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The Quick Guide to Fishing in Matagorda, Texas

Want to plan a fishing trip to Palacios, TX, or simply cast a line during vacation to see what you'll catch?

If so, you'll be pleased to learn that Matagorda Bay, located just off the coast of Palacios, is one of the top fishing destinations on the Texas Gulf Coast. It offers a laid-back alternative to more popular, busier destinations, like Corpus Cristi and Galveston, but what it lacks in crowds — it makes up for in catches!

Keep reading to discover the answers to all your questions about fishing in Matagorda Bay, including the best places to cast a line, which types of fish are found in and around the bay, and the best times to plan a fishing trip. Let's dive right in!

What Are the Best Matagorda Bay Fishing Spots?

Matagorda Bay spans 422 square miles and features several extensions, including East Matagorda Bay, Lavaca Bay, and Tres Palacios Bay. Other smaller inlets encompassed in Matagorda Bay include Chocolate Bay, Keller Bay, Carancahua Bay, and Turtle Bay. Palacios is home to the largest shrimp fleet in Texas!

While you can find great fishing spots in all these extensions and inlets of the bay, we've listed some of our top recommendations for fishing in each region below:

West Matagorda Bay

The biggest stretch of Matagorda Bay, dubbed "West Matagorda Bay," offers several excellent shallow-water fishing spots, such as saltwater marshes and bayous. It's ideal for reeling in trout, redfish, sheepshead, and flounder.

Port 'O Connor Jetty is an excellent spot for fishing on the bay's west side, while the West and East Colorado River Jetties at Matagorda Bay Nature Park are ideal fishing spots to the east.

East Matagorda Bay

East Matagorda Bay is situated east of Palacios and is home to two federally protected nature preserves — San Bernard Reservation and Big Boggy Federal Wildlife Preserve. It offers several protected coves and flats, making it ideal for reeling in redfish and speckled trout.

Tres Palacios Bay

Located off the coast of the quaint town of Palacios, Tres Palacios Bay is a sheltered bay that offers plenty of grass flats and some of the best fishing spots in Matagorda Bay, including Turtle Bay, Coon Island Bay, Redfish Cove, and Oliver Point Reef. In addition to fish, you can pull in tons of blue crab from the piers near Tres Palacios Bay and Turtle Bay!

With a diverse mix of fishing spots, Tres Palacios Bay is the ideal spot to fish for both experienced anglers and families searching for an outdoor adventure!

Oyster Lake

Oyster Lake is a shallow-water lake between Tres Palacios Bay and Matagorda Bay that is great for catching redfish, trout, and flounder and perfect for drift fishing and kayak anglers. Oyster Lake Park has launch points that offer access to both Oyster Lake and Matagorda Bay.

Other Best Spots for Fishing in Matagorda Bay

Are you looking for more places to cast a line? Check out this map to explore all the good fishing locations in and around Matagorda Bay! As locals of Palacios, we highly recommend Matagorda Bay, Tres Palacios Bay, and Turtle Bay for fishing!

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Which Types of Fish Are in Matagorda Bay?

Matagorda Bay attracts some of the best catches in Texas, including redfish, speckled trout, black drum, flounder, and sheepshead. However, in Matagorda Bay, anglers have also caught other fish species, like bass, mackerel, and even the occasional shark!

There are also many dolphins around Beachside, mainly along the coastline in Tres Palacios Bay or Turtle Bay.

When Is the Best Time to Go Fishing in Matagorda Bay?

There isn't a bad time to go fishing in Matagorda Bay!

You can usually always catch redfish and speckled trout at any time of year, but fall is generally the best time to catch flounder, while summer is the ideal time for catching mackerel.

What Are the Different Ways to Fish in Matagorda Bay?

