About the Area
Not only is Port Mansfield a great place to get away from reality but we have an abundance of wildlife (deer, turkey, hogs), 2 public parks with fishing piers w/playground equipment, fishing lights, and a new birding center, 2 free boat ramps, 4 restaurants,
4 bait stands and numerous boat barns.
Here's a little history of Port Mansfield....
In 1930, Port Mansfield, or Redfish Landing as it was once called, was an isolated fishing camp located on the sandy shores of the Laguna Madre. Newspaper
reports from the time refer to giant redfish over 4 feet long and trout so numerous that a fisherman could walk from his boat to the shore without getting his feet wet.
Redfish Bay remained fairly isolated during the war years, while the Army Air Corps used a good sized section of the Laguna Madre as a practice range by pilots
training at the air gunnery school in Harlingen. About four miles south in the back bay, large round pilings were placed in the shape of an aircraft carrier with canvas stretched between the posts. The Air Corps pilots used these targets for bombing and machine
In March 1950 the Navigation District went to court and sued to have the 1,760 acres of land immediately surrounding the port facilities of “Red Fish Landing” condemned. In a court ordered settlement,
the District paid the American Legion $3 an acre for the land it owned.
The small fishing park was renamed Port Mansfield in honor of State Senator Mansfield from Columbus, Texas, who headed the commission that pushed legislation through the U.S. Congress to have the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway extended from Corpus Christi south
to Port Isabel. The new harbor at Port Mansfield was completed by 1956.
The next logical step was to open a jetties-protected channel across Padre Island to the Gulf of Mexico.
The initial operation proceeded smoothly until the day the dredge ran its hoses right through an old Spanish galleon, the Santa Maria de Yicar, that had lain hidden under the mud since 1554.
Suddenly there was a rumbling and the pumps seemed to hesitate for a moment. Then a twinkling of silver flashed in the afternoon sun as the hoses spewed a fortune in old Spanish coins into special holding areas built to contain the spoil banks. Work was
briefly stopped as workers scrambled through the cloying mud gathering as many of the shiny orbs as possible but after a short time the hoses were once again lowered and the men resumed their task.
The first cut through Padre Island was completed by September 1957.
Disregarding advice from the Army Corps, local engineers chose to construct their jetty with geometrically-shaped concrete blocks called tetra pods that looked vaguely similar to the toy jacks used in sidewalk games. The blocks were placed with three legs
touching the sandy bottom and the fourth leg sticking straight up.
In addition, the rocks to the north of the channel were placed atop the shattered remains of the Spanish galleon. However, no special care was taken to provide a proper footing to support the weight of the massive stones, which would prove to be a costly
mistake. Several storms hit along the Texas Coast in November of that year and the erosive power of the waves washed around and beneath the three legged stones and with nothing below but Padre Island sand, the jetties soon sank completely out of sight. The
channel itself was almost completely filled in.
The Island might have healed itself if it were not for the intervention of the Army Corps of Engineers, which in July 1962, re-dredged the channel and built a new stone jetty of granite boulders to protect the channel through Padre Island. Today, the Port
Mansfield Gulf Channel, now known as the East Cut, serves as the dividing line between North and South Padre Island.