Rockport hunting

Tradition lives on: Rockport hunting and fishing club is oldest on Texas coast

by David Sikes,  |  published on December 17, 2012

No one is quite sure how hunters were awakened in 1912 at the newly established and exclusive Port Bay Hunting and Fishing Club.

But based on the century-old club’s admirable adherence to tradition it’s a good bet the tinkling of a hand-held brass bell was the first sound hunters heard outside their doors each morning. The bell tolled at 4:15 a.m. each day this past week at this modest outpost that celebrates waterfowl with reverence and revelry.

A possible difference between then and now is that the future oldest continuously operating hunting and fishing club on the Texas coast may not have been where it is today.

Danish immigrant Andrew “Pop” Sorenson operated several of the earliest Rockport area hunting clubs in the 1890s. Open to the public, one of Sorenson’s camps was located along Copano Bay’s south shore on a narrow spit of sand still called Clubhouse Point.

A hurricane destroyed most of that club. And some stories suggest Sorenson may have scavenged one of the buildings and barged it a short distance to establish his landmark legacy on a nearby Port Bay shoreline, where the club remains today.

The bayfront property he chose had been operated previously as Kemp’s Duck Preserve on Puerto Bay, but everyone knew it as Kemp’s Place. It was in bad shape. When Sorenson took over, the operation switched from public to a private playground for the wealthy.

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