PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Outdoors

April 10, 2013

OUTDOORS COLUMN: Local “River Monsters” going strong

   Last Monday morning Patrick Jones of Orange called me just as I was getting my daughter ready for school.

    “I caught a big one,” he said.

    “It’s a gar. A real big one.”

    He wondered if I might want to come shoot some photos which I was able to arrange and was excited to see a six-foot nine-inch behemoth he caught using live mullet fished in the wee hours of the morning in Bridge City.

      It reminded me of the truly unique fish that dwell local waterways and that in some form or fashion have made their way onto Animal Planet’s super popular series “River Monsters”.

    Although host Jeremy Wade has never fished the Sabine or Neches, he has visited the nearby Trinity and caught big alligator garfish.

    Here are some fish that can (at least on occasion) be caught in our rivers and estuaries that would qualify as monsters.

    Alligator Garfish: Let us start with the obvious. The Trinity River is the nation’s best for trophy-sized alligator garfish and I would rank the Sabine River/Sabin Lake area as number two. We have lots of big gar in comparison to other systems and they are apparently starting to bite judging by Jone’s big catch.

    Bull Sharks: Sabine Lake itself is a nursery area for bull sharks meaning the big females come into the system to have their young. Bulls have been caught up the Neches and Sabine on occasion and are routinely caught in summer months at Stewts Island where the Neches meets the Sabine River.

    Grinnel: Although not as monstrous in the size department as our other entries, grinnel (bowfin, dogfish, mudfish, choupique) are common in the Sabine and Neches are very similar to the snakehead fish that Jeremy Wade has pursued on his show. These strange looking fish are hard fighters and will gladly take offerings of artificial lures.

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Outdoors
  • Chester Moore column: Give summer crappie a chance

    July 8, 2014

  • Chester Moore column: Alligators tip off when flounder on the move

    June 14, 2014

  • Chester Moore column: The East half of Texas is catfish country

    May 31, 2014

  • 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 cmooreoutdoors@gmail.com. You can hear him on the radio Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on “Moore Outdoors” on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI or online at www.klvi.com and watch him Saturdays on GETV.org on “God’s Outdoors with Chester Moore”.)
     

    May 24, 2014

  • Chester Moore column: Hogs in Texas a complex issue

    May 3, 2014

  • Chester Moore column: Sabine Lake getting artificial reef

    April 30, 2014

  • Chester Moore column: It's time for bowfishing

    April 26, 2014

  • Chester Moore column: Whistlers, snook and ballyhoo, oh my!

    April 19, 2014

  • Chester Moore column: Bank hot spots have great value

    April 12, 2014

  • Chester Moore column: Go deep, fish jigs to catch truly big bass

    April 5, 2014

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