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 saltwater along the way.
In this month's edition, I found myself in Port O'Connor, TX. Located at the southwest corner of Matagorda Bay, Port O'Connor is a small fishing community that packs a big punch when it comes to fishing opportunity. The goal for this adventure was to be a mixture of deep blue offshore fishing as well as some inshore action.
When and Weather
Fall season fishing! The weather was ideal during my trip. Day time highs reached around 90°F while dipping to about 70°F overnight. Skies were clear and winds were minimal.
Tackle and Gear
Not personally owning deepwater gear, we were fortunate to have Roland who was rigged perfectly for whatever we might get into. Roland is the gentleman that my buddy and I teamed up to fish with for the weekend. Our primary setups day one were offshore trolling rods and reels as well as deep sea spinning setups. Day two our sights were set on inshore fishing for sharks and tarpon. This brought out the lighter casting gear.
Bait is not hard to come by in Port O'Connor. However, for us it seemed a toss up as to who had the particular bait we wanted at the moment. One bait store would have one thing but be out of another, the trend continued at each bait shop. There are three primary bait shops on the ICW channel, one being part of the Clark's complex. Frozen mullet, ribbon fish, cigar minnows, and live shrimp completed our bait menu.
Hitting the water
We launched at Froggie's Bait Dock, excellent boat ramp and dock, good facilities all the way around. Froggie's is also one of the bait shops we visited. On to fishing, we couldn't have asked for better weather. The seas were calm and the boat cruised across the water with ease. Our direction was south-southeast after pulling through the jetties. A quick 40 mile leg and we pulled up to the first oil rig. Using bottom jigs it was no time at all before we had a fish on. Unfortunately, this time of year the snapper are not in season in the international waters; this is something you should be very aware of if snapper are your target or if you just happen to hang into one. With snapper not being our target, we reeled up and changed tactics. We tied on a couple of large trolling lures and let cruise control take over. This didn't yield any success other than helping us locate a piece of floating timber. Another quick re-tie and we tossed cut bait around the log. A school of Mahi Mahi was using the log as cover and it was hardly a blink of the eye before we had the cooler loaded with the feisty fighters. Later we found ourselves rig hopping again. At one particular location, free-lining with ribbon fish produced our limits of king mackerel.
Day two was a short one since we had to check out of the motel around lunch time. We drifted the boat in and around the jetties and fished cut mullet on the bottom. A couple of catfish, a few sharks, and seemingly as soon as we started it was time to go in.
Where to eat and where to sleep
We chose the Inn at Clark's and enjoyed the convenience of having a boat slip right below our motel room. Another great choice would be St. Christopher's Suites which also offers wet slips. If you are planning to pull your own boat to POC, the convenience of a wet slip is simply hard to beat. For folks looking to rent a house for a few days, POC Rentals and Tigrett Realty both manage area offerings. In addition, there are several RV parks in town. The Dolphin RV Park allows tent camping for you more primitive adventurers and Beacon 44 has amenities that include laundry facility, pool and stocked fishing pond, full RV hookups, Wi-Fi, etc. Beacon 44 also has a seafood market stocked year round with local delicacies from the bay and Gulf.
Port O'Connor is not even a big small town so I was surprised to see a good handful of restaurants. For the convenience factor we ate at El Mexicano Grill there in the Clark's complex. Literally walking across the parking lot separating the 'Inn' and the restaurant puts you in front of a hot meal. Even though we didn't have time to try Josie's Mexican Food I have been told they do a great job on the fresh fillets fishermen bring them and their breakfast tacos are legendary. I already have this on my list for next trip.
The Other Angles
Port O'Connor can be fished effectively from just about any angle or method. At the far east end of town is a public beach. I noted several people fishing from the shore as well as from the lighted pier. There are plenty of shallow flats for you walk-in wade fishermen at Boggy Bayou and also the Little Jetty area. Of course you can launch your boat or kayak and get to just about any type of water structure you might like fishing.
This was my first trip to Port O'Connor. Fishing offshore is not a regular occurrence for me so it was fun to change things up a bit and to see the ocean in that perspective. Doing it on a budget made it that much sweeter.
I already want to go back. After watching several boats pull up to the cleaning station(at Clark's) with their limits of big reds, I am anxious to try my luck at them.
Take a gander at 2coolfishing.com; it's an awesome site for the DIY fisherman. Quite often there are posts by people looking for crew members to fill spots on their boats. I do not mean guides, just regular Joes wanting someone to help split gas and bait. This is how I wound up in Port O'Connor to begin with.
If you would like more information on Port O'Connor, visit www.portoconnor.com.
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.
Special thanks to Hook-N-Line Fishing Maps - www.hooknline.com