PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Outdoors

April 13, 2013

Chester Moore column: Flounder fishing in the rivers

PORT ARTHUR —    Flounder fishing in both the Neches and Sabine Rivers has been very good in the last couple of weeks.

    In fact it has inspired me to dedicate the majority of my flounder activities at least through summer in the river systems, mainly the Sabine near my home.

    Over the years I have taken some notes on flounder in the rivers and would like to share them with you this week as there some subtle and a couple of major differences in habits between the rivers and bay dwelling populations.

    #Mobility-Through tagging studies it has been found that flounder tend to stay in a general area once they move in from the Gulf. In fact, a flounder Capt. Skip James and I tagged in April 1996 in Bridge Bayou was caught several months later 100 yards away in the same bayou.

    I have found flounder in the rivers are far more mobile, moving with concentrations of baitfish. If you hit flounder in a spot one day and return the next and do not find them, simply start searching out the shad which are the key. It is not abnormal to find them half a mile or more away the next day.

    Of course some spots always hold fish because they always hold bait but do not get caught up on hot spots. Focus on the movement of shad.

    #Depth-I caught a nice flounder in the Sabine River last Wednesday fishing a drop-shot rig which is one popular with bass fishermen fishing deeper water. There were baitfish holding on a ledge in 14 feet of water and I lowered down the drop shot to see what I might be able to catch there. It ended up being a flounder and was not the only one we caught in the same area in two days of fishing.

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Outdoors
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  • Chester Moore column: The East half of Texas is catfish country

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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 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”.)
     

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