Long known as one of North America and the Gulf Coast’s best fishing spots, Rockport is an angler’s dream town. We spoke with Captain Travis Wilcox who started his company, Coast Busters Guide Service, six years ago and has been a Rockport native since he was 10 years old.
Travis takes guests out on his 25 foot Mowdy catamaran, a premium shallow water fishing boat that is engineered to be unsinkable. Rockport is located on the Live Oak Peninsula between Aransas and Copano Bays and boasts such diverse conditions as grass shoals, rivers, sand bays, oyster reefs, flats, bay shallows, the intra-coastal, and of course the Gulf of Mexico itself. The Coastal Bend area is home to a network of lagoons and bays famous for the abundance of Red Drum, the state’s designated Saltwater Fish. But year round, Rockport waters are home to Speckled Trout, Black Drum, Sheeps Head, Flounder, and Red Snapper. From late summer through winter, you can head out into the deeper waters of the Gulf for big game fishing like Blackfin and Yellowfin Tuna, Mahi Mahi, Sailfish, Sharks, and Blue Marlin.
Captain Travis praises the pier at The Reserve at St. Charles Bay as an excellent shore fishing spot because it’s long, well-lit for night fishing, and has good sand beds under the pier so look forward to Flounder, Redfish, (a.k.a. Red Drum) and Speckled Trout from here.
Travis also says the pier at The Reserve is an excellent spot to pick up its residents for charters, and 25% of his business comes from these residents alone.
Travis takes out 3-4 people at a time for 5-6 hours and uses spinning rods with 7-foot medium action and 20 lb. Power Pro braided line. Whether you are new to angling or an expert, he can create the perfect experience tailored to your skill level. Travis books up fast, so call or text at least a month in advance to make sure you get your dates. On Travis’ boat, kids 13 and under must wear life jackets at all times.
When you go out with Travis, he cleans and fillets your catch for you but if you want to eat it for dinner that night and don’t fancy cooking it yourself, both Paradise Key Dockside Bar and Grill (165 Cove Harbor North, Rockport) and Moondog Seaside Eatery (100 N. Casterline Dr., Fulton) restaurants will cook it for you.
Memorable experiences abound and Travis recalls a client once caught a 7 foot Alligator Gar that weighed approximately 150 lbs.! This size fish is not good for eating; Travis says when it comes to fish smaller is tastier.
Another time out with clients, 6 dolphins surrounded Travis’ boat staying close to the surface and suddenly they saw a baby dolphin being born. The baby was about 3 feet long, wrinkly, and fuzzy like a baby seal.
For competitive fishers, just about every summer weekend there is a tournament in the area and Travis says the weigh-ins are fun and also an opportunity to buy equipment, fishing shirts, hats, and lures from vendors.
Coast Busters Guide Service also takes people out for Duck Hunting in season (November through January) and Rockport’s coastal flats are home to Green Wing and Blue Wing Teal, Redheads, Pintails, Widgeon, Spoonbills, Gadwalls, Buffleheads, and Bluebills. A special migratory game bird stamp is required in addition to a license.
Travis is an expert guide and is also entertaining and energetic, so his clients are never bored. He takes people out from age 5 to 100, so check him out at: https://www. facebook.com/coastbustersguide/