Powderhorn Lake-2

Powderhorn Lake-2

Andy Dear | Monday, 21 August 2023

Yesterday morning, I took my mom on a day trip to Indianola Texas to get away from the Hill Country for a little while. Like me, she enjoys a good trip to the coast whenever life gets too much in the way. Our original plan was to have lunch in Port O Connor, but somehow I just can't resist the pull of Powderhorn Lake. There's a great little marina that has FANTASTIC food, and the back deck actually sits out over the Powderhorn Bayou that connect the lake to Matagorda Bay. For this week's Front Page, I have chosen to re-run an article I wrote about my affection for this special place.

Every angler has fishing spots that will always hold a special place in the deepest recesses of their heart and mind. It may be because of an extraordinarily special catch, or because of a unique, memorable past experience. In my case, however, it's neither.....it's something much more.

   I grew up in a fishing family. My Mom and Dad both loved to fish, and because of that, I was blessed with ample opportunity to develop my passion for angling at a very young age. My Dad, who is quite the angler himself, had a penchant for waxing nostalgic about special places that held deep meaning for him because of the memories he created there in his younger years. Growing up I heard many tales about fishing adventures that took place in what seemed like at the time, far away exotic locales. Places that throughout my youth, for one reason or another I built up in my mind to  the point that they achieved almost mythical status. One of those fishing spots stands out head and shoulders above the rest...Powderhorn Lake.

  Powderhorn Lake is a large estuary that branches off of West Matagorda Bay directly adjacent to the little town of Indianola. If you Google "Indianola Texas" it actually describes it as a Ghost town. And while this is far from being an accurate depiction, a refined and world renowned angling metropolis like Key West Florida it certainly is not. Indianola, at one point in the mid-1800s, was quite the bustling community and coastal port. These days however it is famous for one thing....being almost completely obliterated in the late 1800s by not one, but two major hurricanes.

  Back in the 1960s, my dad went to work for the local utility company and had the good fortune to befriend a group of coworkers who loved to fish with light tackle for Redfish, Speckled Trout, Flounder and Black Drum on the flats of the Texas Gulf Coast. And, it just so happened that their favorite haunt was Powderhorn Lake. Because of the experiences my dad had at Powderhorn and the stories he shared about the legendary fishing that existed there, my young mind was filled to the brim with visions of herculean like tailing Redfish and gator sized Speckled Trout. Both of whom were just waiting and willing to do battle with any adversary who had the skills to properly present a 1/2oz. Johnson Sprite spoon. There wasn't really any fly fishing going on in Texas to speak of back then, especially not in saltwater, so the preferred kit consisted of a 7' fiberglass Berkely spinning rod (Jet Sport or Tri-Sport if you please), and a Mitchell 300 spinning reel.

  I have had the good fortune to fish most of the Texas Coast from San Luis Pass all the way down to the Mansfield channel. But for whatever reason, in spite of the legendary status it has held in my mind for over four decades now, I had never fished Powderhorn. That all changed last year when Jackson and I made it a priority to explore some off the beaten path spots via Kayak, with Powderhorn being at the very top of the list. Jackson was especially excited to make the trek to "The Horn" because of the tales I have passed down to him that his grandfather shared with me.

  Powderhorn has since become one of our primary jumping off points. The beauty of Powderhorn is that it sees very little fishing pressure because of the refined access to more high profile, glamorous spots just a short boat ride away. And to boot, the majority of the shoreline around Powderhorn that was once a privately owned ranch is now a state owned wildlife management area that will forever remain completely undeveloped. Unlike much of the Texas coast, Powderhorn remains unencumbered by the presence of million dollar homes and fancy boat slips. The landscape here looks just as rugged and wild as it did when my dad first fished these beautiful cord grass lined marshes almost 60 years ago.

  And the fishing? Well, it's still spectacular...maybe even better than it was in the 1960s. But that's not the point of my love affair with Powderhorn. The reason this place has etched such a deep and permanent channel in my soul is that I'm finally putting what has become a residual checkmark next to one of the places I dreamt about as a kid. And more importantly, my son and I have now had the privilege of engraving our footprints into the same patch of oyster laden mud as my dad did almost 60 years ago.

Hope you all have a great week,