PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Outdoors

April 17, 2013

OUTDOORS COLUMN: Big reds biting in the Sabine

Big redfish are awe-inspiring!

    To see these muscle-bound, beautiful members of the drum family double over a rod and otherwise terrorize tackle is one of the greatest things an angler can encounter in local waters (or any where else for that matter).

    Last week my friends Terry Thompson and Dave Meads of San Antonio came in to fish during the days we had the brutal winds. They complete shut out fishing in Sabine Lake, the south channel and limited us to the Sabine River.

    What we found was there are solid numbers of big redfish in the river feeding around large concentrations of mullet. Where the mullet are the reds are close behind and most of them are over-sized.

    As always I took some mental notes and combined them with information, I have gleaned from other anglers fishing in the river over the last few weeks. Here are the patterns I discovered.

    #As noted earlier the reds are around the mullet. The Dupont Outfall Canal produced reds but only when the big numbers of mullet were there. There are many small shad in the system but that is not what the reds are on. They are feeding heavily on mullet so be mindful of that when scouting out area.

    #The bayous on the river are holding some reds but most of the fish seem to be in the mouths of the bayous where they meet the river or near-drop offs in the main river channel. If you do not find mullet on the surface, look with your electronics below because that could be what the reds are holding on. A steep drop-off with big mullet concentrations is the perfect scenario.

    #The reds in deeper water (or on the edges of the deep) prefer either crankbaits with deep sounding rattles or none at all. I have caught them on the Super Pogy from Bomber Saltwater Grade which has a couple of big ball bearings that give a deep-resonating sound and on a Rick Clunn R2 Squarebill from Luck E. Strike that has no rattles. Both of these have produced for me recently but crankbaits with small rattles did not.

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Outdoors
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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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