Ed Bell's "The Hard Way" -
Waterfront property for sale. Indianola, Texas
Fishing at the End of
a wide variety of fishing options for
boat, beach, marina,
kayak and wading anglers.
by Gary Ralston
- Indianola sits on the western
shore of Matagorda Bay. Its southern border is Powderhorn Lake and either
location can be a great choice for fishermen.
- Matagorda Bay Options
- Across Powderhorn Bayou, the Powderhorn Ranch shoreline is a prime
location to find reds, trout and flounder, almost year
around. The bottom is wader friendly and numerous sand bars parallel the
entire shoreline. Trout and reds can be found on top of the bars and in
the deeper guts that separate them. The bottom gradually tapers off to
5'-6' of water several hundred yards from shore.
- The tops of the sand bars are a prime spot to find flounder on nighttime
gigging forays. The entire shoreline can be good for flounder, particularly
in the spring and fall.
- The Powderhorn shoreline is protected from south, southwesterly winds,
but winds of speeds much over 12-15 mph any other direction will stir the
water. This might not present too much of a problem if you're bait fishing,
but it will cancel a flounder trip.
- Drift fishing is also popular as a means of finding fish. Once located
it's easy to slip the anchor over the side and fish from the boat or wade.
If you're not interested in getting your feet wet, just keep drifting and
be sure to circle back through areas where fish were picked up.
- This shoreline is also popular with anglers coming out of Port O'Connor,
about six miles to the south. One of the prime fishing areas starts just
below the old ranch house and extends southerly to an area where a couple
of sloughs connect small lakes with the bay.
- Another favorite destination in Matagorda Bay are the spoil banks along
the ship channel and the gas well platforms a little further to the east
past the channel. Trout are plentiful at times around the spoil banks and
well pads. Any of the wells can also harbor large triple tail.
- Powderhorn Lake
- The lake is an excellent fishing destination and redfish, trout, and
flounder can be found virtually anywhere in the lake, especially from late
winter to fall. One of the most popular areas is Perry's
Flat located on the southwestern end of the lake. This is a shallow sand
flat good for wading, drifting or just anchoring and bait fishing. There's
a small slough in the pocket at the back of Perry's Flat that's an excellent
spot for picking off reds and drum with dead shrimp or mullet, alive or
- At the most extreme westerly end of Powderhorn Lake is a narrow strip
of water (Coloma Creek) that will take you under Hwy 1289 that leads to
Port O'Connor. Only a low profile boat will make it under the bridge, but
if you can, there's often nice catches of reds and occasionally flounder,
to be had. This little lake (actually there are several and all are shallow)
may not be navigable very far from the bridge depending on the tide stage.
- Small boats can also be launched directly into Coloma Creek on either
side of the bridge at this location. The better launching location will
be on the Powderhorn Lake side of the bridge.
- The shoreline from Perry's Flat towards the bay offers plenty of opportunities
for whatever type of fishing you're interested in. This long shoreline
is also popular with nighttime flounder fishermen walking with lanterns
or riding on the deck of a well lit flounder boat.
- At the eastern end of the lake, East Pocket is good for reds and trout
and the pass that leads between oyster reefs and marsh from the lake to
the bay is another popular spot with anglers. You'll want to anchor either
next to the marsh or near the reefs. Quite a few boats traverse the area
and you don't want to be sitting in the middle of the pass as boats run
- Working the Birds in the Lake
- From the spring to the fall keep an eye out for flocks of gulls "working"
schools of trout that are feeding on shrimp. The shrimp come to the surface
to avoid the feeding fish, which could also be reds, and make easy targets
for the gulls that swoop down and pick off the shrimp.
- If you haven't worked birds before, you will want to approach the school
quietly and set up a drift to take you to the birds rather than runnning
up to them under power. All you'll do with the latter method is scatter
the fish and birds very quickly.
- To access the bay or lake you can either launch at the Indianola Fishing
Marina located at the end of the road at Powderhorn Bayou. Another choice
is to launch at the Indianola RV Park located about 2 miles from the Bayou
inside the Lake. If you were going to fish the bay the marina would be
the most logical choice and the RV park if you were heading into the lake.
However it's a relatively short run to the bay from the RV launch and one
I've made countless times.
- Indianola Bay Front
- All of the approximate three miles of bay front from Indian Point to
Powderhorn Bayou is fishable. And since there are no reefs or other natural
structure present, one area can be as good as any other - just depends
where the fish are feeding from one day to the next. The fish do, however,
move up and down the bay front following baitfish being forced along by
the action of tidal currents.
