Port O’Connor Redfish

The Coastal Bend of Texas is a fast expanse of marsh, prairie, swamp, beach, and flats. From Matagorda Bay all the way down the the Upper Laguna Madre, choosing a home base can be daunting as each area offers a lifetime of redfish habitat to explore. Whether it’s Rockport, Port Aransas, Port O’Connor or Seadrift, the options are literally endless.

After two months straight of covering most of Aransas Bay from Mustang Island to San Jose Island and west to Copano and St. Charles, I drove north- just one hour- to fish with a friend in Port O’Connor.

It was about 40 degrees that morning. Cold for Texas standards. The wind was blowing a bit, straight out of the north, making it feel even colder. The sky, however, was clear and we knew the sun would eventually do its job and warm the shallow flats. One thing I noticed is how much protection the islands and shorelines of Port O’Connor offer with a north wind which can be a struggle around the Rockport area. We stayed tight to the mangroves while the sun was low, focussing on the calm water near the edges for sight casting. The fish were there, but really spooky. Most retreated to deep water with a mere lift of the rod tip. We each had shots, even some eats, but we needed conditions to improve…along with our angling abilities.

We moved around a lot and eventually found a shallow flat adjacent to a long mangrove edge. With the sun behind us and the wind laying down, we were finally on fish…a lot of fish…big fish. Every redfish we brought to the boat was an upper-slot fish, with a couple in the 30 inch range. My fishing partner and I went fish for fish all afternoon, targeting singles and small groups in the clearest water imaginable. We kept saying, “OK, one more shot and then we’ll head back to the dock.” Each time, we would see another group of redfish that we absolutely had to cast to. Our last few shots were to tailing schools. These wolfpacks of fish were 20-30 strong and crawling over one another feeding in the soft mud and grass. What a sight!

I’m excited to get back up to Port O’Connor. With all of the north wind we get during the winter months, I’m sure I’ll have plenty of opportunities.

Capt. Greg Smith with a fat Texas redfish