Duck hunters flock to the coast for non-stop action
With time running out on the clock for duck hunters many have resorted to taking their game on the road. Putting miles on your gear is nothing new to waterfowlers as they constantly scout by boat or truck on almost a daily basis. Well instead of scouting locally many will take advantage of the unbelievable hunting opportunities that Texas coast offers up. When you start talking coastal duck hunting places like Rockport, Port O and the Laguna Madre automatically come to mind. These areas are well known for producing some of the best waterfowl hunting in the state. It’s time to add another name to that list and it’s Matagorda.
This under publicized jewel of the Texas coast offers up everything the higher profile areas do and more, plus it’s closer to our part of the world which means less travel time. The opportunity to hunt ducks, geese, and sand hill cranes in the morning while catching trout in the afternoon is a fantastic way to spend a couple of days.
Last week I made the trek down to Matagorda with my son, Hunter and his two best hunting buddies, Chance and Jonah Lemoine of Bridge City.
This was our annual “Road Trip” that we look forward to every season and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Our home for four days was Sunrise Lodge on Matagorda Bay which is run by my good friend Bink Grimes. Nestled in between East and West Matagorda bays on the Colorado River the Sunrise Lodge offers up exceptional access to all the best areas for both hunting and fishing.
The accommodations are first rate and the food is top notch as well. It was a perfect place to stay since, it afforded us the flexibility to both hunt and fish without having to do whole lot of traveling.
During our stay at Matagorda we hunted both East and West Matagorda bays. On days when the fog would make hunting tough we would fish early and then make afternoon hunts or vice versa when the weather cooperated.
The amounts of ducks in both bays were impressive to say the least, the flocks of redheads and pintails were just mind boggling. Unlike other trips to the coast where you just shot your two redheads and prayed that a different species of duck would show up we were treated to an amazing variety of both divers and puddle ducks. We shot six different species of birds which made for some great hunts.
The redheads were certainly the stars of the show as they number in the thousands and are all over both bays. These fast flying ducks readily decoy and will put on a show as they come by in large groups. Knowing that the redheads were going be a constant it makes it easy to pass on marginal shots in favor of a higher percentage opportunity at the gorgeous drakes.
Being able to pass up birds and not feel pressure makes the hunting experience ten times more enjoyable as you can watch and take in the whole experience, a fantastic hunt that every waterfowl hunter should make at least once.
We took a break one day from the bay and went up to Wharton with Bink for a sand hill crane hunt. Grimes also runs waterfowl hunts for Bill Sherrill and this was an opportunity that none of us were willing to pass up. A big sesame field had been holding large numbers of cranes and geese during the week and planned to take advantage that fact.
Our group was rewarded with some terrific decoying action as these huge birds just came in one wave after another. It didn’t take us long to limit out and put some geese down as well. It was just another opportunity to hunt a different bird in a different set of conditions. It’s awful tough to ask for more than that.
Now the hunting was excellent every day during our trip and the fishing wasn’t far behind either. We caught plenty of solid speckled trout up seven pounds and a few redfish drifting some scattered patches of shell. The water was incredibly clear and the fish were plenty aggressive.
We threw soft plastics in dark colors on 1/8th ounce jig heads and just wore the fish out. On one particular afternoon we kept several fish, cleaned them at the lodge, and brought them to a little grill called Snapper’s where they cooked them up for us. It’s really tough to beat fresh fish after a great day of hunting and fishing.
Now if you are looking for a change of pace or an opportunity to hunt a different way in a new location I would highly recommend making a road trip somewhere down the Texas coast. The numbers of ducks and geese will amaze you. The trip is affordable and well worth any time and effort you may spend. Take my advice and try a road trip because you won’t be disappointed.
For more information on hunting or fishing Matagorda you can contact Bink Grimes @ 979-241-1705 or www.matagordasunriselodge.com