For “Travel Tuesday”, let’s visit Port Mansfield TX , in the Texas Gulf Coast Region:
“Home to some of the best beaches in America, the Texas Gulf Coast region draws millions of visitors to this Texas playground. Stretching some 350 miles from South Padre Island & the Rio Grande Valley, all the way to Beaumont & the Louisiana border, this region is renowned for its wildlife & natural beauty, as well as the home of America's space program. Discover the Beaches of the Texas Gulf Coast Region.”
“Port Mansfield enjoys the same latitude as Palm Beach, Florida.
The Rio Grande Valley has a semi-tropical climate and much of it has lush semi-tropical vegetation. Port Mansfield benefits from a sea breeze that keeps it warmer in winter and cooler during the summer.” (That sounds good for a start!)
“Port Mansfield is one of the most popular fishing destinations on the Texas Gulf Coast, located on the Laguna Madre, opposite Port Mansfield Channel in northeastern Willacy County, Texas. Once an isolated and obscure fish camp known as Red Fish Landing, today Port Mansfield is recognized as one of the ten top fishing locations in the United States.
Port Mansfield offers fishermen access to the Laguna Madre, Padre Island and the Gulf of Mexico. Boaters and fishermen enjoy the uncrowded and unpolluted environment of Port Mansfield and South Texas.
Each July the Port Mansfield Chamber of Commerce sponsors a Fishing Tournament attracting anglers from all over the State of Texas to compete. The fishermen compete for prizes and trophies for both Offshore Fish, such as marlin and sailfish and for Inshore / Bay Fish, such as trout and red fish.
The port was opened in 1950 by the United States Army Corps of Engineers, which wanted a harbor between Corpus Christi and Brownsville. It was named for United States Representative Joseph J. Mansfield, who introduced the Mansfield Bill authorizing the extension of the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway from Corpus Christi to the Rio Grande.
In 1957, when the first pass was cut through Padre Island, the little settlement had a few residences, some port buildings, a motel and store, and a few fishing cabins. The final Port Mansfield Channel was completed across Padre Island in 1962. The ensuing tidal exchange between the Gulf of Mexico and the Laguna Madre produced an abundant population of redfish, brown shrimp, and flounder, and greatly expanded the sport and commercial fish economy of Port Mansfield. Port Mansfield in the early 1990s had mail service through the community post office at Raymondville.
The Laguna Madre Ecosystem
The Laguna Madre is clear and shallow -- less than 4 feet deep in most places -- and its pristine waters support about 80 percent of the remaining seagrass habitat off the Texas coast. These vast "meadows" of seagrass provide a nursery for juvenile fish as well as prime hunting ground for larger predators like spotted sea trout and red drum, both of which inhabit the Laguna Madre in record numbers, according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Other game fish in the Laguna Madre include snook, black drum, flounder and gray snapper.
Fishing the Laguna Madre
The Laguna Madre appears on most maps as a single body of water but is essentially two bays connected by a narrow channel. Port Mansfield is on the lower bay, and offers access to the Laguna Madre, a 130-mile-long bay that stretches from Corpus Christi to the mouth of the Rio Grande. The Gulf of Mexico is only a few minutes from Port Mansfield by boat, and its deep waters also harbor a wealth of game fish.
Some of the best fishing in the Laguna Madre takes place from spring into early summer, though angling opportunities exist year-round. Live bait, particularly shrimp, works well for trout and drum, and artificial bait like topwaters, shallow-diving plugs and soft plastics also work well on light tackle. Some anglers also have great success with fly-fishing.
You can launch a boat in several locations in the Port Mansfield area, including the Port Mansfield TPWD boat ramp (tpwd.state.tx.us) and a public ramp in Adolph Tomae Jr. County Park (co.cameron.tx.us). Several privately owned marinas have launch facilities as well. You can also fish from several public piers and jetties in and around Port Mansfield, and several parks along the shoreline have access for wade fishing and kayak launching.
The Laguna Madre is separated from the Gulf of Mexico by the Padre Island National Seashore (nps.gov), which represents the longest stretch of undeveloped barrier island in the world. Wade fishing can be very productive on both the bay and gulf sides of the island itself. Traveling farther into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico opens a wide range of other fishing opportunities, including a chance to tangle with marlin, barracuda, bonita and tuna, among others. After launching a boat in Port Mansfield, it takes less than 15 minutes to reach the offshore waters of the gulf.”
“Port Mansfield and the Lower Rio Grande Valley boast some 487 different species of birds. This diverse variety makes ours one of the premier birding spots in the United States. Many of these birds can be seen up close and very personal in and around the Port. Additional opportunities to view these beautiful birds in their natural setting are available via water.
