, Port Arthur, Texas


May 1, 2013

OUTDOORS COLUMN: Understanding local tides crucial

PORT ARTHUR — Do you remember Ed Holder?

    He was the outdoors editor for this publication for decades before I came along and had an incredibly rich knowledge of all things outdoors.

    He mentored me for a number of years and one of the first things he did was give me an understanding of tides and how important they are to local fishing conditions.

    As you probably know, tides are the periodic rise and fall of all ocean waters caused by gravitational forces from the moon and sun.

    Holder said, the easiest way to understand how tidal movements work is to compare them to a wave.

    “In essence, a tide is a large, slow-moving wave that starts in the ocean, moves through a pass, and ends up in the back of a bay or upland into a river system.”  

    “Moving on but keeping with the idea of the tide as a wave, it’s very important for anglers to understand that tides are weaker at point’s farther inland than out in the Gulf or nearby.”

    The strongest tide will be near the Gulf and the weakest will be far into the bay or river, he explained.

    It is important for anglers to look at the strength of tides on charts. For example, if a tide is only calculated to move six inches at the end of the Sabine Jetties, anglers fishing in the upper reaches of Sabine Lake or in the Bessie Heights Marsh area probably won’t see much of a movement.

     Just as the actual tidal force weakens somewhat, the peak of the tidal movement will be delayed traveling north from the Gulf.

    For Mesquite Point (Pleasure Island at Causeway) you can add 56 minutes. At the Pleasure Island Marine add 1 hour, 30 minutes. For Stewt’s Island add two hours.

    These are the numbers Holder showed me back in 1997 and they are pretty accurate , but you always have to consider other factors.

     Remember, wind influences waves, and tides are no different.”


    Big south winds common in spring push more water toward shore.

    If you have only a six inch tide drop but you have had a week of 25 mile per hour plus south wind you may have no actual drop below normal levels. Wind can affect the levels that much. They can of course also add much heighth to a high tide.

    For local fishing here are a few tide based tips to keep in mind for various species and locations.

1.    At the jetties the best fishing on the channel side is typically during an outgoing tide and on the Gulf side it is better coming in.

2.    Flounder fishing from spring through early fall is typically better on an incoming tide.

3.    Bass fishing in our marshes peaks on outgoing tides as the fish are move from small lakes and sloughs.

4.    Big late summer/early fall tides spark bull redfish to bite.

5.    Slack tides always produce slow fishing but anglers fishing around the channel can score on good catches when ships pull water and cause current to move. This is especially true for flounder.

(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 and watch his WebTV series online at Follow him on Twitter @flexfishing.)

Text Only
  • 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

Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' House Committee at Odds Over Obama Lawsuit Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands Raw: UN School Used As Shelter Hit by Tank Shell Raw: Gunmen Attack Iraqi Prison Convoy Plane Leaves Ukraine With More Crash Victims The Rock Brings Star Power to Premiere Raw: Families Travel to Taiwan Plane Crash Site Arizona Execution Takes Almost Two Hours Gen. Odierno Discusses Ukraine, NATO at Forum Gaza Fighting Rages Amid Cease-Fire Efforts Mint Gives JFK Coin a Face-lift Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers Ariz. Inmate Dies 2 Hours After Execution Began Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return
Sports Tweets