to the Park Nature Center.
For kayak anglers or really anyone with smaller watercraft, Christmas Bay is a great option.
About 45 minutes southwest of Galveston, this bay will see big schools of redfish move through, feeding in the marsh grass. Heading here can make for multiple-fish outings, especially in spring and fall.
The 5,000-plus-foot-acre bay is mostly shallow water and marsh grass, but it’s prime skinny-water redfish territory.
Twenty-plus-inch redfish in extremely shallow water make this a favorite spot for kayak anglers.
Marsh grass and oyster beds are popular redfish magnets in Christmas Bay, so find that structure and start your search there.
There is some deep mud on the bottom of this bay, so be careful if you’re wading.
Drum Bay, connected to Christmas Bay on the southwest end, has a kayak launch off Route 257.
Access: TPWD public boat launch at 515 Amigo Lane, off Bluewater Highway in Freeport.
From Old Glory to just south of Freeport, the Brazos River flows more than 840 miles through Texas, offering great freshwater fishing opportunities for smallmouth bass and more along the way.
The mouth of the river can be a great spot to target big redfish, and specimens up to and pushing 35 inches are not uncommon.
Cut bait and live shrimp are both popular options. The mouth of the Brazos is known for strong tides and currents and can be dangerous to wading anglers and boaters alike if they’re not aware of rapidly rising and falling water levels.
However, fishing cut mullet, live shrimp, or topwater lures at first light can all be effective ways to catch big redfish at the mouth of the Brazos.
Look for structure in the way of sandbars and cuts where reds will corner bait.
Access: At 2957 Route 1495 in Freeport, the Quintana Boat Ramp connects the Intercoastal Waterway to the Brazos River.
Cedar Lakes at San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge
Right where the San Bernard River flows into the Gulf of Mexico, just west of Freeport, there are a series of interconnected saltwater lakes that provide ideal refuge for baitfish and game fish like redfish that are chasing them.
At the Cedar Lake Creek Public Fishing Area, located right on Cedar Lake Creek, you’ll find a boat ramp that will take you on the creek and down to the lakes, and a public fishing area.
Sea trout, flounder and blue crabs are also popular catches here, but redfish abound.
With a kayak, an angler can access Cedar Lakes, Cowtrap Lake (just to the north), and the intercoastal waterway. If a kayak angler paddles north far enough, he or she will reach the Brazos River, another trusted location on our list.
Access: Cedar Lake Creek Public Fishing Area is at the end of San Bernard Wildlife Refuge Road, which runs south off of Texas Rte. 306 along the edge of San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge.
Port O’Connor/Matagorda Bay
Near Port O’Connor, Matagorda Bay is another fantastic redfish habitat rich with all of the elements that attract these fish year-round.
There are shallow flats that hold so little water that you’ll need a trolling motor or use a push-pole to get around them.
But on the plus side, you may have the unforgettable experience of seeing these big fish charge a lure or fly.
In Port O’Connor, two jetties protect the inlet that goes from Matagorda Bay to Espiritu Santo Bay. Time it right and they’re a prime location for targeting big redfish.
In the fall in particular, big redfish push from the Gulf of Mexico inland and use jetties and cuts like those in Port O’Connor to corral baitfish.
Take care if you’re fishing the jetty rocks from land. Boots like Korkers can provide needed extra traction.
Access: The northern jetty is at the intersection of 2nd Street and Commerce Street in Port O’Connor for shore-based anglers. Boaters can launch at the nearby Port O’Connor Fishing Center at the corner of 13th Street and Water Street. The Fishing Center also sells various bait, lures and gear.
Surfside Jetty County Park
Surfside Jetty Park in Surfside Beach, about an hour southwest of Galveston or a similar drive due south Houston, is a favorite fishing destination for anglers in part because of its half-mile-long paved jetty at an entrance to the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway is a great location for any fishing occasion.
Anglers fishing from the jetty have shots at redfish pushing bait up along the rocks in the late summer and early fall especially.
Shrimp under a popping cork and chunked mullet are popular with bait anglers. Topwater plugs like a Zara Spook at first light and shrimp-tipped bucktails are effective lure choices.
This park is a great spot to bring the family. The park has a playground and restrooms, and beach activities include bird-watching and shell collecting.
Access: Take Surf Drive in Surfside Beach to the southwestern end to find a large public parking lot to access Surfside Jetty County Park.
Corpus Christi Coast
Northeast of Corpus Christi and Port Aransas, the peninsulas that separates Copano Bay from Aransas Bay has long been a storied redfish destination.
At one point before Hurricane Harvey, the area was home to Redfish Lodge, a popular fishing destination and hotel. There are incredible plans to rebuild Redfish Lodge back bigger than ever, but at last check it’s still a work in progress.
That notwithstanding, Copano Bay is still an incredible destination for redfish anglers.
Chilltippin Creek, Mission River, the Aransas River and Copano Creek flow into Copano Bay, making it a prime area for oyster beds to thrive. Oyster beds attract all manner of life, and if you follow that food chain up, you’ll find redfish near the top.
