Until 1948, the little-used highway from Raymondville to
Laguna Madre called Redfish Bay was traveled by occasional fishermen going to deserted
beaches. No community marked the road's end at the water's edge. The people of
Willacy County, employing own financing, set about creating a port. They built
wharves, docks, and a turning basin. They laid out a town site and called it Port
Mansfield. The Ship channel completed in 1962, slicing across shallow Laguna Madre,
through Padre Island ventures into the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Former
"occasional" fishermen now have lots of company - sports editors rate
Mansfield as one of the 10 best fishing spots in the nation!
Port Mansfield's surrounding salt flats and small spoil islands
support an amazing variety of resident and migratory birds. The nearby Laguna Madre
area is well-known among bird watchers.
The town is also home to the U.S. Weather Bureau and U.S. Coast
Guard Stations. Contact the Chamber of
Commerce office for additional information on
events, accommodations, and dining facilities at (956) 944-2354.
Launching ramps, marine supplies, docking facilities, and
both wet and dry storage available. Fishing by boat or from piers in Laguna Madre;
fishing and beachcombing on Padre Island; deep-sea fishing in the Gulf of Mexico;
charter boats available. Depending upon season, fishing location, and proverbial
luck, catches may include redfish, speckled and sand trout, sheepshead, flounder,
croakers, skipjack, drum, tarpon, sailfish, marlin, kingfish, mackerel, ling, pompano,
bonito, red snapper, warsaw, and others.
Shallow waters and the smooth, clay bottom near Port
Mansfield offer water skiers and windsurfers a congenial area for testing
their skills. Close access to the deep blue water of the Gulf makes scuba
diving and spear fishing closer than most places along the Texas coast.
watchers and nature lovers will enjoy the nearness of wildlife. It is
common to see whitetail deer wandering about town at night and the road
out of town often features many deer, javelina, wild pigs and turkeys. The
Porter Zoo features nearly 1,500 wildlife specimens on 31 acres in
Brownsville. Several other wildlife refuges and state parks are within
easy driving distance.
Port Mansfield is only about nine miles by boat from
the Gulf of Mexico and Padre Island. The Mansfield Jetties separate this
popular barrier island and boats can beach at either side. On days when
the waves at the jetties are relatively smooth it is possible to travel
down the the Gulf side of the beach to areas less populated by visitors.
Surf fishing, shell hunting, surfing, camping, beachcombing and even
treasure hunting await those who make the trip to the island. By car the
beach is only accessible at Port Isabel Corpus Christi.
Mexico and the international border is within 75 miles.
Matamoros, Reynosa and Progresso all offer outdoor markets, restaurants,
sightseeing, museums, etc. Parking on the U.S. side of the border
is available near the international bridges for a small fee.