In many parts of the country, winter is a time to move most activities indoors. But with average daily high temperatures of 65 degrees in February, Galveston keeps the outdoor fun going year-round. And for many people, nothing is more enjoyable than fishing the waters of the Gulf of Mexico and Galveston Bay.
Salt Water Sportsman, the leading publication on salt-water sport fishing, lists Galveston near the top of the ten best fishing cities in the country. And it’s easy to understand why. Even in the middle of winter, clear skies, warm temps, and “sea birds flying in the sun” continue to lure vacationers to this charming coastal town.
But it’s the fishing that makes Galveston such an attractive winter destination with redfish, black drum, sheepshead, speckled trout, and flounder leading an all-star cast of species available in the waters around the island now through the spring.
Here are a few things you should know about them:
Redfish are a popular game fish in the Southeast. While they are most active during the summer, Galveston’s 57-degree water temperature makes for good fishing in the winter. These fish eat almost anything and make their home almost anywhere. And because of this, you’ll have plenty of fun catching them, especially if you go out on a fishing charter with an experienced captain. Redfish provides a delicious seafood meal with its sweet taste and semi-flaky texture.
The black drum is abundant in Gulf waters, with various sizes taking to deeper waters in the colder months. Anyone can enjoy black drum fishing since it doesn’t require experience or expensive equipment (and if you rent a charter, you don’t have to worry about equipment anyway). As for eating them, many anglers believe that black drums–less than five pounds and properly cleaned and prepared–are every bit as tasty as the more popular redfish and flounder.
Black and white bars, along with goat-like teeth, give the sheepshead its distinctive look and its other name, convict fish. While not as sought after as the more popular redfish and flounder, they are still fun to catch. And even though their sharp spines and gills make them hard to handle and clean, the effort is worth it as they are quite delicious.
The speckled sea trout is another popular species in Texas that can be caught year-round while providing a delicious meal. On the downside, their numbers have been declining over the last three years because of two contributing factors: an increase in fishing during the Covid pandemic and a recent winter storm that cooled their shallow habitat quicker than they could escape to deeper waters. An estimated 160,00 trout were killed, and emergency limits were put in place in some hard-hit areas. Your local charter captain can tell you what, if any, limitations are still in force.
Native Texans and visitors alike love flounder fishing in the “The Lone Star State.” And you’ll find plenty of them in the Gulf and Galveston Bay. However, ordering flounder at your favorite seafood restaurant does not prepare you for the first sight of this strange-looking creature. Its two eyes (on one side of its face) and a snarling mouth give it a look of something from a 1950s sci-fi movie. Nonetheless, catching them is entertaining, and eating them is a culinary delight.
How can you get in on winter sport fishing?
It’s simple! Talk to the pros at Wave Dancer Charters. While their most popular months are from spring to fall, January through March is also a great time to take a winter break and catch some fish to help you unwind or test your endurance when they put up a fight. Either way, instead of hibernating, you’ll be celebrating another day of life on the water. Contact the experts at Wave Dancer Charters, and let the winter celebration begin!