PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Outdoors

January 25, 2014

Chester Moore column: Funny and scary do collide in great outdoors

PORT ARTHUR —  One of the funniest things that has ever happened to me in the field was during the opening day of the 2000 season. Outdoor writer Larry Bozka and I were hunting with Will Beaty’s Central Flyway Outfitters near Winnie and we had a big wad of teal show up right at first shooting light.

 There were 10 hunters in pit blinds along the levee we were hunting on and the 20 or so birds didn’t have much of a chance if we were even half good at shooting.

 Bozka and I fired away at three birds that were on our end of the setup and after dispensing all six of our rounds, the birds fell.

 The last one we shot at must have decided it was going to go out in a blaze of glory and take out a hunter because it started spiraling toward us at an intense speed.

 Larry and I looked on in horror as this teal headed straight for is with the last bit of strength it had. When you are in a pit blind like this there is no real way to retreat or even duck for that matter.

 I knew it wouldn’t kill us but a duck traveling at the speed it was could easily break a nose or crack a bit and that would be hard to explain back home.

 “Honey, I need to go to the hospital, a green-winged teal gave me one heck of a rib shot this morning.”

 That would not fly in most households. Actually, it would in mine as my wife is used to that kind of thing by now but the prospects of getting hit by a kamikaze teal were not very thrilling.

 Larry and I looked at each other with that ‘oh well’ look and watched as the seemingly angry teal hit the ground, literally lodging itself in the four or five inch gap between our blinds.

 We got revenge by our group bagging about 40 of its relative that morning and putting that one in a gumbo back at camp.

 Looking back, another funny encounter that started off as scary involved bees.

 Nothing frightens me more in the wilds of Texas than bees, particularly the deadly Africanized “killer” bees. These bees are spreading and have firmly established populations in the Brush Country and part of the Trans-Pecos and Hill Country.

 The sting of one bee might only cause some pain (unless you’re allergic) but the wrath of a swarm could spell death.

 In the spring of 2003, I had a truly frightening bee experience. While using a box call to lure in a lonely gobbler, I heard what I literally thought was a low-flying plane in the distance. All of a sudden, a shadow passed overhead and I looked up to see a massive swarm of bees less than 30 feet up. I remained calm, said a little prayer, and watched the huge swarm pass by.

 After talking with ranch officials, I learned the Africanized kind is present in the area, and thanked God the swarm did not sense how frightened I was. In fact, I was filming a segment for Keith Warren’s television program and once the bees moved a great distance, I told the cameraman to hit record.

 “They see bees can smell fear,” I said.

 “That’s not true! I was just more frightened than I have ever been and about 10,000 bees flew over our heads.”

  I can laugh now but back then I was shaking in my boots.

  We will have a full report on the TPWD Commission meeting in Austin in our Thursday Outdoor Update section including new regulations and the lack of action taken on speckled trout.

 (To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at cmooreoutdoors@gmail.com. You can watch him on "God's Outdoors with Chester Moore" Saturdays on GETV.org at 10 a.m. and listen to "Moore Outdoors" Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI.)

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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 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”.)
     

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