Matagorda is a very special place for paddling due to it’s large selection of easy access sites for paddling the Colorado River, the bayous of Matagorda Bay and off the beach. The bayous, which lead to both East and West Matagorda Bay, are generally protected calm and shallow waters that are easy for beginner paddlers. There are marked kayaking trails in the area & GPS coordinates of these areas are available online. Many of these areas are inaccessible by motor boat, making them quiet and peaceful outings that offer world class birding and fishing opportunities.
Paddlesports is rapidly growing in the US , and the reasons are many: it’s great exercise as paddling primarily uses your core muscles and is low impact- making it a great option for all fitness levels. Most kayaks and stand-up paddleboards are very stable and easy to maneuver. The stress of daily modern life just melts away as you guide through the water with only the gentle sound of swaying grasses, songs of birds, and your paddle gently entering & exiting the water. It is a fun activity to do with family and friends, and many memories are made viewing wildlife on the water.
The scenery and nature you can access by paddlecraft is incredibly beautiful with rare opportunities to see birds, fish and other wildlife. We recently kayaked St. Mary’s Bayou, and were very lucky to see a whole flock of Roseate Spoonbills flying overhead. It was breathtaking, I have never seen them that close up, and know that it was our quiet paddling that allowed us to get that opportunity. Matagorda County has long been known for spectacular birding with the largest number of species in the country counted for the last 6 years. I have personally witnessed: Great Blue Herons, Cormorants, Bald Eagles, Pelicans, Ducks, Ibis, Ospreys, Hawks and Warblers among many other beautiful birds.
Fishing by kayak is a blast and highly addictive with many opportunities to catch Sea Trout, Redfish, Flounder, Drum and other types of fish. There are few things in life more exciting than your first sleigh ride in a kayak hooked up behind a good size Redfish or Spotted Sea Trout. Sight casting to tailing Red’s is a close second though and this can be done standing in a fishing kayak rather than wading in the mud.
There are few things you always should bring paddling to ensure you have a fun and safe experience:
- Personal Floatation Device (PFD) approved by the coastguard- always wear your PFD on the water (provided with all rentals)
- Sunscreen & sun protection (sunglasses, long sleeve fishing shirts & hats with wide brims are great)
- Lip balm
- Waterproof baggie or dry bag to keep your phone & keys safe
- Lots of water for drinking & a snack
- GPS and/or map to ensure you stay on track & return to where you intended
- Phone and/or VHF radio to call in case of an emergency
- Friends/Family- it’s always safer & much more fun to paddle in a group
You can bring your own kayak or rent one from Matagorda Adventure Company (MAC). They have a wide variety of boats available including Sit on Top Kayaks, StandUp Paddleboards, and kayaks you can pedal with your feet like a bicycle. MAC offers fun tours if you would rather have a local guide lead you. The tours include basic paddling instruction which will accommodate all skill levels and are great way to experience the tranquility of Matagorda on the water while learning about the natural environment.