PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

February 15, 2014

Chester Moore column: Local bass fishing underrated

Chester Moore
The Port Arthur News

PORT ARTHUR —  Last year’s Bassmaster Elite Series opener on the Sabine River in Orange showed our area has solid bass fishing.



    No, the catches were not anything in comparison to the size of the giants caught the following week at Lake Falcon but it did highlight we have a diverse fishery, with hundreds of square miles of bass habitat.



    And we do have solid fish by coastal river/estuarine standards.



    In the Thursday edition, we looked at the bass forecast for East Texas from Lake Fork to Sam Rayburn. Now let us look at what is going on in immediate local waters.



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    Sabine River: The Sabine system did not get much pressure from the Elites last year with only about 12 out of 100 even fishing it. That might have been a mistake. Local anglers have been posting solid catches in the Sabine, especially on the Louisiana side near Nibblett’s Bluff and also in the Cow Bayou area.



    We are six years away from our last big fish kill and with each passing season the fishery should be enhanced. I am hoping the high salinity levels last year killed off some of the salvinia. I know some of the big cold fronts pushed quite a bit of it out toward the Gulf. Access is a major issue on parts of the Sabine.



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     Neches River: The Elites that fished the Neches completely bombed. The water clarity in the area went from stained to milk chocolate overnight and completely killed their hopes of scoring on good fish.



    The anglers fishing the Neches are very tight-lipped about their catches but I have personally seen there are strong numbers of fish in the Vidor/Lake Bayou branch of that system.



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    Calcasieu River: Local anglers knew little about the Calcasieu River bass fishery until the big tournament last year when several top 10 finishing anglers caught their fish there.



    Alton Jones caught his fish in a small canal that went into a neighborhood and the people who were watching him, Rojas and others fish were shocked there were bass that size in that area.



     Again, the Calcasieu is six years off a big fish kill so there should be a generation of bass getting close to their potential.



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    Taylor/Hillebrandt Bayou System: Todd Faircloth won the tournament in this area and proved it is a strong fishery. In fact, most local anglers have always considered it the top local fishery.



    Water management and vegetation control have been issues local anglers have voiced concerns about but it should hold us this year, giving locals their best shot at a five-pound plus fish. They are not super abundant here but they do exist.



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    Clear Lake/Houston Area: Bassmater Elite pro Mike McClellan finished in the top 12 by running all the way from Orange, down the Intracoastal, across Galveston Bay to the bayou systems in Clear Lake.



     Who knew?



     After talking with some local anglers, it seems as if there are some relatively unpressured quality bass in the shadow of Houston right on the edge of Galveston Bay.



    Interesting.



(To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at cmooreoutdors@gmail.com . You can hear him on “Moore Outdoors” Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 and watch him 10 a.m. Saturdays on GETV.org)