Conversations with Capt. Mason Matejeck
Captain Mason Matejeck, our newest ambassador, is a native Texan and full-time fly fishing guide between Port O'Connor and Rockport, TX. Mason's one of those guys that belongs in a time before social media; preferring to put his head down and get to work at being the best-of-the-best in his fisheries. He's not one for "clout" and is about as humble as they come. Just make sure to obey his one rule, the hat doesn't come off for nothin'.
We caught up with Mason to talk fishing, Texas conservation, and more.
Mason: My whole life all I have ever really done is fish and hunt. Sure I played sports as a kid and most of them I were good at but they didn’t make my legs shake like a string of tarpon or a big buck coming to a pair of rattling horns. I knew at a very young age I wanted to be a guide when I grew up. What I didn’t know was whether I wanted to be a hunting or fishing guide. Until, one day I found myself in Swan Point Landing, the local fly shop in my now hometown of Rockport, Texas. I don’t know what Dave put in my drink but I became overly obsessed with fly fishing. Every weekend, my father would bring me down to Rockport or Port O’ Connor and we would fish just like we had always done except I now would only take a fly rod with me. I had found my calling. Shortly after, I got a skiff and began exploring the creeks that I would wade fish with my dad as a kid. A whole different world opened up and I had to master it. I now get to share where those creeks lead to with others and teach them the art of fly fishing along the way.
MW: You fish a lot of water from Port O’Connor to your “home waters” closer to Corpus Christi. What’s it like learning to consistently fish such a diverse area with so much variety?
Mason: To me, the challenge of learning a fishery is what keeps me going “day in and day out”. Like noted before, I began fishing these areas at a very young age so by the time I started guiding, I already knew the general routes of each bay system plus some. The main challenge for me was learning where the fish moved according to what bait was most abundant at that time of year or where they would move to on certain tides or water temps. By no means do I have it down to a science but I feel like I’ve got a pretty good grasp on it.
MW: What’s your favorite species to fish for? The “you can only catch one for the rest of your life fish”?
Mason: There are a lot of fish I have yet to knock off the bucket list but if I had to choose one I’m familiar with, I’m going with redfish. You can catch them year round on the Texas Coast, they swim in shallow water, they tail and they are very eager to eat a fly.
MW: Do you even own a conventional rod or is it fly ’til you die?
Mason: From a guiding standpoint, I prefer to only guide fly fishermen and women. I do however still like to get out and wade fish for trout with conventional gear on occasion. At the end of the day, it’s fly or die baby!
MW: When we came to visit you, we had some pretty early mornings to beat the heat. What’s a normal day of guiding look like for you?
Mason: Texas summers are brutal and the heat can knock you down. Some mornings, I leave the boat ramp in the dark and others not til 7-8. It mainly depends on the tide and water temps. Summer days typically run from 6 in the morning til 2 in the afternoon while winter is 8-4.
MW: We got the gist that the Texas oyster reefs are something close to your heart. What would you like to see done in your area to improve oyster conservations and in turn the fishery?
Mason: Our reefs have been nearly wiped out by corporate and local fleets. If I had it my way, TPWD would completely shut them down and spend the next few years rebuilding the damage. It saddens me to look across the bay and no longer see reefs sticking out of the water that I used to walk on as a kid. Hopefully Texans can stick to their roots, come to an agreement and work together on the topic. “Oyster reefs are the rain forest of the ocean”.
MW: What does Captain Mason do on a day off from guiding? Let’s get the rundown.
Mason: If I don’t go fishing on my day off, you’ll more than likely find me in the back yard shooting my bow. I also have a huge passion for duck hunting. November through January, you can find me nearly everyday sitting in a duck blind. I started guiding duck hunts 4 years ago and have not looked back. I have a 3 year old black lab named Riggs and we like to get it while the getting is good!
MW: What’s one of your favorites memories/stories as a guide?
Mason: I was fishing one of the greatest men I have ever met on a blue bird day in November right after a screaming northern a few years ago. Barry Austin, a mountain of a man was on my bow for the day. The tide was pouring out of the lakes and when I say there were more redfish than you can shake a stick at, I mean it! From the time I hopped on the poling platform that morning to the time the sun was going down, I didn’t get off the stick until it was time to go home. Barry is not one to quit early. 9 hours into the day, Barry had boated 92 redfish. His goal was to catch 100 and we were bound and determined to get there. The only problem was, we ran out of drinking water and Barry’s arm started cramping up. Between the cramping arm and sore legs from getting up and down off the platform we decided 92 fish to the boat was enough. Barry and I have shared some of the greatest experiences on the water one can imagine. At 78, Barry is as sharp as a stick and as tough as an old bull. It is a pleasure to be his go to guide and friend on the water. I have never met a man like him and never will again for as long as I live.
Thanks for the good times and stories, Mason. If you'd like to book a charter along the Texas coast, you can get in touch with Captain Mason on his website, https://captainmasonm.com, or on Instagram: @captain_mason.
We've been stoked by Mason's response to our products and we're excited to have a hardcore guide who spends hundreds of days a year in 100ºF+ Texas heat help us continue to dial in our performance wear.
Find Mason's top two favorite items below:
The Lenwood Tech Shirt
"I'd wear this shirt for the rest of my life. It has the feel of a performance shirt with a classy look. I where one almost every day on and off the water!"
"Being on the water almost everyday, I where these to keep the sun off my legs. Lightweight, breathable, and comfy. Paired with the Lenwood Shirt, it'll be so light you'll almost feel naked!"