, Port Arthur, Texas


October 19, 2013

Chester Moore column: Shutdown puts outdoors access in spotlight

PORT ARTHUR — The American public just got a taste of just how much power our government wields.

  By simply shutting down things popular to the people (national monument, parks, national forest, etc.) they showed how far their influences reaches into our lives.

  In my opinion, the things chosen to shut down were down by design to show that very thing but I will let others delve more deeply into that issue. I am here to talk specifically about the outdoors aspect.

  Locally, anglers were shut out of the Sabine National Wildlife Refuge in the peak two weeks for flounder fishing before the annual Oct. 15-March 15 shutdown. The National Forests so many local hunters hunt during the archery-only season were off limits and access to the Texas Point, McFaddin and Anahuac Refuges was cut off.

  As we noted last week, Florida anglers had a huge surprise to learn thousands of square miles of waters controlled by the federal government was off limits to fishing. Interestingly, one of those locations has been under consideration to be labeled as a “marine protected area” which is essentially a no fishing zone.

 There are people in high positions in the federal government who openly espouse the desire to create many of these “marine protected areas”. They are doing it because they believe it is the best management principle but at the end of the day, you and I are locked out of access. It started when President Clinton created an executive order to create millions of acres of no fishing zones and continued with Bush who did the same thing.

  In addition, President Bush did something quite surprising in making an executive order to declare redfish and striped bass in federal waters as “game fish” thus curtailing commercial harvest concerns.

  I have many concerns about the direction of country but in the outdoors realm here is a scenario that now seems not only possible but has precedent.

  There is no way we can keep spending many as we have in this country and the dollar not lose great value. It is impossible and it does not matter if you are a Democrat or a Republican, math is math. We are digging a deep, deep financial hole.

  The government at some point in the near future will have to cut things. China and Japan have already openly spoke about losing confidence in our system and if they stop loaning us money, then deep cuts are inevitable.

  There is a very good chance things like law enforcement in national forests, staffing on wildlife refuges will be among the cuts. I hope not but the recent shutdown gave us a glimpse of their priorities.

  Since both parties are highly influenced by lobbyists and various special interests, wouldn’t be this be an opportune time for those who are against hunting on federal land and who are advocates of “marine protected areas” to get their visions enacted? They would not have to use the “hunting and guns are bad” argument. All they would have to do is work behind the scenes to shut down under the guise of budget cuts.

  Do a simple Google search for “ban hunting on national forests” and you will see references to partial hunting bans and limitations of specific gear all over the country. These are being fueled by animal rights groups and other fringe elements who want everything from guns to snowmobiles banned on federal land. Ditto for “marine protected areas”.

  Rest assured such a thing would probably not happen all at once. It would start in areas where the influence of freedom-loving outdoors people is weak like in the Northeast and cascade from there. In reality, it is already happening and we have ignored it for years.

  Think about this for as second. The single best flounder fishing location in the fall is illegal to fish from Oct. 15-March 15 (Sabine Refuge). Although it is not labeled as such that is a no fishing zone. The Aransas Refuge near Rockport is shut down Oct. 15-April 15. There is another no fishing zone during the peak time of year.

 These things have happened incrementally and we have just sort of let it pass without notice. I think however, the recent shutdown has awakened people to the possibilities.

  We live in transformative times and should all keep an eye on the freedoms we cherish. I have no idea what the solution to all of this will be but I do know that if we are not informed then we have no chance to preserve our heritage.

  I hope this column informed you about things that have been happening for years that are increasing at a rapid pace.

  We will do our best to keep up with them so you can make informed decisions about your outdoors endeavors and life in a unique period in history.

(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 KLVI. You can watch him Saturdays at 10 a.m. on GETV ( on “God’s Outdoors with Chester Moore”.)


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  • 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 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”.)

    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