Boaters should beware of the oyster beds as they move through the bay, but finding and fishing the shellfish areas is a promising idea for redfish.
The protected bay and the influx of freshwater make this a prime habitat for many species, and it’s certainly a redfish destination year-round.
If you’re planning a trip far in advance, check out the proposed plans for the renovated and finished Redfish Lodge, which looks like a veritable angler’s paradise.
Access: There is a state fishing pier on the south side of where Rte. 35 crosses the bay but was temporarily closed at last look, so check ahead. The Copano Bridge Boat Ramp is right next to the pier. If you follow the land and veer to your left after you launch, you’ll swing around “Redfish point,” where you can check for the target species.
Deeper into Copano Bay, kayakers have a launch at Rattlesnake Point just beyond Salt Lake in Rockport.
I was walking along Port Aransas beach one afternoon just sightseeing between my own fishing trips, and I happened to notice an angler on a jetty fighting what looked to be an enormous fish.
I watched him battle and land a 20-plus-pound redfish from the jetty, and the occurrence certainly wasn’t an anomaly.
The Aransas Pass connects the Gulf of Mexico to Corpus Christi Bay and it can be an ideal location for redfish to pin schools of bait, in the fall especially.
Chunks of either menhaden or mullet fished in the pocket that the jetty creates with the beach or along the shore of the beach can be an excellent means of targeting larger reds.
Access: In Port Aransas, you can drive and park on the beaches if you buy a parking permit first. (Passes were $12 at last check.)
Horace Caldwell Pier (Beach Street Pier)
For families who want a more relaxed and convenient experience in this same great vicinity, the Horace Caldwell Fishing Pier is only perhaps a mile south of the Aransas jetty.
The concrete pier stretches more than 1,200 feet into the Gulf of Mexico.
This multi-species fishing destination can include redfish moving up and down the coastline. Pompano, tarpon, sea trout and shark are other common pier catches.
Anglers have even landed tiger sharks longer than 13 feet from it.
Nauticool Adventures on South Padre Island Drive in Corpus Christi is less than 20 minutes away and has everything from line to shark baits, and you can even rent boats and jet skis.
Access: You’ll find the pier and parking at the corner of Beach Street and Port Aransas Beach Road. For fees and other info see the pier’s website.
Corpus Christi Bay
Corpus Christi Bay has lots of potential water for redfish inside, and boats also can venture into the Gulf to chase red drum and other game fish. (The photo at the top of this article is me with a redfish I caught fishing with a guide out of Corpus Christi.)
But you don’t need a boat. Case in point is the popular Indian Point Pier sits right next to the Nueces Bay Causeway (181 Bridge), which divides upper Corpus Christi Bay from the smaller Nueces Bay to the north.
The pier is one great place for a family outing on the bay. Renovations include green fish lights to attract bait and game fish. Other amenities include fish cleaning stations and shade structures for those hot summer days.
The pier has several more selling points for anglers looking to fish on foot. First of all, it’s free, and secondly, it’s open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
For more intrepid wading anglers, there are jetties around the pier where you can wade from shore and fish the surrounding water.
Indian Point Fishing Pier is also a popular destination for birdwatchers, as cranes and herons frequent the structure to feast on discarded fish fillets.
Access: Indian Point Pier is located on the Portland side of the causeway, just off Rte. 181. There’s a tackle shop on the other side of the highway.
Mustang Island State Park
If there’s a cooler name for a place than Fish Pass at Mustang Island State Park, we haven’t heard it.
But that place exists in Texas, and it sits between the Gulf of Mexico and Corpus Christi Bay, north of South Padre Island and south of Port Aransas, two other great refish locations you’ll find on our list.
Two jetties sit about a mile north of the park’s official office off Rte. 361 and can be angler favorites as they provide redfish an ideal location to pin baitfish on the beach.
Live and dead mullet are popular options to fish from the jetties and kayaking Corpus Christi Bay is a popular way to target big redfish in shallow water.
Fishing from the beach with a sinker of three or more ounces, capable of holding bottom in a strong tide, and either shrimp, small ladyfish or mullet can be another extremely effective way to target big redfish.
The state park offers a variety of campsite types for a reasonable fee.
Access: The Packery Channel Boat Ramps at 11862 Rte. 361 is 4.5 miles south of Mustang Island State Park and will provide you with quick access. There also are several beach access spots near Rte. 361 for surf anglers taking to the beach.
Covering more than 100 square miles between Corpus Christi and Laguna Madre, Baffin Bay is another expansive stretch of prime redfish real estate on the Texas coast.
Flats, marshes and grass beds are commonplace throughout the bay, and redfish in the 40- and 50-inch range are not uncommon.
Working topwater baits like a Zara Spook at first light in the late summer into the fall can produce gigantic redfish.
