, Port Arthur, Texas

February 9, 2013

Chester Moore column: Local fish remain mysterious

Chester Moore
The Port Arthur News

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