From boats and kayaks to piers and beaches, Matagorda Bay has plenty of places to fish. Learn more about the following ways to fish in Matagorda Bay to determine which is best for you:

Fishing Charters

  • Inshore Fishing Charters — Inshore charters typically target redfish, trout, flounder, and black drum in the calmer waters and flats of East Matagorda Bay and Tres Palacios Bay. These charters are ideal for beginners and are superb for a family-friendly day of fishing in Palacios, TX.
  • Offshore Fishing Charters — Offshore charters are a bit more adventurous than inshore charters and are usually recommended for experienced anglers. These charters venture into the deeper, choppier waters of Matagorda Bay and often require more advanced fishing techniques.

Kayak Fishing

Kayak fishing in Matagorda Bay

Kayaking is a popular way to cast a line in some of the shallower waters in Matagorda Bay. There are several excellent spots for fishing from a kayak between Matagorda and Matagorda Beach, as well as in Tres Palacios Bay, like Turtle Bay and Oyster Reef.

Shore Fishing

Cast a line in Matagorda Bay from one of the region's beaches, like King Fisher Beach at Port O'Connor or Magnolia Beach, or the piers, like Port Lavaca Fishing Pier in Port Lavaca or Pier de LaFleur in Palacios. Shore fishing is a great way to spend time fishing in Matagorda Bay during a vacation in the area without paying for a full-day or half-day trip on a fishing charter.

What Are the Most Popular Fishing Methods in Matagorda Bay?

Depending on how you choose to fish — from the land or on the sea — and which type of fish you're trying to catch, you'll want to employ one of the following fishing techniques:

  • Artificial Lure Fishing — Artificial lures are designed to mimic bait and come in different shapes, sizes, and colors. You can test different fishing lures to see what works best or talk with an expert in a tackle shop to pick up lures designed with a specific catch in mind.
  • Live Bait Fishing — Live bait is a classic option for catching fish in Matagorda Bay. Shrimp is generally a good choice for catching the most popular fish in the bay, like redfish and speckled trout. Most fishing charters will provide bait, but remember to pick up some fresh bait if you plan to fish from a pier, beach, kayak, or boat without a captain.
  • Drift Fishing — Drift fishing is a popular (and easy!) fishing technique to use in Matagorda Bay, but you'll need a boat. Simply allow the wind and waves to move your boat across the bay while dragging live bait or lures behind. You're almost always guaranteed a catch!
  • Wade Fishing — Wade fishing (surf fishing) is a great way to catch fish in some of the shallow waters in Matagorda Bay. You can catch trout, flounder, and redfish while wade fishing, and, bonus — it's a great way to stay cool in the hot, humid summer months!

There are three public boat launches in Palacios, and we will soon have one in Beachside. Also, a popular local bay fishing boat called Tran’s Boats is made in Palacios.

Which Fishing Tournaments Are Hosted in Matagorda Bay?

If you're feeling competitive and want to put your fishing skills to the test, consider joining one of the following popular fishing tournaments in Matagorda Bay:

  • The Matagorda Slam FishingTournament in April
  • The Texas Trio Classic in June
  • The Matagorda Mermaid Tournament (a women's-only tournament!) in July
  • The Dick Stipanovic Memorial Fishing Tournament in August

Are There Any Regulations for Fishing in Matagorda Bay?

Adult anglers must have a Texas fishing license before fishing in Matagorda Bay. You can get fishing licenses online from Texas Parks and Wildlife.

Before planning a fishing trip in Matagorda Bay, check the fishing regulations, bag limits, gear restrictions, and the most up-to-date information.

Live the Matagorda Fishing Lifestyle in Palacios, Texas, with Beachside

If you fall in love with the fishing options in Matagorda Bay, you'd love to have a property in Palacios, Texas. This laid-back beach town offers quick access to Tres Palacios Bay and other popular fishing spots in Matagorda Bay, like Turtle Bay and Oyster Lake.

Schedule a private tour of our gorgeous beachside lots to learn more about the charm and appeal of this quiet fishing town on the Texas Gulf Coast!

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