, Port Arthur, Texas


February 9, 2013

Chester Moore column: Local fish remain mysterious

PORT ARTHUR —  I can’t catch a carp to save my life.

  Over the years, I have tried very hard to catch carp in local waters and have had very little luck.

  I thought it might be because our area had few carp but after Hurricane Rita that changed.

  In the canal systems in Port Arthur and bayous in the Orange area I saw tens of thousands of dead carp so the fish are here but despite a fair knowledge of how to catch them, yours truly does not have the talent for the Asian imports.

  In Newton County, we have taken a good number of them with bow and arrow on a piece of property that floods when the Sabine River rises. Carp up to 20 pounds will literally swim by deer blinds there and make easy targets.

  Buffalo are a fish I have never caught here and only seen a few over the years yet they are abundant.

  Rita revealed a strong number of buffalo in the Sabine River drainage and hoop netters on the Louisiana side of the river catch some huge ones.

  On the saltwater side of things there are also a few things that are present but are seen by very few anglers. I on the other hand have been blessed enough to encounter them.

  Take the rock hind for example.

  This is a kind of grouper that lives in the Gulf of Mexico and will occasionally be found near shore. They are red with black spots are quite striking to behold.

  A few years back I caught a small one at the end of the Texas jetties on a live shrimp. It was in fact only about twice the size of the shrimp I caught it on but it was a nice surprise nonetheless.

  In 1996 my cousin Frank Moore watched a four foot class tarpon terrorize a school of huge mullet in Old River Cove. It jumped right in front of us but we could not get it to hit anything live, dead or artificial.

  That year it was dry and there were all kind of interesting sightings in the lake and around the jetties.

  In 2003 my father and I got on top of a school of tarpon a few miles west of the Sabine Jetties and he had a five footer hit right at the boat. If the fish had jumped our direction instead of up it would have landed in the boat which could have made for an interesting situation.

  Have you ever seen a remora?

  Those are the fish that cling to sharks, rays and whale sharks and usually fall off before bringing their hosts into the boat.

  While on a charter trip out of Galveston in 1999, an angler on our boat caught one we thought was a keeper ling at first. It was well over three feet long which made me wonder what on Earth it had been hanging onto. Whatever it was had to be gigantic.

  Seeing that would be truly exciting and would definitely make up for my lack of seeing buffalo and catching carp.

  (To contact Chester Moore, e-mail them at . You can hear him on “Moore Outdoors” on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI or online at



Text Only
  • 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 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”.)

    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