Just about half way between the well-traveled waters of Galveston Bay and Corpus Christi Bay sits Matagorda Bay. A lesser known body of water that’s surrounded by charming towns, full of abundant wildlife, and rife with amazing history. To download this episode or purchase it on DVD – CLICK HERE.
On the northwest side of the bay is Port Lavaca, the county seat of Calhoun County which has been a VERY important place in Texas history. To learn about it all, head to the Calhoun County Museum which can fill you in on everything that happened here from the Native Indians, to the Frenchman La Salle, up to Indianola which was one of the biggest cities in Texas in the late 1800’s. The museum has a number of great artifacts, including items recovered from La Salle’s ship the La Belle. Also in town is the Half Moon Reef Lighthouse that was once located in the middle of the bay.
While you’re in town and hungry, head to Art’s Fish House, makers of the greatest cajun boiling pots you’ll ever find. They are overflowing with crawfish, shrimp, and crabs along with corn, sausage, and spicy butter.
As you move down the west side of the bay you can still visit the place where La Salle first sat foot in Texas claiming it all for France. He established Fort St. Louis nearby which failed to be a long term settlement which is why we don’t speak French in Texas. Today, the spot where he landed is marked with a statue of the great French explorer. Keep walking down the bay and you’ll arrive at Indianola, which is just a shadow of what it used to be as a series of hurricanes reduced this bustling port city to a remote fishing village. The only remnants left of Old Indianola are a few patches of concrete and the old cemetery. Folks say it is haunted, but we didn’t stick around to find out.
If you really want to hit the bay waters right, then head to Port O’Connor and schedule a charted fishing trip with Capt. Mike Bohac at Fishing Tales Guide Service. He is an expert on the area and will land you a keeper or two of Texas red, trout, flounder, or whatever you might be looking for. With your fish in hand, take it to Josie’s Mexican Food. They’ll cook it up right with onions, tomatoes, and spice. They also make some mean Mexican food if you don’t land the fish you want, or would rather take your’s home and cook it yourself.
The other thing near Port O’Connor I recommend is getting a charter boat (Mike can do it) to Matagorda Island which holds the Matagorda Island Lighthouse. This cast iron beauty towering almost 100 feet tall is well worth the 2.5 mile bike ride or hike to get there.