Fly Fishing in Port O’Connor Texas – Chano’s Adventure Continues

| September 18, 2014

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PART 1 The Port O’Connor Adventure Begins

Part2 Chano’s Adventure Continues


The road ribbon narrowed straight and then twisted through little towns, like Schulenburg, almost as if to force drivers to look out their windows and see something worth stopping for, besides the “cheap” gas. It just felt like Texas in these parts. Maybe it was the sense of history, Goliad, Gonzales and San Antonio just a little far off to the west along I10 when he passed under. It was all history; from the drug dealer back to the Texas war for Independence. Chano never denied he being a solid chicken fried Texan. He could be bought by another state again, but he knew he could never be had.

By the time the road reached Hallettsville he was sure he could smell the salt. The air was a lot wetter, and he chose to believe it was the salt that made it so.

There was no doubt what he smelled in Victoria – money. A little old town Chano remembered from childhood, blown away by the big success of oil and gas. He read the city limit sign, “Oh my God, 60-thousand people,” here? This used to be nowhere.

Boats were already showing up in front yards, in gas stations, in parking lots, all attached to some new vehicle. Gas money, oil and gas money, was fueling a new boom along this part of the Texas Gulf Coast – a fishing boom. Big boys, big toys Chano concluded without hesitation.

Showing up in Port O’Connor, Texas, on a Wednesday afternoon is like being dropped in the middle of the eye of the storm. Just about every weekend there’s a fishing tournament. No line at the boat ramp, and the owners of the launch and bait stand – The Fishing Center – actually had time to sit and talk – perfectly calm. A strong breeze was coming through their southwest facing double slider glass door, the glass permanently frosted by salt and dew.

The owner talked about a fall he took off a tank back in February, in gruesome detail as to what the reason was for the cane and the scars on his overblown leg. “They wanted to cut it off, but I went to Houston and they put it back together again,” he said. “I grew up here. See that picture of that shrimp boat? I ran that boat when I was thirteen.” They all knew this guy WAS the salt, without saying a single word.

The boat launched, they rounded the corner of Water Street, parked and went around to  help dock the boat as it arrived. Distance to Port O. he calculated at about 350 miles. Distance from the boat launch to the house with dock, about 500 yards.


The temptation to take a ride out was too much, and Chano soon found himself in his typical spot – seated in front of the center console. He didn’t know if it was the best seat, or the worst, but it worked.

The wind was wreaking havoc, and they cut short the effort Wednesday, and hoped for a better Thursday. The general plan was to try to do the jetties, and if it was too rough for that, fall back to a well trusted flat for walk-wade redfishing.


Thursday was already telling the story in the wind. They all agreed it would be pointless to try the jetties given the wind speed and direction.

On the flat, a protected one from the wind, the tide was on the move out by the time they arrived, but they hopped off the boat in two feet of clear water. He tested his eight weight as he freshened his leader; 5 feet of 25 and 4 feet of 15. The Lamson reel on his eight weight was locked up, as hard to retrieve as it was to pull drag! That would make things a bit more … challenging. One of the guys offered up a can of “Reel Magic,” something he said he bought at Wal-Mart. He couldn’t even separate the reel and spool. A younger and stronger took care of that, Chano sprayed the magic into the mount hole where the spool goes in, and into the loosened space between the drag knob and the reel broke free, and more; it felt almost new in his gloved hand. He made a mental note; “Reel Magic. Wal-Mart.” Done deal.

Two went one way, and two went the other. The constant friendly bickering noise finally faded from Chano’s ear. Ahh, it was finally just the noises of the flat; splashes, bait running and big mullet jumping. He didn’t think they could toss one as far as these were jumping.

The closer they got to shore, the more the action picked up. His twosome was a good combination; he actually had the opportunity to tell someone, who had never been on the flats fishing for redfish, what he knew. Or, maybe he thought, “what I think I know!” The salt can sting you at any time.

While one group disappeared out of view, he and his charge were quickly faced with tails. A red tail here, and several black drum tails there. Meanwhile black-and-white darts, sheepshead, zipped around like misguided missiles. Spooky described them all, but they weren’t complaining much.

Redfish were much less in number than the last time, but how could anyone compare two trips in different months, different years? It just doesn’t work that way on the salt. A drum was the first order of the walk, and the take was probably as much the fish’s annoyance as an attraction. It seemed to him like the abundant drum and the sheepshead would follow forever, and even dart from left to right for a look, and then back to middle to follow – both eyes … all the way in. It was somewhat exciting, like attracting a wild bird, but ultimately more frustrating without the take. But one drum did take, and Chano had a sacrilegious thought; these drum really do fight harder than redfish, pound-for-pound. And what Texan gives much thought to how good black drum taste?

To Be Continued …

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Category: Culture on the Skids, Equipment, Fishing Reports, Fly Fishing for Redfish, Fly Reel, Life Observed, TECHNICAL, Technique, Texas Gulf Coast, Writing

About the Author () is where to find my other day job. I write and photograph fish stories professionally, and for free here! Journalist by training. This site is for telling true fishing news stories, unless otherwise noted.

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