San Luis Pass is a strait of water at the south-western end of Galveston Island off the Texas Gulf Coast of the U.S. state of Texas. It connects the sheltered waters of West Bay to the open Gulf of Mexico. Fishermen and swimmers have been killed in the Pass’ treacherous waters, largely due to the aggressive oceanic currents of Gulf Stream, fluctuating tides in marginal sea, marine sediment, and uncertainties of continental margin. The San Luis Pass-Vacek Toll Bridge spans San Luis Pass from Galveston County to Brazoria County.

Redfish, also known as Red Drum, Channel Bass, or Spottail Bass, are a popular gamefish found along the Gulf Coast and parts of the Atlantic Coast of the United States. They are a hardy fish that can withstand a wide range of temperatures and environments. This makes them catchable year-round in pretty much all the places they are found. They can even live in freshwater and frequently swim up tidal creeks and rivers.

Redfish are a member of the Drum family and may make a characteristic grunting/drumming sound when pulled out of the water. They sometimes interbreed with their cousin the Black Drum. Their coloration ranges from almost silver to a bright coppery red (see pics at the bottom for some examples).

Redfish prey on crustaceans such as shrimp and crabs as well as many species of baitfish such as mullet, pinfish, lizardfish, etc. They happily pounce on a wide range of live and dead baits as well as artificial lures. They are often a good candidate for sight fishing when they are shallow, sometimes “tailing” with their noses down and tails out of the water while feeding. They are also frequently caught in the surf and off of jetties, making them very accessible to a wide range of anglers.

Redfish put up a solid tussle, with some bulldogging towards the bottom and some long runs, especially from the larger ones. They don’t really jump or head for cover, and you can land some very large ones on light tackle if you have some patience and wait for them to tire. For the bigger ones, heavy tackle is a plus in lifting them, especially in deeper water or near structure.

Redfish are often found near rocks or oyster beds, so it pays to use a fluorocarbon leader of 20-50lbs to help avoid breakoffs. They are not particularly line-shy. You can catch some very large ones on relatively light tackle, especially when they are found in shallow water away from structure. Largemouth Bass tackle, especially things that will stand up to saltwater corrosion, is sufficient in many situations.

Field Trips with Robert Field