Texas Gulf Coast Fishing

Texas Gulf Coast Fishing

Saltwater Fishing Information for the Texas Gulf Coast, Inshore and Offshore

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Bag and Length Limits for Saltwater Fish

Texas State Waters - Federal Waters

Texas recreational and commercial fishermen fishing more than nine (9) nautical miles off the coast of Texas are in federal waters and are subject to rules and regulations that may differ from those in state waters. An example would be the federal requirement to use non-stainless circle hooks when fishing for reef fish. Recreational anglers must have a Texas fishing license and saltwater endorsement to bring any fish taken in federal waters ashore in Texas. To ensure that you are in compliance with federal regulations, you should contact the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council at (888) 833-1844 (toll free) or visit their website

The limits and restrictions in this guide apply to aquatic life caught in the public waters of Texas out to nine (9) nautical miles in the Gulf of Mexico, and also apply to aquatic life caught between 9 and 200 nautical miles in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and landed in this state. (Federal law also regulates species between 9 and 200 nautical miles managed under a Federal Fishery Management Plan.)

Bag and Length Limits

Statewide Bag and Length Limits for Saltwater Fish
Species Daily Bag Length in Inches
(Minimum-Maximum)
Amberjack, Greater 1 34 — No limit
Bass: striped, its hybrids and subspecies

5
(in any combination)

18 — No limit
Catfish: channel and blue catfish,
their hybrids and subspecies
25
(in any combination)
12 — No limit
Catfish, flathead 5 18 — No limit
Catfish, gafftopsail No limit 14 — No limit
Cobia 2 37 — No limit
Drum, black a 5 14 — 30 a
Drum, red b 3 20 — 28 b
Flounder: all species, their hybrids and subspeciesc 5/2 c
(in any combination)
14 — No limit c
Gar, alligator 1 No limit — No limit
Grouper, gag 2 22 — No limit
Grouper, goliath (formerly called Jewfish) 0 Catch and release only
Mackerel, king 2 27 — No limit
Mackerel, Spanish 15 14 — No limit
Marlin, blue No limit 131 — No limit
Marlin, white No limit 86 — No limit
Mullet: all species, their hybrids
and subspecies d
No limit No limit — 12 d (during Oct., Nov., Dec. & Jan.)
Sailfish No limit 84 — No limit
Seatrout, spotted All waters south of FM 457 - 5
All waters north of FM 457 - 10
15 - 25 f
Sharks    
• Atlantic sharpnose, blacktip, bonnethead 1
24 — No limit
• other allowable shark species See special regulation g below 64 — No limit
• prohibited species h 0 Catch and release only
Sheepshead 5 15 —No limit
Snapper, lane No limit 8 — No limit
Snapper, red i 4 15 — No limit
Snapper, vermilion No limit 10 — No limit
Snook 1 24 — 28
Tarpon 1 85 — no limit
Triggerfish, gray 20 16— No limit
Tripletail 3 17 — no limit

a Black drum: No more than one black drum over 52 inches may be retained per person per day and counts as part of the daily bag and possession limit.

b Red drum special regulation: During a license year, one red drum over the stated maximum length limit may be retained when affixed with a properly completed Red Drum Tag and one red drum over the stated maximum length limit may be retained when affixed with a properly completed Bonus Red Drum Tag. Any fish retained under authority of a Red Drum Tag or a Bonus Red Drum Tag may be retained in addition to the daily bag and possession limit as stated in this section.

c Flounder special regulation: Daily bag is 5 fish except from Nov. 1-30, when the daily bag limit is 2 fish and flounder may be taken only by pole-and-line; and from December 1-14, when the daily bag limit is 2 fish and flounder may be taken by any legal means. Possession limit is equal to the daily bag.

d Mullet: May not take from public waters, or possess on board a boat, mullet over 12 inches during October, November, December, and January. No limits apply during other months.

f Spotted Seatrout: No more than one spotted seatrout over the stated maximum length may be retained per person per day and counts as part of the daily bag and possession limit.

g Special Regulation: the daily bag limit is 1 fish for all allowable shark species including Atlantic sharpnose, blacktip, and bonnethead.

h Prohibited shark species: Atlantic angel, Basking Bigeye sand tiger, Bigeye sixgill, Bigeye thresher, Bignose, Caribbean reef, Caribbean sharpnose, Dusky, Galapagos, Longfin mako, Narrowtooth, Night, Sandbar, Sand tiger, Sevengill, Silky, Sixgill, Smalltail, Whale, and White.

i Red snapper may be taken using pole and line, but it is unlawful to use any kind of hook other than a circle hook.