, Port Arthur, Texas


April 24, 2013

OUTDOORS COLUMN: Bream fishing picking up

The bobber kept going under.

    Every time it hit the water, the tiny red and white bobber went under and the angler pulled in a bream.

    I watched this from afar at the Louisiana Tourist Bureau just across border from Orange off of Interstate 10 last week.

    I was doing some photography in the beautiful swamp setting and saw several anglers catching solid numbers of bream.

    The bream are usually spawning pretty heavy by now in the ponds I fish in Orange but the cold weather seems to have pushed them back a bit. However, with each warming trend I am seeing beds form and more big, beautiful (and tasty) bream moving to the shallows.

    Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) officials report the bream action has been very good on Sam Rayburn and its about time for it to kick off in a big way on Toledo Bend as well. The bite has been off and on there but once the last front moves through we should see solid bream action for a while.

    The spawn usually peaks around the first full moon in May but there are numerous spawns that occur and they can go well into summer in some areas.

    Local anglers should rejoice that we have excellent bream fishing options in our local rivers and bayous. The Sabine River and its tributaries Little Cypress, Cow and Adams Bayous have better bream fishing than I have seen in a number of years and reports indicate the fishery is coming back in the Taylor Bayou system.

    TPWD officials restocked them into those areas after Hurricane Ike to help bring them back after the massive fish kills.

    Bream fishing is a great way to spend time with family and introduce kids to the sport of fishing. All it requires is a cane pole (or spincast combo) with a bobber, hook and an earthworm or cricket.

    I have been using the Gulp crickets over the last few years and have found them to super effective. They are easier to keep up with than the real thing and work just as good if not better. They also last through several bites.

    Bream is a catch-all term for a variety of perch and there are no size or bag limits. Anything the size of one’s hand or bigger is eating size and some get big enough to get small fillets off of.

    I watched Erin Beard catch one that weighed nearly a pound on one of my F.L.E.X. Fishing trips for kids two weeks.

    This lively young lady has incredible fishing skills for a fourth grader and as the massive perch doubled over her light action rod and turned, flipped and run in the water I remember what fishing was all about.

    We as adults can make fishing complex and it certainly can be but I defy anyone to find anything more enjoyable than fishing over a bream bed with an enthusiastic child. You will both have the kind of fun that usually comes only in childhood.

    If you catch a mess of bream or an especially big one send photos to for inclusion in the next edition of Real Outdoors of Southeast Texas.

    We want share your catch with the region and highlight our wonderful fisheries.

 (To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him a You can hear him on “Moore Outdoors” Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI. You can follow him on Twitter @flexfishing and watch his WebTV Series at www.

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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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