, Port Arthur, Texas


July 10, 2013

OUTDOORS COLUMN: Live bait tops for summer flounder

PORT ARTHUR —  I am not a fan of live bait fishing for flounder. You have to fish live bait

slow for yours truly but there is no debating its effectiveness particularly in the summer months.

    Let us take a look at live bait and some strategies for using them this time of year.

    1. Mud Minnows: The live a long time on the hook, can be readily

bought at bait camps and are super wiggly. I think flounder like that.

    2. Mullet: Mullet are easy to catch in cast nets, can be bought at a fair

number of bait camps and live a fair amount of time on the hook.

There is a different in their hook lifespan being dragged across the

bottom, cast and thrown versus set out for use for redfish and trout.

    3. Croaker: Believe it or not, live croaker makes killer flounder bait. In

the spring flounder bellies are often filled with tiny croaker and these

can be caught in cast nets and bought at many coastal bait shops,

especially those in Galveston Bay on south.

    4. Shad (Menhaden, Pogy): These are great live baits for flounder but

they do not stay alive on hooks for a long time after drag fatigue sets

in. My favorite way to use them is under a popping cork. Think

fishing around the riprap/rocks.

    The basic rig for most flounder fishing is the Carolina or Fish Finder Rig.

It typically consists of an egg sinker rigged above a swivel and attached

to a leader. I have been using the Mr. Crappie Trolltech Sinkers from Bullet Weights for Carolina Rigs.

    They are made for trolling and are designed to have no line twist. And since you essentially attach the line to each side of the sinker instead of putting an egg sinker on you avoid other problems as well. These are absolutely killer and I highly recommend them on Carolina Rigs.

    Bullet Weights also has chrome egg sinkers that are being used for fluke

and halibut. I have tried them but cannot say if they give any

advantage or not just yet. Anglers on the West Coast swear by them for their

flatfish so there may be some validity.

    In terms of hooks I prefer wide-gapped hooks like the Mustad Ultra Wide

Gap Croaker Hooks.

     We are living in the best flounder fishing era of the last 30 years with the specie’s numbers growing by the year. More and more flounder are growing to their full potential and I suspect it will take a nine pound fish to win the CCA STAR tournament this year.

    Right now the leader is Paul C. Gaylord with a  7 pound, 10-ounce fish and there are still six weeks left in the tournament.

    I have no question there is a nine pounder somewhere in the channel in the Sabine area or lurking around some of the structure in the Bolivar area. And whoever catches it will most likely do so with live bait.

    That is enough to inspire me to tie on a big mud minnow and start seeking out that winning fish.

(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 or online at

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  • 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”.)

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    April 19, 2014

  • Chester Moore column: Bank hot spots have great value

    April 12, 2014

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    April 5, 2014

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