You don’t need a license to fish Saturday; plenty of local enticements planned

Published 12:34 am Friday, June 2, 2023

This weekend Texas Parks and Wildlife will host its annual Free Fishing Day, giving aspiring anglers without a fishing license a chance to cast their lines.

On Saturday, fishing can be done anywhere in the state without a license.

And Port Arthur offers one of the top spots to try it out.

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“In terms of leisure travel, the waterways are our No. 1 draw for tourism,” said Callie Summerlin, director of sales and marketing for the Port Arthur Convention and Visitors Bureau. “People come from all over for Sabine Lake. They’re going after the redfish, flounder and trout. If you catch all in one trip, it’s called the Texas Slam.”

Another large draw for local anglers is Sea Rim State Park. However, because it’s a state park, anyone can shore fish from Sea Rim without a license.

Still, Sea Rim will be celebrating the day.

On Saturday from 9 a.m. until noon, they will host a shore fishing clinic. According to information from Sea Rim, attendees will learn how to set up a shore fishing rig and tie knots. There is no additional expense outside of the $3 entry fee for those 13 and older. Coolers are also welcome.

“Of course if you go up the Neches River, people can fresh water fish,” Summerlin said. “But our draw to the coast is saltwater fishing.”

In addition, she said, participants can fish from the jetties, the many piers on Pleasure Island and even kayak fish in the bayous.

“There are many ways people can get on the water,” she said. “They don’t have to have a $100,000 boat.”

Those that do have a boat, however, can now use 4 Pier Boat Launch in Sabine Pass, which reopened this week after months of renovations.

The Port Arthur Convention and Visitors Bureau produces the Sabine Lake Area Waterways guide, which includes a pullout, waterproof map.

Summerlin said the guide is free and available at the office in Robert A. “Bob” Bowers Civic Center. Or, visit and fill out a form to have a free copy mailed to a residence.

Also on the website under the “Things to Do” tab is a complete guide to local fishing.