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Texas was the first state to build a saltwater fish hatchery according to the website GoFishn.com. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) banned all saltwater commercial fishing for spotted seatrout and red drum, but recreational saltwater anglers in the Galveston area can catch these and many more types of saltwater species year-round.
These fish, also known by other names including bull red, rat red and redfish, usually grow to 22 to 24 inches and 6 to 8 lbs. In 2009, approximately 5.7 million fingerling-sized red drum were stocked in Galveston Bay by the Texas Department of Fish and Wildlife. They have been stocked there regularly in various quantities since 1992. The website Galveston.com recommends fishing for red drum at Seawolf Park's fishing pier or at any of Galveston's free seawall, rock groins or breakwater areas.
Spotted seatrout, according to the website Galveston.com, are also commonly found at Seawolf Park or along Galveston's many seawalls. Spotted seatrout are smaller-sized marine fish that weigh 2 to 3 lbs. and are distinguished by darker gray or green backs, a silver-white underbelly, and round spots. The females are larger than males with respective lengths of 25 and 19 inches. The Texas Department of Fish and Wildlife stocked approximately 1.4 million fingerling-sized spotted seatrout in Galveston Bay in 2009, where they have been stocked regularly since 1980.
Tarpon are often caught in the fall around Galveston. They are a giant saltwater fish species with a 1973 Texas record of 210 lbs., 86.25 inches. Also known as silver king, tarpon have large, flat-shaped scales that have a diameter of up to 3 inches, respective elongated dorsal and anal fins, and a large, bottom-heavy jaw. They can often be found in the brackish water around channels or in the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico not far from beach. According to the Texas Parks and Wildlife, southern Texas, which includes Galveston Bay, has the highest percentage of tarpon fishing in the state.
Open Water Saltwater Species
Several more salt water species live off the coast of Galveston Bay in lesser numbers. They include the American eel, black drum, greater amberjack, Florida Pompano, common snook, crevalle jack, tripletail and cobia.
Other Saltwater Species
Many other salt water species are sought by anglers in Galveston Bay's shallow waters and estuaries. They include pinfish, pigfish, catfish, Atlantic croaker, cutlassfish and southern Flounder.
Leah Waldron is the head of Traveler Services at First Abroad, a gap year travel company based in Boston and London. As a travel, research and LGBT news writer, Waldron has publication credit on magazines and newspapers including "Curve Magazine," "USA Today," "The Sun Sentinel" and the "The Houston Chronicle." Waldron has a bachelor's and master's degree in creative writing from Florida State University.