Grabbing a line and heading out to catch fish from dawn until the dark forces you back home is what life is all about.  But, as with everything in life, fishing comes with rules and regulations in every state but we will cover a few in the state of Texas.  So, before you grab your gear and head out to sink a line, take a look at those regulations so that you know to keep everything proper in the legal sense.

The basics

Firstly, you need a license unless you are fishing on the first Saturday of June, which is Free Fishing Day in Texas.  If you are under 17 and fishing in fresh water, or you were born before January 1st, 1931, you also are not required to have a license.

Everyone else is required to have a proper license to your status (student, senior, non-resident, etc).  There are different kinds of packages that you can look at, but a license is critical to being able to set a line up and enjoy the day.

There are a series of endorsements that you can look at, too, for fishing including a free water fishing endorsement and more.  It’s worth your while to look at the different tags and endorsements that you can put into place… and keep up to date with the rules and regulations as they are updated with the Texas Parks and Wildlife.


In 2017, there were additional restrictions put into place for fishing, and some of the highlights include the following notes.

Firstly, for those who are fishing off shore, a lot of the regulations were changed to make them work with federal rules.  Additionally, when catching scalloped, smooth and great hammerhead sharks, the total length can be nothing less than 99 inches.  Additionally, for the Nassau grouper, this species is not allowed to be harvested due to its threatened status.  There are more additions, but these ones show the basics.


When measuring your fish, you need to get them accurate to the last millimeter, so make sure that you are measuring them properly.

For a soft-tailed fish, you need to measure from the tip of its closed mouth to the end of its squeezed tail.  That will give you the measurement.  For a hard-tailed fish, you turn the tail and measure from its closed mouth to that turned tip to get the maximum length.

Catch and Release

Catching and releasing is definitely a great option to consider.  When you are looking to catch and release, you need to remember that speed is going to be your number one helper.  Firstly, you need to reel the fish in gently and at a steady pace.  Remove the hook carefully and focus on keeping the fish in the water for as long as possible before removing it.  Gentle but fast movements are going to be the number one thing to focus on.

Sure, these legalities and rules are seemingly tedious, but remember that the goal in fishing is to make sure that everyone is on the same page to keep fishing as comfortable and humane as possible so everyone can enjoy it.

Keep in mind that Galveston Fishing Charter Captains also stay on top of the local fishing rules and will do everything we can to be sure you are compliant on your fishing charter trip. Contact us to schedule your fishing trip today.