Halfmoon Reef Lighthouse

I love the old tall tale about the lighthouse and the naval ship. As the story goes, a naval ship navigating its way through the fog saw a light in the distance. Fearing that they were on a direct collision course with the approaching vessel, the naval ship radioed and requested that the other vessel change course. The other vessel replied that the naval ship should do the same. The naval ship reiterated their request, boasting that it was the largest ship in the fleet. The other “vessel” promptly replied, “I’m a lighthouse. Your call.”
Texas LighthousesOf the sixteen lighthouses originally constructed along the Texas coast, seven lighthouses remain. These guiding beacons are situated along the Gulf Coast from the southernmost tip of Texas to the mouth of the Sabine River along the Texas-Louisiana border. Some have been decommissioned and stand as silent sentinels along the Texas coast. Others still send their piercing light into the Gulf night.
Halfmoon Reef FrontThe Halfmoon Reef Lighthouse is the Lone Star State’s oldest surviving wooden lighthouse. Built in 1858, the hexagonal-shaped lighthouse played a key role in guiding ships into Matagorda Bay. For years, the Matagorda Island Lighthouse, built in 1852, guided ships safely into the bay. However, many large ships often ran aground on Halfmoon Reef, a shoal on the eastern side of the bay. So, the Halfmoon Reef Lighthouse was constructed and strategically situated on the southern tip of Halfmoon Reef to warn ships to avoid the jagged rocks hiding beneath the surface of the water.
Halfmoon Historical PicSurrounded by water, the Halfmoon Reef Lighthouse was an island unto itself. Twice in its history, a husband and wife shared the responsibility of manning the lighthouse. Stephen Hill, one of the lighthouse keepers, had a daughter named Sadie who was prone to sleepwalking. After her parents found her sleepwalking dangerously close to the edge of the lighthouse platform, they decided to take action to protect their daughter. The solution? They tied one end of a string to Sadie’s big toe at bedtime and other end to her sister’s big toe. Problem solved!
Port Lavaca BoatsThe Halfmoon Reef Lighthouse survived the hurricanes of 1854, 1875, and 1886. However, the lighthouse was damaged by the hurricane of 1942 and was consequently decommissioned. The structure was moved from its watery perch to land owned by the late W.H. Bauer in Point Comfort. In 1978, Bauer donated the lighthouse to Calhoun County Historical Commission.
Halfmoon Reef LighthouseIn the mid-1980s, the lighthouse was moved to its present location in Port Lavaca. Today, the Halfmoon Reef Lighthouse is regarded as the city’s most important landmark, welcoming travelers entering the city from the East on Highway 35. If you find yourself traveling down Highway 35, slow down and take a few minutes to visit the lighthouse and enjoy this little slice of Texas history.

Fishing Matagorda Bay

Washington Irving, the author of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, said, “There is certainly something in angling that tends to produce a serenity of the mind.” I agree with Irving. There is indeed something therapeutic about being outdoors — especially casting a line into a body of water and the accompanying anticipation of catching a fish. Being outdoors is good medicine and even more therapeutic when you share your outdoors adventures with good friends.

I recently read The River of Doubt by Candice Millard, the account of Theodore Roosevelt’s epic journey to map an uncharted tributary of the Amazon River in Brazil. “Throughout his adult life,” Millard wrote, “Roosevelt would relish physical exertion, and he would use it not just to keep his body fit and his mind sharp but as his most effective weapon against depression and despair.” Dr. Christian Scirica, a physician at Massachusetts General Hospital would agree. He believes that “exposure to natural environments … improves physical and emotional health.”
At Matagorda BayI have had the privilege of having some fun fishing adventures on Matagorda Bay thanks to my friend Holloway Sinclair. Everyone in the large Sinclair family loves the outdoors and often share adventures together. More than that, they enjoy inviting others to join them. I’m grateful for their kindness in inviting me to join family and friends to fish with them at one of the most beautiful coastal areas in the Lone Star State.

Having a knowledgeable fishing guide is important. Although there are some really great guides at Matagorda Bay, it’s been my privilege of fish with Captain Keith Phillips of Red Fish Matagorda. He is an expert fishing guide with a great sense of humor. If you fish with Keith, then count on laughter being a big part of the experience. Keith knows the coastal waters, where to find the fish, and how to make the experience enjoyable.
Foursome FishFor an occasional angler like myself, I am amazed at Keith’s attention to detail. He looks at the water, the currents, the wind, the marshes, and everything about the environment to determine where to find the fish. He knows exactly where to cast each line. And, with a single glance at the slightest movement of your fishing rod, he will know before you do that a fish is about to take the bait.

Fishing is enjoyable. However, sharing the adventure with friends makes the experience far more meaningful and fun. And, like Irving said, spending the day fishing will produce “a serenity of the mind.” Breathing the fresh gulf air, getting soaked by a sudden rain, catching our respective limits, and enjoying laughter and conversation with friends — these are the things that can refresh and revive even the most stressed soul.
Ryan Rush with RedfishI encourage you to find time to get outdoors with family or friends. Enjoy the serenity that comes from taking in beautiful vistas, breathing fresh air, waiting for fish to bite, or whatever you enjoy doing in the great outdoors. You’ll be glad you did. And, if you want to enjoy a really fun fishing adventure, then give my friend Captain Keith a call. You’ll definitely enjoy your time with him and you will definitely catch fish!