Deep Blue Sea: Capt. David Leal

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — It’s quite a feeling for Capt. David Leal when he’s out on a charter fishing trip.

“It’s really exciting because you don’t know what’s in store for you,” Leal said. “It could be the best day of your life.”

Leal has made a living on the waters off South Padre Island since he graduated from high school.

And he takes a lot of pride in taking people fishing.

“I love to see people I take fishing having a good time fishing,” Leal said. “There is never a dull moment and I’m always trying to put fish on the boat.”

Leal’s life on the Island all started after high school when he opened a Jet Ski rental service when he was 18. But over the years he’s made his living with his fishing service, taking anglers on an adventure on the bay or as far as the Brownsville Ship Channel.

Leal has been fishing all his life and he’s a certified captain with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

“A lot of people don’t realize what we have out here,” Leal said. “Fishing is a great treasure we have out here in the Rio Grande Valley.”

Leal said he started fishing the Brownsville Ship Channel with his father because that’s where his grandfather took his father fishing. And it’s one of the fishing holes he takes his son fishing for the elusive snook.

He said there are several species in the ship channel. He normally catches two- to six-pound fish there, but 17-pound fish or bigger are not uncommon.

Leal caught a 17-pound grouper using light tackle and he said the fight to land the fish is something he will never forget.

“It’s an incredible feeling,” Leal said. “To get that fish out of that particular spot he was really wonderful.”

He has been in business for more than 20 years on the Island.

He takes his tours and does all his fishing in the Lower Laguna Madre, Port Isabel and South Padre Island’s calm waters.

“I enjoy the people’s faces when you see them catch these fish,” Leal said.

When fishing with Capt. Leal, all his guests need to do is come out ready to go fishing.

“I have all new equipment,” he said. “We use seven-foot rods with Shimano reels. All the fishing equipment is included on the trip.”

“If you’re looking for a professional and respectful guide who is always thinking safety first and knows where to find a big catch, you’ve found your captain,” Leal said.

If You Go

To go fishing with Capt. David Leal contact him through his website at