Ninety miles east of Houston in Southeast Texas the town of Port Arthur is located on a coastal plain where elevations range from sea level to nine feet. Surrounded by marshland and forests, and nourished by plentiful local water sources, Port Arthur is home to great natural beauty and friendly people. The city features curious architecture dating back as much as 100 years, thanks in part to some eccentric former residents. The Golden Triangle Veterans Memorial Park honors American war veterans, and the Queen of Peach Shrine features beautiful gardens. Buu Mon Buddhist Temple is a four-tier pagoda tower and Buddhist temple. Other notable sights include Rose Hill Manor, built in 1906; White Haven, a spacious New England colonial-style mansion, built in 1915; and the Pompeiian Villa, a modest 10-room replica of a circa 74 AD Pompeii-an home. Around the perimeter of the city is water, and lots of it. This area of southeast Texas has more than a dozen lakes, and is traversed by all three major river systems. Offshore and deep-sea fishing excursions are easily accessible in the Gulf of Mexico, just a few miles south.
Pleasure Island, located between Sabine-Neches Ship Channel and Sabine Lake, was once a secret anchorage of the pirate Jean Laffite, and now has been developed for resorts. Facilities include a park, marina and Yacht Club, golf course, lighted fishing piers, boat launches and charter fishing boats. Sabine Pass is south of Port Arthur on Highway 87, and features great fishing along with a modern marina and a few local fishing charters. Sea Rim State Park is named for the marsh grasslands along the Gulf coastline, and hosts outdoor activities including airboat tours, boat rentals, and fishing. Surf fishing is popular here, along with charters into the marsh lakes. Sabine Lake lies just east of Port Arthur and is veritable treasure trove for Speckled Trout. The waters in the Sabine Lake system have been heralded by Texas Parks & Wildlife Department officials to host the state’s largest Redfish and Flounder populations. For larger, more exciting fish, byways and streams leading to the Gulf of Mexico open onto the wide populations of deep-water species. Charters are available for trips as short as a few hours long to as long as a few days and nights on the water.
Calcasieu Lake and the Sabine Lake area are not as crowded as other, more popular Texas bays and waterways, and fishing trips into these waters can bring you immediately into a lot of fish, and some very busy action. Connecting rivers and streams constantly replenish these nutrient-filled waters, further enhancing populations of Speckled Trout, Redfish, and Flounder. Spring fishing patterns are dictated by runoff from Sam Rayburn and Toledo Bend Lakes during spring (February through May). Flounder grow big and numerous in the bayous, while large Specks hang out in the passes and flats. Top water action heats up with the summer weather (June through August), when Trout and Redfish feed on massive schools of baitfish. In the fall (September through December) these lakes and streams are practically stocked with Flounder migrating from the bayous, while Redfish and Stripers continue to thrive well into winter. These seasons also enhance the numbers of local Trout, Snapper, Carp, Bass, Catfish, Sheephead, and many other species that frequent the waters around Sea Rim State Park. Offshore charters from Sabine Pass, Pleasure Island, and Sea Rim State Park bring you up to 200 miles away from the Gulf coastlines, and target thrilling sport fish, like Marlin, Dolphin, Wahoo, Tuna, and Swordfish, to name a few.
With such a great reputation and continued successful fishing, it’s a wonder the waters around Port Arthur aren’t crowded every day of the year. Thankfully this is still one of the best kept secrets in Texas fishing society. If you do get to these parts, however, it’s good to know there won’t be too much to worry about – at least as pertains to fishing and overall sheer pleasure. Port Arthur is a friendly, interesting town, with many fun things to see and do. Even if you don’t have too much extra time, you can always count on getting your money’s worth.