Redfish Size and Bag Limit in Texas

Due to strict Texas redfish size and bag limits, it’s very important for recreational anglers to know when they are in season, and the rules and regulations governing their catch for 2023.

The state of Texas redfish catch limit for a recreational saltwater angler is 3 daily with a minimum length limit of 20″ to and a maximum length limit of 28″.

Redfish season in Texas state waters in the Gulf of Mexico is year-round and statewide daily bag limits must be upheld.

Federal regulation prohibits redfish caught by recreational fishermen in federal waters.

Enacted by George Bush in 1987, federal regulations and legislation added redfish as a protected species so each state has its own laws and guidelines on how many redfish you can keep, when redfish fish for them, and what the bag size limits are. Redfish regulations will vary from state to state and knowing the correct laws, rules, and regulations will help you avoid fines and tickets and keep you from breaking any laws.

The overall goal is to be a smart angler armed with all of the necessary information from each wildlife commission or wildlife department to enjoy each Texas redfish outing to its fullest. Here we hope to provide all anglers fishing for redfish in Texas with a brief guide to redfish season, slot limit laws, rules, and regulations for fishing in local waters.

This fishing guide will explore the Texas redfish limit, how to measure redfish to stay within length limits, any special regulation or rule changes for recreational fishing or commercial fishing, and the dates that redfish are in season. As mentioned above, the daily bag limit of red drum or single black drum and the possession of redfish in Texas is 3.

Texas Redfish Catch & Bag Size Limit

Texas Redfish Daily Limit: 3

Texas Redfish Minimum Size: 20″ to 28″

A Texas redfish bag limit is the number of a single species you can catch and take with you in a single day. The possession limit is the number of a single species you can have in your possession at one time; it is a combined total of your daily take and anything you have stored at home.

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 the 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.

-Texas Parks and Wildlife

When Is Texas Redfish Season?

Redfish season in Texas state waters is year-round.

Fishing for redfish is illegal in federal waters. Learn more about redfish season, size and bag limits, and state laws on our redfish index page.

angler following texas redfish size and bag limits

How To Measure Redfish To Abide by Texas Size and Bag Limits

For most finfish, such as redfish, size limit regulations use either Fork Length or Total Length.

Total Length is measured from the most forward point of the head, with the mouth closed, to the farthest tip of the tail with the tail compressed or squeezed, while the fish is lying on its side.

Total Length species include but are not limited to snappers, groupers, red drum, black drum, snook, spotted seatrout, weakfish, tripletail, bonefish, sheepshead, and flounder.

Steps to measure redfish:

  1. Lay the redfish out on a flat surface with its jaw closed.
  2. For the soft-tailed redfish and scrunch up the tail to obtain the maximum length it can reach.
  3. Next, measure a very straight line from the tip of the snout to the furthest part of the tail as you hold it scrunched up.

When using a flexible measuring tape, please remember to take a straight line measurement and do not follow the contour of the fish as this will result in an inaccurate measurement greater the than the straight line measurement. For best results, place flexible measuring tapes flat on a hard surface and measure fish accordingly.

Texas Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
texas redfish size and bag limit how to measure

Common Characteristics of Redfish:

Redfish are very popular inshore species and extremely fun to catch.

Anglers from Texas and all over the world often visit the United States coast every year to try their luck at catching them. They provide an awesome fight and are delicious to eat. Many fishing charters along the coast offer redfish excursions as well.

What Do Redfish Look Like?

  • Typically iridescent silver-gray with a copper cast
  • One or more oscillated spots on the upper sides from below the soft portion of the dorsal fin to the base of the caudal fin
  • Mouth inferior and horizontal, teeth set in bands on both jaws
  • Chin without barbels, smooth pre-opercular margin
  • Adults utilize nearshore and inshore bottom habitats, such as tidal creeks, oyster reefs, and beaches, typically over sandy or sandy-mud bottoms; may also congregate in nearshore groups.
  • Juveniles inhabit estuaries near shallow tidal creeks and salt marshes, commonly at marsh grass edges or in the vicinity of oyster reefs; reside in deeper river channels during winter. Subadults inhabit larger tidal creeks, rivers, and the front beaches of barrier islands.

What Is Redfish Average Size and Age?

  • 18 inches, 2.6 pounds
  • Approximately 38 years although some have been reported to live much longer.
redfish caught in texas under size bag limit

What Species Known as Redfish Fall Under Texas Limits?

It’s important to know the types of species that are known as redfish and are governed by state laws and regulations.

Redfish is a common name for several species of fish. It is most commonly applied to certain deep-sea rockfish in the genus Sebastes, red drum from the genus Sciaenops or the reef dwelling snappers in the genus Lutjanus. It is also applied to the slimeheads or roughies (family Trachichthyidae), and the alfonsinos.

