, Port Arthur, Texas


February 13, 2013

OUTDOORS COLUMN: Iaconelli teaches Pirate Anglers to “Never Give Up!”

PORT ARTHUR — Mike Iaconelli is arguably the most popular professional fisherman on the planet.

    And he has the accomplishments to back it up.

    Iaconelli is the only angler to win the Bassmaster Federation Nation Championship, a Bassmaster Classic and an Angler of the Year title. He has weighed in more than 100 pounds in a single tournament and hosted the wildly popular “City Limits Fishing” for four years.

    But it’s his passion for angling embodied in his “Never Give Up” motto that draw anglers to him, particularly youth.

    Last Thursday he took the time to spend a special evening with the newly formed Deweyville Pirate Angler’s Club (DPAC).

    “It’s so important to get young people involved in fishing. It is important for the sport and it is also important for the kids. Fishing is a fun activity they can enjoy for life,” Iaconelli said.

    DPAC was formed last month by (my wife) Lisa Moore a teacher at Deweyville High School.

    “We have a lot of kids that fish and at this school we are always looking for ways to get them involved in positive things.There are a growing number of bass clubs in Texas including one in Lumberton and the various clubs compete against one another at water bodies around the state,” Moore said.

    “The kids are so excited. They have already fished a tournament on Rayburn and having Mike Iaconelli spend an evening with them was just amazing. We can’t thank him enough.”

    Iaconelli fielded questions about techniques ranging from fishing swimbaits to proper line selection and gave the students an in-depth look at the movements of bass throughout the year.

    “It is always exciting to visit with kids and help instruct and inspire them about this sport I love so much. I salute Deweyville High School for having something like this for the students. It’s an awesome opportunity for them,” Iaconelli said.

    Perhaps the most important moment of the evening came when “Ike” as his fans call him explained the meaning behind “Never Give Up!”

    It originated with an uncle who struggled with cancer and never gave up the fight to get well. That was a pivotal even in Ike’s life and has since served as inspiration for scores of fishing fans.

    “No matter what happens, keep going, stay positive and never give up!” he exclaimed.

    From March 14-17, Iaconelli and more than 100 other top anglers will fish the Sabine River Challenge in Orange on the first stop of the Bassmaster Elite Series in 2013.

    This will be a prime opportunity for young outdoors lovers to see many examples of hard work, positive thinking and deep study pay off as the anglers try to crack the code of the bass in the Sabine region.

    It was truly inspiring to watch Iaconelli interact with the students and take the time out of his incredibly busy schedule to do so. In my 21 years in the outdoors business I have seen many in the outdoors industry talk about working with youth but very few actually do it.

    Last week Mike Iaconelli showed he is the real deal and gave young anglers from our area an amazing opportunity.

    That earned him the respect of the DPAC anglers and as the evening drew to a close you got the idea they will never give up on their bass fishing dreams after their “Ike” encounter.

    For information on Iaconelli’s many endeavors go to

 (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

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     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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