PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Outdoors

March 15, 2014

Chester Moore column: Big flounder can be caught near oyster reef

PORT ARTHUR —   Some of the best flounder caught in the Sabine ecosystem come from the big oyster reef on the south end.

     Reefs are difficult to fish for something that lives on the bottom but they can be fruitful for anglers seeking really big flounder.

    Flounder fishing in these shell-studded locales involves a totally different method than in the marshes in the Keith Lake chain for example. Oyster reefs have pretty much the same depth throughout, and as such, drifting while fishing a bait on the bottom is the prime way to locate the fish.

    Live bait like large mud minnows rigged on a jighead are usually best, but plastics are also good. The Norton Sand Eel and Gulp eel imitations are good options. Keep the jighead moving and never let it drag on the bottom. Keep it hopping or you will spend more time hung up than fishing.

    And yes you will get hung up anyway.

    Another piece of equipment that is a big help to drifting anglers is a wind or drift sock. These are parachute-like bags that are put into the water and used to slow down your drift, and it can mean the difference between catching fish and not catching fish especially if the current is extra-strong. I have used a homemade drift sock, but again, there are several quality commercial drift socks.

    The section of ship channel between a bay system and the Gulf is another great spot for big flounder.

    Targeting these deep-water flatfish requires electronics. There are, after all, no openly visible markers to go by. Underwater, however, there are plenty of signs that point to possible flounder "holds" or areas in which the fish congregate.

    The ideal flounder hold is a small spot or shelf on the edge of a steep drop-off. This hold might be a 20-square-foot area in 15 feet of water that borders a 30-foot drop-off. In most situations the 15-foot zone will gradually get shallower as you move toward the bank, but then drop off suddenly into the main channel.

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Outdoors
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    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

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  • Chester Moore column: It's time for bowfishing

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  • 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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