SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Monday marks the 4th annual National Cook Your Catch Day where South Padre Island visitors can catch their own fish and have it cooked by participating restaurants.  

Whether you’re an experienced angler or have never fished a day in your life, SPI is home to a number of guides and charter companies that will help you hook, clean, and package your catch, ready to be cooked to your liking locally.  

“Not having to clean up is probably the best part and just knowing that you’ve got fresh fish,” says fisherman and private guide Daniel Cole. “If you get a fish from a restaurant, sometimes you don’t really know how old it is. When you catch it on the boat and then bring it to the restaurant, you don’t get any fresher than that.”   

While restaurants allow you to choose between fried, blackened, or seasoned fillets, restaurants like Mahi Nic go as far as prepping your catch into tasty tacos.  

William Nichols, the owner of Mahi Nic, told Valley Central, “If you’re not doing a good job for your customers, and they don’t enjoy coming here and, and not only enjoy the food but enjoy the experience, they’re not going to be as likely to come back, so we try to do any little things we can do.” 

This custom has attracted tourists from all parts of the country to experience the gulf-to-table experience.  

It has also helped connect diverse businesses into a unified community.  

Cole said, “Community is a good word because we do send each other business and we all kind of help each other out. It’s nice to know that if somebody goes to a restaurant, they know which guides are good, and they’ll refer their clients to good fishermen. And we refer our clients to good restaurants, so it works out both ways.” 

For a list of South Padre Island restaurants that participate in the Cook Your Catch tradition, visit https://www.sopadre.com/cook-your-catch/.