A little sand shark I caught surf fishing
The Texas Gulf coast has miles and miles of beaches. You generally don't see anything about them in any travel guides though. Everyone has heard of South Padre Island and the Spring Break festivities that occur down there, but the area up near my home town isn't as well known. I live in Beaumont, Texas and our little strip of beach paradise is down at a place called Crystal Beach. To put the location in perspective for those who aren't familiar with the area, Crystal Beach is on the east side of Galveston Bay and about 70 miles west of Louisiana. The main reason why this area of Texas isn't known for its beaches is because the water really isn't that appealing.
Rough conditions for surf fishing
We can blame Minnesota and the other states along the Mississippi River for this. Before I start losing you, let me try and tie all this together. I see people scratching their heads and wondering what the heck Minnesota has to do with Texas beaches. As water flows south down the Mississippi River it carries dirt (i.e. silt) with it. This is what gives the Mississippi it's nice coffee, brown color. As the Mississippi River flows out in to the Gulf of Mexico, currents carry this silt east along Louisiana and Texas which murks up the water.
Dirt and currents aside, the beaches in southeast Texas really are alot of fun. Since they aren't gorgeous like those in Florida they aren't as uptight about things such as driving on the beach. Due to these relaxed beach rules, a whole beach tailgating community has developed.
Having some drinks while we fish
On any given summer weekend you'll find the beach packed for miles with cars and trucks containing young people and families soaking up the sun, fishing, throwing a football or frisbee, or just getting drunk. This laid back, drunk crowd provides endless hours of entertainment. It's fun to hop in the car, roll down the windows and drive down the beach to see what sort of excitement you can find or who all is hanging out.
I like to head down there with friends and rent a beach cabin for the weekend. We generally get a cabin in a neighborhood called Holiday Beach which is a little bit away from the more popular part of the beach so that we can do some fishing. Fishing success is a bit dependent on weather conditions. As I mentioned before, the water is a bit dirty at times, but if you can get a nice south or southeast wind it'll help clear up the water a bit and you'll have some great fishing conditions.
Caught some bait and made a fish cocktail
The Gulf coast is great for surf or wade fishing since there are nice sandy bottoms. You can usually wade fish in the mornings for speckled trout or surf fish for redfish and small sharks. I usually prefer to surf fish since this requires the least amount of attention on my part. We take a cast net out in the water and catch small bait fish. Then you bait your hook, walk out as far as you can, cast, and come back in. That's the hard part. After that you just put the rod in a rod holder and drink beer. We generally do more drinking than catching fish, but it's part of the fun.
I mentioned before that Crystal Beach is on the east side of Galveston Bay. Obviously Galveston city is on the other side of the bay and it is a pretty popular beach spot for those who live in Houston or close by.
Everyone having fun in the back
I'd recommend Crystal Beach instead simply because it has better beach access and is more laid back. Galveston has sea walls so you cant drive down on the beach and there aren't beach front cabins. So if you live in Texas and you're thinking about heading to the beach, give Crystal Beach a shot. I know you won't be disappointed.