, Port Arthur, Texas


February 8, 2014

Chester Moore column: In the wild the eyes tell the story

PORT ARTHUR —  Last Thursday’s Critter Cam question had a phenomenal response.

 For those who did not see the outdoors page, the photo showed a mysterious eye asking what type of creature it represented.

 The answer?

 A redfish.

 Some readers got it, several guessed speckled trout while other guesses ranged from snake to coyote.

 Replying to all of the enthusiastic e-mails got me to thinking about the eyes we see in the great outdoors and that as a photographer and videographer it has given me a unique opportunity to look into the eyes of many, many wild creatures. The following is some wild eyes I have looked into along with a few observations.

 • Cape Buffalo-In my forthcoming book “Forever Wild: My journey from the wild side to the dark side and back” I detail a spooky encounter I had with a Cape Buffalo on a huge Texas ranch. The thing that sticks with me is that this thing had a blank stare that somehow seemed to cut right through me. It at once looked as if it was see nothing but then again seemed to be seeing everything. It creeped me out.

 • Whitetail Buck-It might come as a surprise to some but no creature I have ever photographed or been around for that matter has a look in its eyes as intense as a whitetail buck in rut. Numerous times I have looked through the lens of a camera and seen raw determination to eliminate any competition for available does. Bucks become like machines in the rut and are actually quite dangerous to be around.

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 Great White Shark-In “Jaws”, Capt. Quint the character played so brilliantly by Robert Shaw says of white sharks, “They have the blackest eyes, like a doll’s eyes.” I had the amazing opportunity to cage dive with white sharks in 2002 and had the chance to see these eyes in up close and personal fashion. “Jaws” writer Peter Benchley nailed the look of the great white’s eyes.

 At one point I had a direct stare down moment with an 18-footer and still get chills thinking about it. That’s a good thing in my book by the way.

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 Gray Fox-They say curiosity killed the cat but I don’t think I have ever seen anything that looked quite as curious as a little gray fox I filmed. These underrated beauties are about the size of a big house cat but their eyes show a gigantic curiosity and even sort of whimsical nature. Perhaps I project that onto them because I have observed foxes playing but the feel I got was one of deep curiosity.

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 Manatee-I have had two opportunities to snorkel with manatees in Florida’s Crystal River and will never forget looking into the eyes of these gentle giants. You would think swimming alongside something that weighs 1,500 pounds would be nerve-wracking but once you look into their eyes calm comes over you. Their peaceful nature shines through.

  It is easy to enter the great outdoors looking to accomplish a specific task like shooting a limit of ducks or catch some redfish for the grill. However if we hit the woods or water with an open mind and an observant eye of our own we can catch things that enhance the experience beyond perhaps even our own expectations.

 (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 and watch him 10 a.m. Saturdays on



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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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