If Southeast Texas is anything “unique” is the word.
This is especially true when it comes to outdoors activities that run the gamut from traditional to 21st century.
Here are five outdoors activities that are prime for the summer months.
Frogging: Although it is not as popular as it was when I was growing up, a fair amount of local outdoors lovers participate in frogging.
The swamps and marshes of the region provide good opportunity for big bullfrogs whose fried legs are a popular dish.
What do they taste like?
Same say chicken but I say they taste like bullfrog.
Short Rig Specks: There are not many places where anglers can fish for trout offshore.
The rigs between High Island and Cameron, La. provide awesome opportunity for big trout during the summer months. In fact, there are a dedicated contingent of anglers who prefer this to any other method of finding these sought after fish.
I have not heard many reports from the rigs yet but right now is the time and the fishing will only get better going into summer.
Herping: Have you heard of “herping”? It is searching out reptiles (mainly snakes) and counting them much as birders keep a log of their finds. Some herpers have life lists just like birders and many also engage in catching and photography of their serpentine subjects.
Our area has wonderful “herping” opportunities and in fact last week I ran into a herper in the woods near Saratoga who was searching out timber rattlesnakes, his favorite snake.
If you like snakes, “herping” may be for you. There are few places in the state with more diverse opportunities within 90 minutes.
Gator Hunting: Limited gator hunting has been opened statewide but the best alligator hunting in the state is during the fall gator season here in Southeast Texas.
We have a huge alligator population and public opportunities (by drawn permit) on state and federal properties. This pursuit has always been popular with local outdoors enthusiasts but it has grown in popularity due to the popularity of the television progam “Swamp People”.
Public Hunting: There is no region in the state with more affordable hunting opportunities than Southeast Texas. Not even close.
We have waterfowl, deer, hog and gator hunting opportunities on the JD Murphree Wildlife Management Area, Tony Houseman State Park and Blue Elbow Wildlife Management Area, Sea Rim State Park, Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge, Texas Point National Wildlife Refuge and numerous wildlife management units around Sam Rayburn, B.A. Steinhagen and Toledo Bend.
On top of that around that area we have the Sam Houston, Sabine, Davy Crockett and Angelina National Forests.
Most of the state has no public access other than draw hunt opportunities in state parks.
We are truly blessed to have some good hunting opportunities for everyone.
(To contact Chester Moore, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. You can hear him on “Moore Outdoors” Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI and watch him online at www.Godsoutdoors.com.)
If Southeast Texas is anything “unique” is the word.
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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 email@example.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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