Baffin Bay has a unique rock structure unlike anything else found in Texas. The rocks are between 20,000 and 30,000 years old. Scientists believe the rocks are composed of condensed shell fragments combined with clay and mud, then shaped by ancient worms tunneling through.
Access: At the end of Farm to Market Road in Riviera, Kaufer-Hubert Memorial Park has a boat launch. The SeaWind RV Resort is next to the park, if you’re staying in your own wheels. There’s also a public fishing pier in the Riviera Beach area.
Between Padre Island, a barrier island off Texas’s far southwestern shore, and the mainland of Texas, the 120-mile-long bay known as Laguna Madre is rich with all the elements that make for prime redfish habitat, from oyster beds to mangroves.
There’s marsh grass, which collects critters like shad, baitfish, crabs and shrimp, some of a redfish’s favorite menu items. A portion of the vast Laguna Madre, just north of Port Mansfield, is even named Redfish Bay.
Because Laguna Madre and Redfish Bay specifically are shallow areas with changing tides, it’s essential to use a boat that drafts little water. Better yet, use a canoe or kayak.
Targeting redfish in the bay is largely a sight-fishing exercise, where you’ll look for the iconic spotted tails of these fish if they’re in shallow enough or their wakes as they move through the water.
Lead them by casting in front with soft-plastic baits, topwater lures or flies.
Access: Laguna Madre is so huge, you’ll need to pick a smaller portion to fish. Here are a couple of access points at either end. Off J.C. Barr Boulevard in Port Aransas, a public launch will put you on the northern end of the bay. Pompano Park in Port Isabel is one of several launches near the southern end of Laguna Madre.
South Padre Island
If you like those locations that make you feel like you’re “at the end of the road,” then you’ll love South Padre. This island at the southern tip of Texas is as far as you can go without a passport and offers some fantastic fishing.
There are jetties jutting out from both sides of Brazos Santiago Pass.
At first light, the redfish often pin schools of bait up against the jetty rocks, and topwater plugs like a Zara Spook can be tremendously effective.
Big tides will be optimal times to fish here, so if you’re planning a trip, plan it around the new or full moon, when strong incoming and outgoing tides will have fish concentrated around structure like the jetties waiting to ambush bait flushing by.
The jetty on the north side of the pass on South Padre Island is easiest to reach on foot, with plentiful parking nearby.
The jetty across the pass in Brownsville, sometimes referred to as the Boca Chica Fishing Jetty, is more challenging to get to, but boaters often come out of the pass and work the rocks near the ends of both structures.
Access: South Beach parking off Channel View Road is a short walk from the north jetty and Isla Boca Beach. Head west and there’s a boat launch near the amphitheater to put anglers at the southern end of Laguna Madre near Brazos Santiago Pass.
Yep, you read that right, there are freshwater lakes in Texas that the state stocks with redfish.
Both Calaveras and Victor Braunig lakes are a quick drive southeast of downtown San Antonio and are planted with redfish that never get a whiff of saltwater.
Calaveras Lake has the distinction of having both freshwater striped bass and redfish, along with more traditional local sport fish including largemouth bass. Although freshwater redfish are not terribly common, Calaveras Lake is one place to target them.
The same gold and silver spoons that work well in saltwater will catch redfish in freshwater.
And crawfish, which are rarely used in saltwater, are an effective bait for reds on Calaveras.
Just like largemouth bass, redfish will hold on or around structure, so keeping an eye on the bottom and looking for irregularities, shelves, drop-offs, and the like can work to your advantage.
Intrepid shore-bound anglers can throw a cast net and collect perch, shad and/or tilapia and go to Calaveras Lake Park for a shot at redfish from shore. A cast net thrown at first light will often give you a good haul of small baitfish.
The southwest corner of the lake, specifically, has a steep drop that goes from roughly 20 feet to more than 40 in the span of a football field. Those kinds of steep drops attract lazy fish like redfish that like to use structure to their advantage to ambush baitfish.
Access: Calaveras Lake Park on the southeastern side of the lake also has a public ramp on Bernhardt Road, off Stuart Road in San Antonio.
Victor Braunig Lake
A couple of miles from Calaveras Lake, Victor Braunig is the other freshwater lake where anglers have a reasonable shot at catching redfish away from the Texas coastline.
Fishing for freshwater reds is often best in the summer months.
And the old adage of “birds, bait, fish…” holds true even on these freshwater reservoirs. Often you’ll have seagulls or other birds diving on bait pushed to the surface, a strong indication of where you’ll find redfish below.
At more than 1300 acres, you’ve got a lot of water to cover on Victor Braunig.
One winter tactic is to fish around the C.P.S. Energy Station on Streich Road in Elmendorf. There are warm water discharges that naturally attract baitfish and the game fish like stripers and redfish that are feeding on them.
The southeast corner of the lake has some of steepest drops and deepest water, where you’re likely to see redfish and stripers corralling bait.
Access: Braunig Lake Park off Donop Road features a fishing pier and shore access.
Catch More Redfish
Be sure to check out our complete guide to redfish fishing, including top lures, baits and techniques.