While in Edna recently doing genealogy research, I discovered I was only about a half hour from Lavaca Bay, so I decided to go explore that area. I bought a fishing map and decided the north part of the Bay where the Lavaca River comes into it would be the most interesting.
I launched from the north side of TX 35 near the Chicken Food Reef and headed north along the eastern shore. I had planned on going up Catfish Bayou to Swan Lake, but it was too shallow, so I headed up the Lavaca River instead. It's not really a river as I couldn't detect any flow, it's more like a finger of the lake. I saw a couple of boats in the bay, but nothing on the river. The area is marshy, much like the Lighthouse Trails and Matagorda Island trails, but with more grass than bushes. I was able to make it into Swan Lake even though it was shallow going for a while.
The clouds had been building up and it was sprinkling a little, but I wanted to cross the lake to see if there is a northern passage out to the Lavaca River before heading back. The lake is about a mile wide and two miles long. About half way across, the bottom dropped out of the clouds and I couldn't see the front of my boat! I hunkered down in my cockpit, covering up with my cockpit cover to wait out the rain. After 12 minutes of a steady, hard rain, the lightening started up! I quickly tied my paddle to my rope and threw it as far as I could before hunkering down again. Luckily there wasn't much wind at this point as it was pretty hairy just with rain and lightening stuck out in the middle of a lake! After 5 minutes, the lightening stopped so I reeled in my paddle and headed to shore. I couldn't see where I was going but knew I'd soon reach land. Sure enough, I did and held on there for another 10 minutes until the rain let up enough to see. I decided to boogie out of there before more storms came. Luckily, I made it back to the truck without any more excitement, having covered about 13 miles.
I paddle a lot by myself along the coast since none of my paddling friends here like to paddle the bays. I've never been scared until this trip-I was still trembling when I got back to the truck. I knew there were scattered showers and it had sprinkled on and off all day, but I didn't think about getting caught in the middle of a large lake in a lightening storm! Just one more reason to not venture out into the ocean-I'll stick to lakes and bays!! I will probably still paddle alone, but I'll pay much more attention to the weather from now on.
Highway 59 to Edna, FM 3131 past Lake Texana to FM1593. Turn right and head south to TX 35. Turn right and go several miles to the bay. Park anywhere on the beach beside the road.
Hook-N-Line map of Matagorda Bay-it includes Lavaca Bay.
- Sport/Activity: Kayaking
- Skill Level: Advanced
- Water Type: Flat/Sheltered Water