, Port Arthur, Texas


May 25, 2013

Chester Moore column: STAR tournament kicks off summer season

PORT ARTHUR —  The state’s largest (and longest) tournament, the State of Texas Angler’s Rodeo (STAR) runs May 25-Sept. 2 and offers anglers a chance at some huge prizes.

   STAR is the annual membership recruitment drive for the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) Texas

    “The tournament spans the entire Texas Gulf Coast and offers current CCA Texas members the chance to win over $1,000,000 in prizes and scholarships. Fishing categories include speckled trout, flounder, sheepshead, gafftop, dorado, king Mackerel and ling (cobia).”

    “There is also a special tagged redfish division in which winners receive complete boat and truck combos. In order to ensure a fair and impartial outcome, the tournament is professionally directed. It is also zero-budgeted, which means that the money raised is put back into the event in the form of media, prizes and more scholarships.”

    The first five tagged redfish weighed in win a 2013 Ford F150 “Texas Edition” connected to a Haynie 23 Bigfoot with a Mercury 150 L Pro XS Optimax and Coastline Trailer

    The next five tagged redfish weighed in win a Haynie 23 Bigfoot with a Mercury 150 L Pro XS OptiMax and Coastline Trailer.

    The largest trout in each division (Upper, Middle, Lower Coast) will win a 22’ Shoalwater Legend with Mercury 150 L Pro XS OptiMax and McClain Trailer

    The largest gafftop will take home a Bluewave 180 V-Bay with Mercury 115 L OptiMax and McClain Trailer. Ditto for the flounder and sheepshead divisions.

    The largest kingfish, dorado and ling will earn an Explorer by Dargel 216 Blue Water Series with Mercury 200 XL OptiMax and McClain Trailer.

    The most exciting thing for many parents is the youth division where hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships can be earned.

    One $50,000 college scholarship will be awarded for catching the largest flounder in this division (ages 6-10). One $50,000 college scholarship will be awarded for catching the largest gafftop in this division (ages 6-10).

    One $50,000 college scholarship will be awarded for catching the largest sheepshead in this division (ages 6-10).

    Three $20,000 college scholarships will be awarded for catching the largest speckled trout (6 lb. minimum) in each of the Upper, Middle and Lower Coasts for kids 11-17.

    Three $20,000 college scholarships will be awarded for catching the largest flounder (18″ minimum), gafftop or sheepshead in this division for kids 11-17.

    Our area is blessed to have several weigh stations including Peggy’s on the Bayou in Bridge City, SGS Causeway on Pleasure Island and Sportman’s Supply in Sabine Pass.

    This will be a truly interesting year for the tournament as flounder populations are on the rise and so is the size of fish. I predict it will take a nine-pounder to win this year.

    Also look for Sabine Lake to be a real factor in the Upper Coast trout division. That usually goes to the Galveston Area or a little south of there but we have been red hot for big trout.

    As unique catches are posted we will post them on these pages where you continue to get the most comprehensive outdoors coverage found anywhere.


    Anglers wanting to get an idea on what is going on in the local fishing scene should drop by the Saltwater Angler's League of Texas (SALT) Clubhouse on Pleasure Island this afternoon.The cut-off for weigh-in is 3 p.m.

(To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at You can hear him on “Moore Outdoors” Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI or online at You can watch his Web series online at

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  • Chester Moore column: Bank fishing good approach on catfish

     Summer is one of the best times to seek catfish in Southeast Texas and thankfully, for local anglers without a boat, there are catfish in just about every canal, drainage ditch and bayou in the area.
      Fishing from the bank has its disadvantages but there is a way around it. This involves making the fish come to you.
      European catfish and carp anglers who typically fish exclusively from the bank use a system called “ground baiting,” which involves putting chum out with the bait. They attach a small cylindrical device above their swivel, which holds chum and dispenses it as the water rushes by. The problem is these rigs are not readily available in our marketplace.
      However, with a little ingenuity, taking a 35-millimeter film canister, punching a hole in the bottom and on the lid and then punching more holes along the side can make a similar device. This acts as a perfect chumming device and is very inexpensive.
      Not everyone has film canisters these days so the softer plastic aspirin bottles will also get the job done.
      Rig this above your swivel and weight, and then fill it with your favorite chum. Now you will not only be chumming the area you fish in but also bringing fish directly to your bait.
      Any kind of chum will work, but a mixture I have had some success with was menhaden oil (available through many mail order offshore supply catalogs) mixed with soured milo. The oil creates a huge chum slick and when it mixes with the milo, the smell is almost unbearable, which means catfish love it. The best part is that a little bit goes a long way.
     Something else to consider is using jack mackerel as bait.
     This oily fish is available in larger supermarkets in a can for less than $1, and I can attest it will bring in fish. While fishing in the Gulf of Mexico and tagging sharks for the Mote Marine Laboratory, my partners and I were able to chum in and catch nearly 40 sharks while using less than two cans of the stuff. It is oily and stinks to high heaven, so catfish should love it.
      For anglers interested in using film canisters to chum their bait, something else to consider is the use of a popping cork. Even if your bait is on the bottom, you can rig a popping cork above it and attach a baited film canister below. This will allow you to do some extra chumming and use the cork to “pop” the chum out whenever you want to release more.
     Another great tip for land bound anglers is to use braided line. In talking with several anglers who pursue brackish blues from the bank, I have learned that loosing striking fish can be a problem.
      I am not sure as to the reason but a definitely solution is using a braided line because they have no stretch. When making long casts with monofilament from the bank you have the potential for lots of line stretch when can make a poor hookset.
     Sixty yards of line might have five or six feet of stretch and that is plenty for a big blue to undo. When using a braid like Fireline, Gorilla Braid or Spiderwire you can forego these problems and greatly enhance your chances of putting some catfish in the frying pan.
     (To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at You can hear him on the radio Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on “Moore Outdoors” on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI or online at and watch him Saturdays on on “God’s Outdoors with Chester Moore”.)

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