The Lower Rio Grande Valley has several major refuges and sanctuaries such as the Laguna Atascosa Wildlife Refuge, Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge, Bentsen State Park, Anzaldua Park Sal Del Rey (SALT LAKE), East Lake Tract, and Teniente Tract.
Port Mansfield also offers a Nature Trail and a Bird Sanctuary.”
“Some of the most exciting and unforgettable hunts are done out of the Lower Laguna Madre, which is teeming with wildlife and an abundance of waterfowl. Morning and afternoon hunts available.
Some of the waterfowl found in the Lower Laguna Madre include: Bufflehead, Northern Pintail, Gadwall, Green & Blue-Winged Teal, American Widgeon, Shoveler, Redhead, Mottled, Cinnamon Teal, and Snow Geese.”
Port Mansfield Liberty Ship Reef
“World War II Heritage for Divers, Anglers and the Public
The bravery of America’s Merchant Marines helped the Allies win World War II. Now, fourteen World War II ships that carried supplies and oil into the most dangerous fronts of the war serve as artificial reefs off the coast of Texas. Located in six readily-accessible sites, they offer divers and recreational anglers an encounter not only with magnificent reefs, but also with America’s maritime heritage.
The Port Mansfield Liberty Ship Reef is composed of three Liberty Ships, the Edward W. Scripps, the Joshua Thomas and the George L. Farley. Nine other Liberty Ships and two tankers are located at other reef sites along the Texas coast. Brochures for these reef sites are available from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
The Farley brought supplies to the embattled port of Antwerp in early 1945. During that period an armed guard officer wrote that the “sky was black with Antiaircraft bursts.” The Joshua Thomas twice made the Murmansk run to the northern Soviet Union in springtime, a particularly dreaded voyage because the twenty-four hours of sunlight made convoys vulnerable to air attack from occupied Norway at any time. The Scripps transported Army and Red Cross personnel and vehicles to the Normandy invasion.”
On This Day:
President Eisenhower signs "In God We Trust" into law, Jul 30, 1956:
“On this day in 1956, two years after pushing to have the phrase "under God" inserted into the pledge of allegiance, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs a law officially declaring "In God We Trust" to be the nation's official motto. The law, P.L. 84-140, also mandated that the phrase be printed on all American paper currency. The phrase had been placed on U.S. coins since the Civil War when, according to the historical association of the United States Treasury, religious sentiment reached a peak. Eisenhower's treasury secretary, George Humphrey, had suggested adding the phrase to paper currency as well.
At a Flag Day speech in 1954, he elaborated on his feelings about the place of religion in public life when he discussed why he had wanted to include "under God" in the pledge of allegiance: "In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America's heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country's most powerful resource in peace and war."
The first paper money with the phrase "In God We Trust" was not printed until 1957. Since then, religious and secular groups have argued over the appropriateness and constitutionality of a motto that mentions "God," considering the founding fathers dedication to maintaining the separation of church and state.”
Johnson signs Medicare into law, Jul 30, 1965:
“On this day in 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signs Medicare, a health insurance program for elderly Americans, into law. At the bill-signing ceremony, which took place at the Truman Library in Independence, Missouri, former President Harry S. Truman was enrolled as Medicare's first beneficiary and received the first Medicare card. Johnson wanted to recognize Truman, who, in 1945, had become the first president to propose national health insurance, an initiative that was opposed at the time by Congress.
The Medicare program, providing hospital and medical insurance for Americans age 65 or older, was signed into law as an amendment to the Social Security Act of 1935. Some 19 million people enrolled in Medicare when it went into effect in 1966. In 1972, eligibility for the program was extended to Americans under 65 with certain disabilities and people of all ages with permanent kidney disease requiring dialysis or transplant. In December 2003, President George W. Bush signed into law the Medicare Modernization Act (MMA), which added outpatient prescription drug benefits to Medicare.
Medicare is funded entirely by the federal government and paid for in part through payroll taxes. Medicare is currently a source of controversy due to the enormous strain it puts on the federal budget. Throughout its history, the program also has been plagued by fraud--committed by patients, doctors and hospitals--that has cost taxpayers billions of dollars.
Medicaid, a state and federally funded program that offers health coverage to certain low-income people, was also signed into law by President Johnson on July 30, 1965, as an amendment to the Social Security Act.
In 1977, the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) was created to administer Medicare and work with state governments to administer Medicaid. HCFA, which was later renamed the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), is part of the Department of Health and Human Services and is headquartered in Baltimore.”
Ray and I acted like carpenters again, and made new supports for the screen porch windowsills. They had been made out of cedar 1x12’s, and in two areas where they had been cut around the posts, they had cracked. Being hard to replace, even if we could find some more around here, we had to repair them. It is difficult to go back over what someone else has built, and figure out why they did what! Before noon, it was getting hot, we had had enough, so we called it a day.