Looking for your next island getaway? South Padre Island has everything you are looking for in a tropical vacation: beautiful sandy beaches, great food, activities for the whole family and best of all it is a short car or plane ride away from anywhere in Texas. Once you cross over the Queen Isabella Causeway onto the Island, you will know you are in for a one of a kind getaway and you won’t even need your car. The Island is very walkable, at only 4.5 miles long and half a mile wide, so ditch your car keys and just walk, bike, or golf cart anywhere you want to go.
South Padre Island might be best known for its Spring Break crowds, but it has so much more to offer. The beaches are clean with light sand and clear water. The bay that surrounds the island is very shallow which allows for clear water and warm water temperatures which are great for water activities of all kinds including fishing.
The temperate climate of South Texas makes SPI a great fishing destination year-round and there are so many options on where and how to fish, you’ll never get bored. Sea food lovers will also rejoice, because not only can you catch some great fresh fish in SPI, but you can also take them to a number of island restaurant’s and have them cook your catch any way you like it. It is so popular, that South Padre Island even named January 23rd – Cook Your Catch Day.
I have curated a list of where and how to fish, as well as a list of restaurants that will cook your catch. Start packing for your next road trip or plane ride – you’re gonna love South Padre Island.
Fishing: Where & How
Deep Sea Fishing
Charter a boat and head out to the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico. There are several charter companies on the island that will provide everything you need including bait and tackle. One of the best things about chartering a boat is that the captain and deckhands are knowledgeable the best fishing locations and helpful with things like baiting your hook cleaning your catch.
What is surf fishing? Surf fishing or surf casting as it is sometimes called, is fishing from the beach. All you have to do is walk out into the water, cast your line, and then plant your rod and reel into the sand. Keep your eyes on your line and let the waves do the work for you. You can surf fish anywhere on the island, but you will want to be somewhere without a lot of people around, so that no one gets snagged in your line. Best thing about surf fishing is that you get all the benefits of enjoying the beach AND fishing at the same time.
If you don’t like to get wet and the thought of being on a fishing boat turns you green, then jetty fishing might be your best bet. Isla Blanca Park or Pirate’s Landing Fishing Pier are local favorites for jetty fishing.
Fishing: Eat & Drink
Ok, now for the good stuff…FOOD! One of the best things about fishing is eating your catch and you can do just that at any one of these popular SPI restaurants. Any of the knowledgeable chefs on the island can advise you on the best way to prepare your catch. Some popular ways are: baked, fried, blackened or grilled and let your imagination run wild with the seasonings.
Sea Ranch Restaurant is an island staple, because of its cool atmosphere and delicious food. One of their specialties is serving a whole fish Cubano style. This isn’t for the faint of heart – everything is left on the fish including eyes, scales and teeth, BUT it is delicious.
The Painted Marlin Grille is a must while you are in SPI. Whether or not you have them cook your catch – you should definitely stop by for a meal. The views are gorgeous and the décor is so bright and colorful that you’ll think you are somewhere in the Caribbean instead of South Texas. The Ceviche De la Isla and Blackened Mahi Mahi Tacos are both menu standouts.
F&B SPI is the island’s newest fine dining restaurant. Executive Chef and owner, Walter Greenwood brings a wealth of experience to the island. He has cooked in restaurants all over the country including Las Vegas, New Orleans and Los Angeles. Letting Chef Greenwood cook your catch would really be the ultimate vacation meal, but if you would rather just eat at F&B, it will be an experience you won’t regret. Try the Whole Salt Crusted Fish, not only is it Instagram worthy, but it will set the bar high for any seafood meal you have after it.
Photo Credit: Cover Photo & Jetties at Sunset Courtesy of South Padre Island CVB. Photo Credit for all other photos: Gabi De la Rosa