, Port Arthur, Texas


October 3, 2012

Chester Moore column: Wolves still fascinating after 20 years



    Even captive animals have moments where you look them in the eyes and see something that embodies wildness in a unique way.

    Mills related the story of wolf researcher David Mech who stayed for an extended period on an island with wolves and never saw the first one. He found tracks and scat and heard them on a routine basis but never made eye contact.

     Wolves also keep things wild.

     In Yellowstone National Park where gray wolves were reintroduced in the 1990s, elk had become so accustomed to no predation they ended their annual migration and were eating the aspen in the park to shreds.

    When wolves were added to the equation that ended as they trimmed the elk herd, restored some balance and made things wild again. Wolves have a tendency to do that.

    Critics slam the wolf reintroduction saying the animals are causing too much harm to elk and livestock in the region.

     Something they do not mention is that pronghorn numbers have gone up there.

    The Yellowstone region had sparse coyote populations when wolves were in great numbers there but once they were wiped out by government predator control programs their numbers skyrocketed and pronghorns plummeted. Coyotes fed on the young and vulnerable.

    Gray wolves have pushed out many of the coyotes (and probably killed a few as well) and now pronghorns are on the rise.

     A balanced ecosystem is always a healthy one, which is why deer hunting for example is so important to a state with as many deer as we have in Texas. There must be balance for optimal health.

    I greatly appreciate the support of this paper and most importantly all of you over the years. Your thousands of letters, emails, phone calls and now texts and Facebook messages keep me in tune with what is going on and push me to do my absolute best to bring you a unique look at the outdoors.

    The first 20 years in this business were great but the next will be even better. Always look to the future and remember things are better in the wild.

(To contact Chester Moore, email him at You can hear him on “Moore Outdoors” Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI and watch his new series “Gods Outdoors with Chester Moore” online at

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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 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”.)

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