Since the earliest times when Port Isabel was visited by wintering Karanqua Indians, fishing has been an important part of the Laguna Madre area lifestyle. A 1930s newspaper article listed the wide variety of fish caught including redfish, trout, pike, sheepshead, croaker, pompano and red snapper. Port Isabel was the first location in Texas to ship gutted and gilled fish.
In 1929, a cannery was constructed on the channel for the processing of locally caught shrimp. Big schooners hauled their catches to the dock where workers prepared the shrimp for shipment to other parts of the country. By the 1950s Port Isabel was known as the Shrimping Capitol of the World.
Local oysters were in such demand. They seldom made it beyond San Benito and Brownsville. The Port Isabel oyster was small but delicious and could be eaten year round.
On February 7, at 7:00 p.m., the Museums of Port Isabel will be celebrating all things coastal and culinary during their 17th Annual Taste of the Laguna Madre. The evening will feature all you can eat fish and shrimp and sides. Participating local restaurants will bring their best seafood dishes and sweets. This year’s event location will be the Plains Capital Bank, 115 Queen Isabella Blvd. Live music and silent auction will also be part of the evening’s festivities.
Tickets on sale at Plains Capital Bank, Port Isabel City Hall, Port Isabel Public Library, Port Isabel Chamber of Commerce, South Padre Island Chamber of Commerce and the Laguna Madre Art Gallery or by calling Museum Director Jeannie Flores at 956/943-7602. Tickets are $25 per person and include a combination ticket to the Museums of Port Isabel, a raffle ticket for the Grand Prize Basket, all you can eat and drink, live music, silent auction and sweet shoppe. See facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/
187392741467606/. Museum website: www.portisabelmuseums.com.