, Port Arthur, Texas


August 3, 2013

Chester Moore column: You can enjoy outdoors on a budget

PORT ARTHUR —  I am extremely blessed to work in a field that involves a personal passion.

    A love for the great outdoors has been an important part of my life for my whole life so I fully understand and appreciate the opportunities I have been given.

    That does not mean however that I love all aspects of the outdoors business.

    The industry has over the decades tried to sell the public on two things that are harmful to the business itself in the long-run and the people they are serving.

    The first is the idea of trophy hunting.

    I have nothing against hunter pursuing big deer, African game, etc. and shooting for the record books. It is very understandable to enjoy pursuing the biggest and most elusive of a species.

    If you watch outdoors television or read certain publications, however it seems that all that matters is the Boone & Crockett score of antlers for whitetail deer or the various systems used to gauge exotics and other species.

    When a young kid tunes into a hunting program and sees them killing only giant bucks and then he only gets an opportunity at a doe or a spike it creates a feeling of inferiority.

    Worse than that, it has created a feel of superiority in some hunters who fancy themselves game managers of sorts.

    I have had several people who hunt in East Texas tell me of bringing a nice eight pointers back to camp and having other hunters either chastise or make fun of them because the deer was not “old enough” or “wasn’t a trophy”.

    Truth be told the vast majority of hunting programs on television involving deer are done behind high fences where the chance of encountering a giant buck is much higher than on open ground. I have nothing against high fenced hunting but let’s be honest here. With whitetail, there is a difference between shooting one on a 1000 acre high fenced property stocked with huge bucks and managed for them than on an open range hunting club in Jefferson or Hardin County.

    On the fishing (and hunting) side of things is the constant barrage of misinformation that one must have the latest gear.

    I understand the marketing part but let’s take boats for example. A fish doesn’t care if you catch them out of an aluminum boat or a $60,000 bass boat.

    Fish also will still hit lures that have been out for a few years and have no prejudices against off brand products.

    I love new gear as much as the next guy but we need to let the folks who can’t afford it know they can still participate.

    The archery field may be the most trendy and gear driven of all. In fact, I had someone sheepishly tell me their bow was 10 years old and they hadn’t upgraded to very latest in archery gear.

    I reminded them thousands of deer are killed with recurves and longbows every year so it’s okay. Technologically they are still ahead of those guys.

    For those who can afford the best products and hunt the biggest ranches I am truly happy.

    The industry however needs to do a better job of promoting the outdoors experience, not just the killing of giant trophy animals and buying $500 fishing rods.

    If they want to have a future for the business, it would be wise not to scare off the next generation who will have a hard time paying for college and technical training much less putting down their life savings for a hunting trip.

(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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  • 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”.)

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