Hi, I'm Cade. I'm just your everyday do it yourself kind of guy with a great passion for the outdoors. Like many of you, I have often found myself a little lost when planning a fishing trip to a new area. Well, break out your Hook-N-Line Fishing Map and follow me each month as I travel along the Texas coast, learning the ins and outs of fishing the salt waters along the way.
Often referred to as East Matty, East Matagorda Bay is located approximately 1.5 average driving time from Houston, TX. East Matagorda Bay is most commonly accessed through the town of Matagorda which is nestled on the ICW and the westernmost corner of the bay, but East Matty can also be accessed via the communities of Sargent and Chinquapin. East Matagorda Bay is separated from the larger West Matagorda Bay by the Colorado River and marsh land on either side of the river. There is road access to the eastern end of the bay and accessing the marshes and south shoreline is popular from the Gulf beach by fisherman and duck hunters alike.
When and Weather
I turned to the input of my friends on TexasKayakFisherman.com in helping me select East Matagorda for some early spring season fishing. The fishing reports and direct input from the website users really got my friend Cory and me pumped for some good fishing action. It is still the early part of the year and air temps never got above the mid-60s. For the most part we had sunny skies and a pretty steady NE wind from 10-15 mph.
Tackle and Gear
ROD: Castaway Skeleton 7' M
REEL: Shimano Curado
LINE: Berkley Trilene 15lb monofilament, clear
LURE: TTF Big Mino, Pumpkin/Chartreuse. 1/8oz jighead
If you show up in Matagorda and realize you forgot some of your tackle, Stanley's general store has you covered. For bait, stop by Rawlings on south FM 2031, also Russell's Bait and Tackle is located in the Matagorda Harbor and has a surprising selection.
Hitting the water
Cory and I had two days to fish and we focused our effort on two separate areas. On Day One we concentrated on what is known as the Old Gulf Cut, launching from the side of South Gulf Road. Old Gulf Cut is a channel that runs between the ICW and East Matagorda Bay and is known to be a good year 'round spot for trout, reds, and flounder. I hooked a flounder first cast at the cut but to be honest being near the opening of the cut was not ideal for a kayaker in my opinion. I learned quickly that the cut is the primary corridor for all classes of vessels accessing the bay. Cory and I decided to get away from the crowd and traffic and headed to some nearby reefs further out in the bay.
Day Two we moved our efforts down to the southwest corner of East Bay. Rawlings Bait Camp has a kayak launch site directly across the street and with a short paddle through the marsh bayou you are in the bay. The wind was coming directly into our face as we reached the bay. A handful of other kayakers had beaten us to the water, positioned up the shoreline to our left. We set our sights on paddling to what's called Three Mile Reef, and then let the wind drift us back toward the shore where the other kayakers were.
The majority of our lure technique was bumping soft plastics across the bottom and over shell and mud. On the drift we picked up a couple of sand trout, using the popular TTF Hackberry Hustler. As we reached the area the other kayakers had previously been, I tied on a TTF Big Minnow. Second cast and I landed a good red. Shortly after that a speckled trout took the lure. Unfortunately as the action picked up it was time to head home.
With 4wd you could access the south shoreline through the marsh, from the Gulf beach. A couple of duck hunters that passed us while we fished the Old Gulf Cut mentioned seeing redfish on the south shoreline while they hunted.
Where to eat and where to sleep
Before we hit the water, Cory and I stopped in Stanley's Food Market to pick up some water and snacks. I ran into Jerry, the owner, and John, the manager. After a few minutes of discussion I felt I had two new friends. John is an avid angler and was able to give us a couple of tips.
It was not hard to talk ourselves into a nice sit down meal after nearly ten hours on the water Day One. River Bend Tavern and Restaurant was recommended to me and fully met all expectations. They have a complete menu from seafood to burgers; the atmosphere is fun and friendly with billiard tables and shuffleboard. Snapper's Bar and Grill and Waterfront Restaurant are a couple of other good choices.
Cory and I made a primitive camping trip out of this adventure. We opted to make camp at the LCRA Matagorda Nature Park camping facility. RV and general camping are allowed on the grounds. The facilities are in immaculate shape and the employees are very friendly. The nature park can accommodate the entire family, with clean facilities, easy access fishing piers, and a natural science center to learn about the area.
If you are seeking a motel, the Shell Motel located just behind Stanley's and the Fisherman's Motel have got you covered. For a more luxurious stay, The Lodge at Karankawa Village has very nice accommodations. Full Stringer Realty can assist with house rentals and real estate sales and KW Luxury Homes has listings in the area.
The Other Angles
East Matagorda Bay and the surrounding area provide an abundance of fishing opportunity. At the LCRA campgrounds there are two lighted piers over the Colorado River, not to mention the large pier stretching out into the Gulf from the LCRA picnic area. A quick walk from the picnic area to the beach running along the Colorado River, night fisherman set up lights and fish until sun up. For surf fishing, the Gulf beach runs along the south shoreline of the bay.
While you are in Matagorda you might also want to check out Lena's Landing Gift Shop for a generous helping of hand-dipped ice cream and an assortment of coastal gifts. B&K Driftwood Art Studio is another place to check out if taking home something special helps earn your next fishing pass.
Like I mentioned last month for Christmas Bay, East Matty is well set up for kayakers with plenty of skinny water and easy access launch points.
I truly enjoyed my visit to Matagorda. Maybe it was the sense of community I picked up on or maybe it was the beauty of East Matty itself - regardless, my experience was very good and I highly recommend the area for DIY anglers seeking to expand their fishing horizons. If you have never been to Matagorda you need to put it on your list.
Thanks again to the guys at TexasKayakFisherman.com. With the recommendation from some of the seasoned anglers, I came about selecting East Matty as my destination. If you are a Texas kayaker, check out the website. You can get a lot of kayak and fishing info, fishing reports, launch sites, as well as meeting new friends.
For questions regarding this article, I can be reached at 936-776-7028, by email to [email protected], or find me on Facebook to follow along in my outdoor adventures.