Ive never fished the gulf coast and am taking the family out this week, gonna fish the bay side and beach side from the shore. Whats good to eat? Planning on using frozen shrimp for bait, worked good in Hawaii.
Speckled Trout, Spanish Mackerel, Flounder and Redfish are all good. I honestly have no idea if they're in season or not. A good place you should check out is the pier down at Seawolf park next to the old warship and submarine museum there. At night they have giant floodlights that attract the smaller bait fish, which in turn attracts tons of trout and mackeral. It can get pretty packed down there sometimes.
My dad and I used to fish there with either live shrimp or the TopDawg top water lures. Toss one of those in and if the trout are running I guarantee you'll be getting hits within 60 seconds of your line hitting the water.
Unfortunately for me, since I joined the Corps it has been several years since I've had the opportunity to fish there.
As for regular shore fishing, if you can get your hands on some live "finger mullet" (basically just a baby Mullet) hook on through the top of it's mouth and put sinker heavy enough to hold it in place about 10 or so inches up the line. Fishing the bottom like this is usually a good way to snag some larger Redfish. This same tactic using frozen shrimp might land you the occasional Redfish, Drum, Sand/Speckled Trout, or those pesky saltwater catfish.
Either way, good luck!
Other than the boat fishing, the best fishing is a drive up to Seabrook. There's a pier there that's right at the spillway of a power plant, excellent fishing.
On the west end of the island below the bridge is very popular for surf fishing. Its a channel where the fish funnel between the Gulf and the Waterway.
Crossing over to the Freeport side, there's miles of beach you can drive on, find a spot, and do surf fishing, swimming, etc. Taking the ferry over to Crystal Beach is about like the Freeport side (I haven't been there since the hurricane), however I never had as much luck fishing that stretch of beach as I did the Freeport stretch for some reason.
The Jetties in Freeport caught on ebb tide is excellent fishing.
Frozen shrimp is fine, fresh shrimp is better, and live shrimp best. You can find all three at most fishing places. Reds do best on live shrimp with poppers (a type of bobber that with a jerking motion makes a dying fish sound), and mackerel on cut bait by trolling method. Most common are hard head cats, not good but lots to catch. Amber Jacks are also plentiful and not bad eating. Tout is another live shrimp thing but usually best to be in a boat.
Unfortunately Galveston is very touristy so access is limited. Good seafood though, just go down to the ocean, head west, and look for the big Shrimp. There's three restaurants there together all good seafood, all with a nice view of the Gulf.
Just so you know, I lived just north of there for ten years and my last visit was for the Final Four in Houston. I couldn't pass up going down to Freeport and driving up the beach again as well as grabbing a bite to eat in Galveston.