Redfish on Wikipedia
ImageRedfish SpeciesCommon Names for Redfish
redfish species centroberyx affinis eastern nannygaiCentroberyx affinisRedfish, eastern nannygai
redfish species etelis oculatus queen snapperEtelis oculatusQueen snapper
redfish species lutjanus buccanella blackfin snapperLutjanus buccanellaBlackfin snapper
redfish species lutjanus campechanus snapperLutjanus campechanusRed snapper
redfish species lutjanus erythropterus crimson snapperLutjanus erythropterusCrimson snapper
redfish species lutjanus purpureus southern red snapperLutjanus purpureusSouthern red snapper
redfish species lutjanus sebae emperor red snapperLutjanus sebaeEmperor red snapper
redfish species lutjanus synagris lane snapperLutjanus synagrisLane snapper
redfish species oncorhynchus nerka sockeye salmonOncorhynchus nerkaSockeye salmon
redfish species rhomboplites aurorubens vermillion snapperRhomboplites aurorubensVermillion snapper
redfish species sebastes fasciatus acadianSebastes fasciatusAcadian redfish
redfish species sciaenops ocellatus red drumSciaenops ocellatusRed drum
redfish species sebastes mentella deep waterSebastes mentellaDeep-water redfish
redfish species sebastes norvegicus ocean perch rose fishSebastes norvegicusOcean perch, rose fish
Species Commonly Known as Redfish

Texas Fishing License Registration for Catching Redfish

Register for your Texas fishing license at Parks and Wildlife site.

  • Resident Freshwater Fishing Package: $30.00
  • Resident Freshwater Fishing Package: $35.00
  • Resident All Water Fishing Package: $40.00
  • Non-Resident Saltwater Fishing Package: $63.00

Texas Parks and Wildlife Fishing License >>

texas redfish bag size limit license

How to Book a Redfish Charter in Texas Waters

If you’re looking for a redfish charter in Texas, check out Fishing Booker for the most efficient way to book.

FishingBooker is an online charter service for fishing trips and started in Siberia as a mere startup and quickly grew to the success it’s enjoying today. Now, with a headquarters in Virginia and boat listings in more than 1000 cities, it’s safe to say it’s one of the biggest travel agencies around the globe.

Some users like to think of FishingBooker as Airbnb for fishing, and the comparison makes sense. So, what exactly does FishingBooker do?

FishingBooker provides thousands of boat listings you can choose from for your trip. You choose the location and date you want, and the site shows you all the listings available. You choose your favorite, and then the captain contacts you.

The website doesn’t charge you more than you’d pay if you booked independently. FishingBooker makes money by taking a small commission off the trips’ deposits. It’s a win-win deal because captains only pay a tiny commission for routine jobs, and customers do not pay anything extra.

3 Popular Redfish Charters in Texas

  1. MillerTime Fishing
  2. Captain Hector Lopez Fishing
  3. Tula Charters
texas redfish charter following state size bag limits

Tips on Handling Large Redfish in Texas Waters

Larger fish like redfish are important to maintain healthy fish populations because they are typically more successful spawners. Use these tips in mind to give big fish a fighting chance at survival after catching

-Saltwater Fishing E-Regulations
  • Keep large fish in the water to reduce stress or injury to the fish. Learn more about how long before ungutted fish goes bad and what colors to wear when fishing here.
  • Use heavy tackle to bring fish in quickly, reducing the chance of exhaustion.
  • Always revive fish showing signs of exhaustion by allowing a consistent flow of water through the mouth and over the gills. Use a “figure-eight motion” if you are fishing from a stationary location.
  • Do not gaff a fish unless you intend to harvest it.
  • Use a descending device or venting tool on fish with signs of barotrauma (bloated belly, stomach projecting from the mouth, protruding intestines, bulging eyes.)

If you must remove fish from the water:

  • Get them back in the water as soon as possible.
  • Always hold them horizontally and support their weight with two hands.
  • Use wet hands, never a towel or other cloth that can remove their protective slime.
  • Keep fingers out of the eyes and gills.
  • Do not drag them over rocks, the gunnel of a boat, the side of a dock, pier or any other rough surface.

Fishing for redfish from bridges or piers:

  • Only bring fish onto the pier or bridge if you intend to harvest.
  • Only target large fish from bridges or piers if you have specialized gear (pier nets or slings) to support their full body. Bringing up large fish without proper gear or allowing them to freefall large distances can cause injury and increase mortality.
  • If you cannot properly lift the fish, cut the line as close to the fish as possible before releasing it back into the water. (This may mean walking this fish to the shore if fishing from a pier.)

Saltwater Licensing Fees for Redfish in Each State Surrounding Texas

LicenseAlabamaLouisianaFloridaAll Other States
Disabled Veterans (20%)$3.15N/AN/AN/A
Reef Fish Endorsement$10.00$10.00$10.00$10.00
State Saltwater Licensing Fees

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