Every winter thousand of people come to Texas to escape the cold and snow. They make their homes along the coast from Corpus Christi to Brownsville. Some come in motor homes, some in campers and others simply rent a condo or beach house for the duration.
South Texas seldom gets cold weather and snow is a real oddity down there. In McDonalds at Port Lavaca you’ll find big pictures of their lighthouse in snow from a few years ago. Yes, snow is a rare event in south Texas – and this is one of the reasons Winter Texans come there from October through March.
Another reason South Texas is popular in the winter is the fishing. The winter months see an upswing in inshore fishing – fishing in the shallow waters that are easily reached by wading, kayaking, piers and jetties. A Winter Texas could fish a different area every day and still have more to explore the following year.
Let’s examine the area near Corpus Christi. We’ll start just north of Corpus and end at the northern portion of Padre Island National Seashore (PINS).
Port O’Connor is on Matagorda Bay. There are jetties and fishing piers and many spots for wade fish. There is a Kayak launch area 15th street and the shore. This is good access to the Port O’Connor paddling trails, easily navigated by kayak of canoe.
Port O is known for wade fishing. You simply wade in the water and use your spinning or casting gear to present bait to likely spots. On old pair of tennis shoes work well, so do “aqua” socks. You can get special wading gear with stingray proof guards, but most Texas simply do the “Texas shuffle” – scoot your feet along the bottom to alert the rays and they’ll swim away.
This is when you ask, “What about sharks?” Yes, there are sharks in the Texas waters. Best advise – when you see a shark walk slowly out to the water and move down the beach. Sharks are not our enemy, give them respect and they’ll leave you alone.
Just north of Port O’Connor, Texas is the little village of Indianola. This is Winter Texan central. There are beach rentals everywhere and the fishing is great. A marina sits on the mouth of Powerhorn Bayou, a saltwater lake that attracts fish and fisherman.
Indianola is more or less a ghost town. It was destroyed by a hurricane in 1875 and again in 1886. The residents of Indianola left and all that remains is beach homes and great fishing. The marina had burgers and beer, a fishing deck and live music on the weekends. You’ll see people catching trout and drum at the change of the tides – as water flows into or out of Powerhorn Bayou.
The night I want there I didn’t have high expectations – most “fishing piers” are poor places to fish – comfortable, but the fishing isn’t always good. This place was different. I caught fish, I caught a lot of fish. I saw others catch big fish and I went back the next evening and had more luck catching more fish.
The marina sells drinks and has a small kitchen. I had a shrimp basket that was very good the first night and a monster burger the second night. There is live music on the weekends and a friendly gathering of visitors and locals.
- *I ate well
- *I caught fish
- *I had good conversation
- *I want to go back – soon.
- *Just about all I could ask for.
The rent camper trailers too. I will definitely check availability of these before I go next time.
Indianola is kind of a ghost town – it you aren’t fishing there isn’t anything to do. But the fishing is pretty good!
Port O’Connor and Indianola are two hours north of Corpus Christi.
The next fishing spot is Goose Island State Park. Between Port O’Connor and Goose Island State Park is the Aransas national Wildlife Refuge, home to the protected whooping crane.
Texas Parks and Wildlife maintain Goose Island State Park. They offer tours of the island and features the largest tree in Texas, simply know as “the big tree.”
Fishing is good on the fishing pier at the state park. It sets at the confluence of Copano Bay and Aransas Bay and is fished by wading, working the pier or kayaks. No fishing license need at a state park. No bait there, so you’ll need to bring your own. The park offers camping and closes the gates at sundown. Squid, shrimp and mullet work well. I found that the HEB grocery stores were a good source of bait – they have frozen squid, shrimp and mullet.
The next article will explore fishing in Port Aransas, Padre Island and the famous Bob Hall Pier.