Known as the “Best Kept Secret on the Gulf Coast,” Port O’Connor is a small coastal community famous for its beaches, water sports, wildlife, and the breathtaking sunset view of the Gulf of Mexico. It is located in the Texan Gulf Coast between Matagorda Bay and Corpus Christi Bay. And because of its proximity to popular fishing spots like Matagorda Bay, Espiritu Santo Bay, and the Gulf of Mexico, it’s a great destination for fishing enthusiasts.
Port O’Connor, which was once called “Alligator Head Ranch,” was a cattle-raising domain in the late 19th century. It got its name from Thomas M. O’Connor, an Irish rancher who owned about 70,000 acres of land in the area. At the time of his death in 1887, O’Connor was known as the wealthiest man in Texas and the largest land and cattle owner in the state.
In 1911, the International-Great Northern Railroad had reached the community. In a few years’ time, people from all over the state began flocking to the coastal community as they discover its natural beauty. By 1914, the small community became a popular tourist spot that became the summer resort terminus of St. Louis, Brownsville, and Mexico Railway. This paved the way for the construction of a hotel and the stunning summer homes of rich Victorian families.
Even with these developments, Port O’Connor remained a quaint fishing town over the next decades due to the several hurricanes that ravaged the area. However, in 1969, offshore oil drilling gave way to another business boom in the area, and with it came throngs of people from all over the state to either work on these offshore rigs and/or to go deep-sea fishing near the oil rigs.
Port O’Connor is surrounded by great fishing spots full of quarries that a sports angler would certainly love. You can target amberjack, grouper, kingfish, marlin, sailfish, snapper, and tuna in the blue waters of the Gulf.
With so many fishing opportunities in and around town, Port O’Connor can be a perfect place to hone a beginner’s fishing skills. If you’ve never cast a line before, a fishing guide can take you inshore fishing either to one of the beaches that are great for surf casting or to a jetty where you can catch some prized fish like redfish, fluke, black drum, sheepshead, and trout. You can also choose to fish in Matagorda Bay’s shallow waters and go wade fishing for striped bass, croaker, crevalle jack, and ladyfish.
We highly recommend kayak fishing along the renowned Port O’Connor Paddling Trail for the adventurous type. It’s definitely the best way to enjoy the great outdoors in the most immersive way possible as you get to see playful dolphins, wading birds, sea turtles, and stingrays up close. Not to mention you may also have the opportunity to bag some prized targets, including redfish and speckled trout.
Now, if you really want some challenge, you can always test your fishing skills against some of the best anglers in the world through the several fishing tournaments held here each year. Some of the most popular include the Cula Roja Fishing Tournament, the POCO Bueno Fishing Tournament, and the Lone Star Shootout—all of which are held in July. Even kids can participate in the Speedy Stop Annual Kid’s Fishing Tournament held in August.
To this day, Port O’Connor remains to be an attraction for retirees, summer tourists, and, of course, recreational anglers. With fishing as one of this small town’s major tourist draws every year, the sport actually helps boost the town’s economy, as well as one of its main job generators. That said, one can certainly expect several fishing guides and charters living and working in Port O’Connor. They cater to both novice and experienced anglers who come here to experience the best fishing in the state.
This scenic beach is more than just eye candy. In fact, it’s one of the favorite fishing spots in Port O’Connor. Here you can either cast your line along the stretch of sand or on the pier, both of which are great for catching some prized targets, including speckled trout, black drum, redfish, and sheepshead.
Just a few minutes' drive north of Port O’Connor is a ghost town called Indianola, where a marina is situated at the mouth of Powderhorn Bayou. Here you can have a great time catching some flounder, drum, trout, and redfish on a fishing deck while enjoying some burgers and brews.
Located at the town’s southeast edge are two jetties that stretch more than 2,000 feet to the bountiful waters of Matagorda Bay. Here you can catch some trout, redfish, flounder, black drum, and sheepshead while enjoying the sun and the view right in front of you.
It’s 40 miles of interconnecting trail that runs by the shores of Espiritu Santo and Matagorda Bays and through the saltwater marsh Mules Slough—all of which are known to support huge populations of gamefish such as redfish, sheepshead, speckled trout, and black drum. Not only will you get to catch some fish here, but you also get to enjoy the views of the local flora and fauna.
Another way of enjoying Mother Nature at its best is through this nature park right at the northern edge of the town. It features 25 acres of pure natural beauty that you and your family can enjoy. And, of course, if fishing is your passion, you can bring your reel and rod with you and catch some redfish and speckled trout on the Boggy Bayou.
The short answer to this question is all year, and no, we’re not exaggerating. Port O’Connor is truly an angler’s paradise as fish is pretty abundant in its surrounding waters all year long. So any time you decide to visit, you’re bound to catch something—depending on the weather, of course. But if you’re going to be targeting a particular fish species, then yes, you should time your visit. From January to March, you can catch amberjack, black drum, fluke, blue marlin, redfish, sheepshead, snapper, and speckled trout. During the second quarter of the year, be ready to catch some redfish, cobia, crevalle jack, Spanish mackerel, speckled trout, kingfish, mahi mahi, and red snapper. Finally, from October to December, the waters in Port O'Connor will be teeming with yellowfin tuna, blackfin tuna, redfish, blue marlin, and fluke.
If you’re up for some deep-sea fishing, a Port O’Connor fishing charter will be more than happy to assist you with all your deep-sea fishing needs. And when we say “all your fishing needs”, we’re not just talking about the boat and the equipment. Because expert anglers themselves operate these charters, they could impart some invaluable fishing knowledge to you, like what techniques to use or the best bait to catch specific targets.
Yes, aside from fishing, hunters visit this small town by the thousands every year thanks to the abundance of wildlife, including different types of geese and waterfowls, different types of deer, Black Hawaiian Sheep, Russian Boar, Scimitar Oryx, and alligators.
With so many migratory and local birds in the area, Port O’Connor is definitely a bird-watching hotspot. Bird sightings here include different types of waterfowls, Laughing Gulls, Black Skimmers, Terns, Pelicans, Cormorants, different species of birds of prey, herons, woodpeckers, and a lot more.
Port O’Connor is literally surrounded by water, so it’s not surprising that most visitors spend most of their time here on a boat. You can charter a boat and enjoy a relaxing cruise around the bay with friends or family; or, if you really want to be one with Mother Nature, we highly recommend kayaking on the POC Paddling Trail as it can really help you reboot your brain and unwind.