May 8, 2020
Matagorda Bay is a system that actually contains nine bodies of water: Chocolate Bay, Lavaca Bay, Cox Bay, Keller Bay, Vaes Bay, Turtle Bay, Tres Palacios Bay, Matagorda Bay and East Matagorda Bay. Together the system is one of the largest estuaries along the Texas Gulf Coast. And some of the best fishing in the state.
Houston is located northeast of Matagorda Bay, San Antonio is located to the northwest. Along the coast it’s equally distanced from Corpus Christi to the south and Galveston to the north (about two hours in either direction). Tourists will usually choose one of those other vacation destinations for their Lone Star State getaway, unless outdoor adventures are the top priority. Then Matagorda wins, hands down.
One of the top cities to embark from on your Matagorda Bay fishing excursion is Port O’Connor. The guides fishing from Port O’Connor will fish the bays, as well as the Gulf of Mexico, so you have a lot of options. There’s also a pier to fish from in Port O’Connor, and the jetties at the tip of the peninsula.
You may have noticed there are two Matagorda Bays – an East and a West (or simply, Matagorda Bay). East Matagorda Bay is completely enclosed (compared to the other bays of the Matagorda Bay system) and the two are separated only by the Colorado River and small strip of land. This Colorado River is not the same that helped to form the Grand Canyon. This is a Texas-special that is one of the longest rivers in one state. It empties into the Gulf of Mexico and visitors to Matagorda Bay Nature Park can enjoy access to any of these fantastic fisheries.
Matagorda Island, a barrier island that protects the bays from the gulf, is an outdoorsman’s delight. Untouched by civilization, anglers can fish Matagorda Bay from one side, or the Gulf of Mexico from the other. Wade fishing with light or medium tackle is typical in the bays, while surf fishing with a pompano rig in the gulf is preferred.
Along with wade and surf fishing, kayak fishing is very popular among anglers of Matagorda Bay. The calm waters are perfect for those paddling to the fishing grounds. You have all of your gear piled onto the kayak and can get as close to the action as you’d like. Most kayak fishermen and women will practice catch-and-release. It’s a physically demanding excursion, but really fun and very memorable.
Matagorda Bay guides can take your group fishing, typically in bay boats that accommodate two to four anglers. This is perhaps the most common way of fishing the bays. Sometimes guides will offer wading as well, driving your crew right to the fishing grounds, then you get out and wade fish the hotspots. If you’re unfamiliar with the area, it’s a good idea to have a local guide with you as they’ll know where the drop offs and ledges are and can help you catch that trophy fish you have your eye on.
Speaking of the fish, there are three inshore fish that anglers typically target in Matagorda Bay: redfish, speckled trout, and flounder. In actuality, these are the top three inshore species across Texas, so Matagorda Bay is no different.
Redfish, also known as red drum, are fun to catch and good to eat. Use crustaceans such as shrimp or blue crab as your bait. If you want a larger fish, use larger bait and go deeper into the bay. During the fall migration, hundreds of redfish will move from the bay to the gulf. Local anglers will wade fish the shallow waters and sight fish by “tailing” the reds. The backs and tails of redfish with breach the surface of the water, and you’ll know exactly where to place your bait.
Speckled trout is also known as spotted sea trout. The winter months are the best time to fish for these silver, spotted species. You can use the same set-up as redfish (live or cut crustaceans), also try adding a popping cork or top lures to the rig. Popping corks act as a dinner bell, calling the trout to the line.
Near drop offs and ledges you’ll find flounder. Typically flounders are caught by accident, they are a tough fish to get to the line. They like to hide and ambush prey. If you can get your bait to appear as food, drifting towards their hiding place, flounder will strike quickly. You’ll have to be just as quick to set the hook. Or try your hand at flounder gigging. This technique is typically done at night with a spiked pole. Again, make sure you have a quick strike to get your catch.
Depending on where in the bay you’re fishing, other available fish available to anglers include black drum, striped bass, catfish, croaker, and even sharks.
Anglers will have the opportunity to fish Matagorda Bay twelve months of the year, weather permitting. Trout fishing in the winter months is quite popular, or check out the redfish migration season in the fall. If you’re not sure what to fish for or where, hire a local Matagorda Bay fishing guide. They are experienced, professional, and have everything you need for a successful day of fishing. Reserve your Matagorda Bay charter today with FishAnywhere.com!
Planning a fishing trip?
Find a Fishing CharterSearch Trips