- Spots frequented by anglers are mostly between the LaSalle monument
and Indian Point. As you move closer to the Pass the shoreline is piled
with concrete rip rap to slow erosion. The rip rap does have a tendency
to attract bait fish and gives trout and reds a reason to hang around the
area. A block of granite placed on the beach about a mile above the pass
is another spot that fishermen frequent. The granite is intended to be
a location marker for the old Indianola courthouse from the 1800's.
- For boaters that fish the shoreline near the pass, just be aware there
is still some concrete structure from the old town in the water. Most is
within 300 yards of Powderhorn Pass and consists of old walls and cisterns.
The only time you might bump into something is if you come between the
ends of the piers in this area and shore. Other obstructions are in the
vicinity of the granite marker and an area about 1/2 mile below the marker
toward the pass where there is a noticeable rise in the elevation. The
obstructions here are within 20 feet, or so, of shore. At least the ones
I've bumped into.
- There is at least one sailing ship from the 1800's near the bay front
but it should only pose a hazard to shrimp nets.
- Night Fishing
- Many years ago, Ed Bell held court
at his fish camp located on Indianola Point. Not the same 'court' as a
Judge Roy Bean, but he was quite a character for this small town, just
the same, and also quite a liar. Well, not really a liar, per se, but that's
what he was invited to do at the Smithsonian and places like the Texas
Folklore Festival. He also spoke at schools and where ever he was invited
to spin his tales. He had around 500 tall tales in all and could really
entertain. (Read Ed Bell's - The Hard Way,
- Ed started camping out in a tent at Indianola in the 30's and his primary
objective was to fish, fish, fish. And he caught plenty. In the 40's
he and his wife, Alma, started the fishing camp at Indianola Point. (Funny,
before they were married, Ed told Alma he would never take her to Indianola)
They offered row boat rentals early on, then small outboards as they became
an option. Ed Bell's was the place to go if you wanted to fish the 'ocean',
at Indianola. According to Bell, a good day's fishing from a boat in his
fleet meant 300 speckled trout. And, that's no yarn!
- One of the best times to go to Ed Bell's Fish Camp was at night. Powderhorn
Bayou (or Pass) is a narrow stretch of water between Powderhorn Lake and
Matagorda Bay. Each day there are currents that flow into and out of the
lake pretty much on schedule. And with that water flow are small crabs
and shrimp (some shrimp not so small) that are the staples for the mostly
speckled trout that lie downstream of each current to feed on the offerings.
- The Indianola Fishing Marina was reopened in 2004 and night
fishing is back. The marina owners have recently expanded the night fishing
area to include a location further into the bayou across from the boat
slip. This is the area where Ed Bell's lighted pier was located. It has
spaces for campers which would be a nice place to park for awhile to explore
Matagorda Bay or Powderhorn Lake.
- In addition to great trout fishing under the lights, the marina offers
hamburgers and hot dogs, in addition to steaks and seafood. You can also
buy tackle and supplies at the marina store along with live and dead bait.
- Be aware, it does get crowded early, especially in the summer months
and the very best location for trout is usually on the right corner.
It's fun to watch the action, even if you're just there to eat a cheeseburger.
- Fishing the Bridges
- There are three bridges at Indianola commonly used by fishermen. The
first is located on Brighton Avenue about one-half mile from Hwy 316. This
bridge is mainly used by castnetters trying to pick up mud minnows, mullet
and shrimp to be deployed eslewhere.
- The next
bridge on Brighton is over a small slough on the western edge of Old Town
Lake. This area is subject to tidal currents and offers occasionally good
fishing for reds. It's also a spot to catch bait with a castnet. A peninsula
a extends from the bridge area into the lake and fishermen frequently fish
the easternmost tip. It's a good place to set out rods and relax in a lawn
chair while waiting for some action. The shoreline to the lake is also
easily accessible in most areas.
The eastern edge of the lake in the vicinity of the LaSalle monument is
another location frequented by anglers. Just be aware there are alligators
in this area as well as the first bridge and they can appear just about
anywhere in the bayous, sloughs and lakes around Indianola.
- The next bridge is located on Comal which would be the road taken off
Brighton that leads to the the Indianola RV Park located on Powderhorn
Lake. This is a fairly wide bayou and it's closer to Powderhorn Lake. There
is a small sandy area on the western side of the bayou. Up the bayou on
the left is the Indianola Cemetery. You can visit the cemetery by taking
the first right past the bridge.
- Contact Info:
- To check weather conditions, availability of bait, fishing reports,
etc. you can call the Indianola Fishing Marina at 361-552-5350.
You can reach the Powderhorn RV Park at 361-552-7481.
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