PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Outdoors

February 16, 2013

Chester Moore column: Targeting Rayburn crappie

PORT ARTHUR —

    Without a doubt, Rayburn is the most overlooked crappie fishery in East Texas. That is because it is mainly known for its awesome largemouth bass production and for hosting national tournaments.

    This month crappie bite picks up with fair to good action in the major feeder creeks on the south end of the reservoir that have close access to deeper water. The crappie will begin moving up from the main lake toward main lake points and into the mouth of creek holding tight to brush and grasslines.

    The most common and arguably the most productive is with live shiners fished on a free line. Well, it is almost a free line rig. Instead of a simple hook and shiner, the preferred rig is a hook and shiner finished off with a 1/16-ounce weight which will allow the bait to get down a little quicker and into the lair of some of the bigger fish.

    Crappie are notorious for only biting in a very specific depth. For example, if they are hanging in 12 feet of water and your bait only gets down to 10, there is a good chance you will not be bit. And if you do, it will likely be from a small straggler. The big crappie did not get that way by being easy pickings, so you will want to focus your efforts in a very focused, determined fashion to get the big slabs. If you catch a couple of big slabs on shiners but are being hammered by smaller fish, consider switching over to little tube jigs.

    Tube jigs are highly popular in other states but have not really caught on in Texas as proven crappie getters, but the small two-inch tube jigs in colors like chartreuse and Arkansas shiner are excellent for thick slab crappie.

    As winter segues to spring, the crappie move up far shallower. Some anglers will think the fish have “disappeared” once they go shallow. That is because they are not targeting the fish in the grass.

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Outdoors
  • 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 cmooreoutdoors@gmail.com. You can hear him on the radio Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on “Moore Outdoors” on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI or online at www.klvi.com and watch him Saturdays on GETV.org 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

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