The South Padre Island Convention & Visitor Bureau named January 23rd Cook Your Catch Day. They reached out and invited me out to celebrate this food-centric day with other food writers. It turns out you don’t need to be great at fishing to enjoy fishing, especially at a fishing-friendly destination like South Padre Island. There are guides who can help teach you the ins and outs of this relaxing pastime. They can be there to support you when your line catches something delicious (or let you know when you got yourself a poisonous catfish)! And to make your experience even better, there are South Padre restaurants that will cook your catch!
Consider Hiring a Fishing Guide
Fishing guides make fishing so accessible to the average person. They not only navigate the waters for you, but they could also teach you how to use your fishing rod and identify the fish you’re reeling in. Our group ended up reeling up some poisonous hardheaded catfish. Without the help of our guides, Osprey Cruises, I wouldn’t have been able to tell! The captain and first mate were fun-loving, patient teachers.
Where to get your fish cleaned:
If you are also new to fish cleaning, you can seek help during your trip too! Your guides may offer to clean the fish or you can enlist the help of skilled fish cleaners at various piers. The Osprey Cruises Captain helped us clean up our fishes and cut them into fillets. He fed the rest of the fish parts to these hungry pelicans.
Three South Padre Island Restaurants that Will Cook Your Catch
After your fun day of fishing, I hope you’ve caught your lunch or dinner! Being as you might be on vacation with limited kitchen access, try one of these three restaurants who will cook your catch!
F&B Serves Elevated Fine Dining Dishes with Island Casual Vibes
F&B was our last full meal during our trip, and it was such an exceptional meal that I had to tell you about them first! This fine-dining restaurant still has a casual island vibe. The fine-dining categorization applies to their excellent service and creative dishes. They’ll cook your fish (and or lobster!). They served us this immaculate steamed lobster topped with fresh slivers of black truffles that I will continue to dream about. Their red snapper crudo using kumquats from their own garden had an amazing tangy broth that we all wanted to slurp up. For their main course, they salted a whole redfish for us. They served it alongside a decadent risotto.
Below is a video of the salted fish and dessert spread embedded from IGTV.
And just when I thought I couldn’t eat another bite, they brought out FIVE desserts, including warm chocolate chip cookies and chocolate soufflés, two of my favorite things.
In short, make sure you visit F&B (whether you have a catch for them to cook or not) when you’re traveling to South Padre Island
3109 Padre Blvd, South Padre Island, TX 78597
Gaze at the Beach from Painted Marlin’s Patio
With a view of the ocean right from your table, the Painted Marlin Grille has colorful and breezy vibes. You’ll find casual fare here with some mean “boattails.” We ordered our catch prepared three ways at The Painted Marlin, fried, grilled, and blackened and dined family style. Their menu is of course seafood forward, but you will also see cheeseburgers and fries on their menu!
The Painted Marlin Grille
202 W Whiting St, South Padre Island, TX 78597
Sea Ranch Restaurant will Fry Your Fish Whole
We started our trip at the Sea Ranch and I love that you can choose between fillets, fish cheeks, or a whole fish when you order their fish dishes. Just like Painted Marlin and F&B, Sea Ranch will also happily take your catch and cook it for you!
33330 State Park Rd 100, South Padre Island, TX 78597
And that concludes a short recap on our day celebrating Cook Your Catch Day with South Padre Island Visitor Bureau. The next time you’re visiting this gorgeous island, consider scheduling some fishing time! There’s something relaxing about floating out in the ocean while you wait for a catch. It seems like a unique way to bond with your squad.
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