Host of Next Level Fishing and Kayak Angler contributor, Chris Castro fishes Texas from border to border. He says some of the Lone Star State’s best kayak fishing is in Galveston Bay. Galveston Bay is the seventh largest estuary in the United States and one of the best locations for flounder, speckled trout and redfish. For proof, Castro points out Galveston has attracted some of the best-known tackle and gear manufacturers. “Fishing Galveston Bay is guaranteed to get anyone out of bed early,” he says.
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One of my most memorable trips was years ago when I first started kayak fishing. I remember this trip out into Galveston Bay as the day I learned what kayak fishing is all about.
Kayak Fishing For Redfish In Galveston
On the fateful morning, my friend called to report birds were working over feeding redfish, making the fish easy to find and catch.
This is so long ago, now I shake my head at the gear I was using. I loaded my kayak and packed my milk crate with gear and tackle. I stuck the rods in PVC rod holders and attached leashes I made out of rope.
“Fishing Galveston Bay is guaranteed to get anyone out of bed early.”
We paddled a few miles and dragged our kayaks over marshy islands until arriving at a lake filled with redfish tails. This was the first time I saw so many redfish. We caught reds until our arms were tired and the sun was low.
Sitting there in Galveston Bay with the day’s catch, I realized I could only have discovered this place by fishing with a kayak. The trip taught me a lot about targeting redfish, and it marked the beginning of my kayak fishing obsession.
Galveston Kayak Fishing Tips
From October to November, I’m almost guaranteed to find schools of redfish. Use a seven-foot medium-fast ACK TKS casting rod paired a classic Lew’s Speed Spool reel and 20-pound Tasline braid. I look for shallow lakes and work drains creating an eddy on the outgoing tide. Stay on the move, searching along the marsh for nervous shrimp.
To find structure in deeper water, use a Humminbird 5 G2 SI fish finder with side-imaging sonar. Keep it simple with soft-plastic paddletails or one-knocker topwater lure. I start with a Boca Chica Flex Mullet on a 1/8-ounce jighead. When conditions are calm, I toss a five-inch Zara Super Spook.
I can expect to experience both shallow and deep water in Galveston Bay. I think its most important to prepare for shallow water fishing with a paddle kayak. An Ocean Kayak Trident 13 is perfect for the marsh. When the water is dirty, and the fish are sensitive, mobility and stealth will get bites. The Trident gets into tight sloughs where redfish hide.
Where to Launch
For a quick and easy kayak fishing experience hit an area called The Lagoon. I find redfish and speckled trout in one to five feet of water. To fish the marsh, I head west of the Tiki Islands.
Where to Stay in Galveston
For a posh end to a hard day’s fishing, stay at South Shore Harbour Resort. A less expensive option is the Holiday Inn in Kemah. For more room to store kayaks and trailers, find an Airbnb south of the Kemah Boardwalk.
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Where to Eat in Galveston
After kayak fishing and sightseeing, head to Galveston Seafood Company and check out the crab leg combinations.
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Other Galveston Attractions
Galveston is filled with a cultural atmosphere, and the Kemah Boardwalk has plenty of food, pubs and shopping.
This article was first published in Kayak Anger Issue 44. Subscribe to Kayak Anger and get the magazine delivered to your front door. Download the Kayak Angler Magazine+ app to seamlessly glide between the digital archives, the latest articles and videos or browse the digital archives for your desktop here.
Look out for redfish and gator trout. | Feature photo: Ben Maldonado III