Port O’Connor, Texas – 2021 Fall Trip

We thoroughly enjoy visiting Cathy and Dean, sister and brother-in-law, at both their Magnolia, Texas home and their vacation cabin in Port O’ Connor, Texas.   Dean has been working on the addition to their Port O’Connor cabin for the past several months and it is near completion.  A few years ago Dean set up an area for an RV in Port O’Connor complete with sewer hookup and water with parking on a concrete slab (their driveway).  So, we have pulled our 5th wheel there to have sleeping accommodations, but we did not need to tow our 5th wheel this time.

Port O’Connor (POC) is located near the Gulf Coastline between Galveston and Corpus Christi, off State Highway 185 and Matagorda Bay in southern Calhoun County.  It is part of the Victoria, Texas metropolitan statistical area.  In the 19th century, POC was laid out as a fishing settlement called “Alligator Head.”  In 1909 it was designated as Port O’ Connor after the main landowner at the time, Thomas M. O’Connor.  King Fisher Beach is a nice park with a sandy beach area for swimming, collecting shells, beachcombing, and inshore surf caster angling for inshore game fish.

Froggies Bait and Boat Launch (http://froggiesbait.com/) is where Dean launches their boat.  Here is where you see dolphins coming right up to the dock where people are cleaning fish and throwing the scraps over attracting the dolphins as well as the pelicans.  We see more dolphins swimming all around us in Port O’ Connor out in the boat than anywhere we have ever traveled.  It is quite a sight to see, although it is very difficult to capture a good picture because they are fast out of the water and fast back underwater.  We also spotted an alligator along the shore while in the boat, happy to not have run into the gator while wade fishing!

Cathy said October was one of the best fishing times in POC, as long as it was not too windy.  We planned our trip when the weather was predicted to be beautiful and great for fishing.  It is an approximate 8-hour drive for us from Allen, Texas.  Arrived early evening on Wednesday, October 27, and it ended up being too windy to get out on the boat and fish on Thursday or Friday.  However, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday were all three beautiful days for fishing and boating.

We baited up four crab baskets with chicken and dropped them along the grassy shallow area along Army Hole fishing area (http://www.stxmaps.com/go/port-oconnor-fishing.html#google_vignette).  The water was calm, but it was low tide and Dean could not get the boat into some of the recommended fishing areas.  We were able to get out to wade fish at Army Hole, following the bait (fish jumping on top of the water). This is where Karen caught the large flounder on artificial bait.  Dean caught a red, (19 1/2”) which didn’t quite make the 20” long requirement.  It was fun not only fishing but a nice day to be on the boat!  Later in the day when we checked the crab baskets, there was only one crab and all the chicken bait was gone.  We had not tied the chicken bait to the basket, big mistake!

Wade Fishing – Army Hole

The next day out on the boat, we reloaded all four baskets, finding one more crab, making a total of two over a two-day timeframe.  This time we tied the chicken wing bait to the crab baskets, hoping to catch enough crab for a crab boil.  Cathy caught a speckled trout that was a keeper at 20.”  There were a few other catches, but no keepers.  It was another great day of boating and fishing.

Our last day out on the boat the tide appeared to be higher than the previous few days, and hopefully high enough to fish at Pringle Lake.  Kerrie, a neighbor who has a boat captain license and is a fishing guide, was telling us of her big catches at Pringle Lake.  However, she has a flat-bottom boat and can get to shallow/sandy areas that Dean cannot get into with his boat, especially with low tide.   We drove to the jetties and attempted a little fishing with no luck, then drove the boat to Pringle Lake. 

Cathy, Bill, and Karen were wade fishing along the Pringle shoreline, walking the beach to get into Pringle Lake while Dean stayed with the boat.  Once we walked the beach into the Pringle Lake area, Cathy and Karen caught a few small fish off the beach.  We passed a group of guys with their tent canopy on the beach, set up to spend some time with sleeping tents, floodlights, coolers, and fishing gear.  Dean suddenly appeared with the boat . . . he was able to get into the narrow/shallow opening.  Neighbors, Kerrie, JR and Joe came by us in their boat, asking us to follow them to the farther side of the lake where they were catching fish for the past several days.  We got there with no problems as we traveled over deeper water. Unfortunately, we caught nothing, not even a bite for the four of us. 

Guys camping on Pringle beach used their boat to pull Dean’s boat out!

It was late afternoon after Kerrie, JR and Joe had left us when we started our boat ride back across Pringle Lake heading home.  As Dean drove towards the narrow/shallow Pringle Lake exit, the boat motor sunk into the sand and the motor stopped.  We were close to the group of guys camping on the beach and fortunately, a few of them pulled us out of the sand over to the beach area to work on the boat motor.  We weren’t sure if the motor was going to get up and running or not, as silent prayers were lifted, Dean was able to get the motor started, and off we went.  Concerned that the motor may stop running again, we did not stop to check the crab baskets, we drove non-stop back to Froggies.

Our last evening, we had a big fish fry with neighbors, celebrating both Dean’s and JR’s birthdays which are one day apart.  They have really good neighbors, Kerrie and JR Chatman (photos below), they live full-time in POC.  JR is a commercial airplane pilot for United Airlines and Kerrie as a fishing guide told stories and showed their pictures of big catches in POC, as well as their fishing experiences in Cabo, Mexico, and other large bodies of saltwater fishing. JR shared that he thoroughly enjoys fly-fishing in Colorado as well and they are both snow-skiers.  Joe, JR’s Dad is closer to our ages, he lives behind Cathy and Dean and he also lives full-time in POC. Joe, as a semi-retired cabinet maker, designed the layout of Cathy’s new kitchen cabinets.  Brian, a Magnolia High School buddy of Ryan’s (Cathy and Dean’s son) and Tracy, his wife, purchased the lot next door to Cathy’s from Ryan and they live their full time.  It was a fun evening enjoying the fish fry, celebrating with a birthday cake, and visiting.  Mayah even enjoyed playing, leash-free with her newfound four-legged friends, and curious about the cat which was a first for her!

Tuesday, November 2, heavy rainfall and a cold front were predicted over the next few days.  Bill and Karen drove home.  The four of us had been watching the Houston Astros play in the World Series every evening they played while we were in POC.  Cathy sent a picture Tuesday evening, there were 10-crabs caught in the four crab baskets.  They were boiling the crab and fish tacos with neighbors, and together were watching the last chance for the Houston Astros to win the World Series.  Congratulations to the Atlanta Braves who earned the title for 2022!

So thankful for our family and our friends.  

Proverbs 27:10 “Do not forsake your own friend or your father’s friend, nor go to your brother’s house in the day of your calamity; better is a neighbor nearby than a brother far away.”

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