PORT ARTHUR —
Not all anglers have boats.
And while there are a fair number of quality bank fishing destinations on the coast, many anglers are not aware of them. We get questions all the time from anglers asking the location of certain spots they might have heard of or where to fish when on vacation.
This is a collection of some of the very best of these destinations ranging from the obvious to the obscure from the Upper to Middle Coast.
Before we get into these many locations, there are some important things to remember when fishing from the shore in saltwater venues.
Many anglers complain of rarely catching legal-sized game fish from the bank and I believe a big reason for this is their choice of bait. Dead shrimp is by far the easiest bait to get and it will catch everything but that is just the problem.
It catches hardheads, small croaker, sand trout and lots of undesirables. My advice is to bring one rod rigged with dead shrimp (let kids use it if they are fishing) and use just the croaker, sand trout and piggy perch you might catch as live or cut bait.
Also, learn to throw a cast net and catch mullet, mud minnows and baby croaker.
All of these fished on a Carolina rig will catch reds, specks and flounder and the beauty of using a cast net is you do not have to pay for your bait. Of course it is a lot of work but it will save you money.
Something else to consider is using a popping cork. There are lots of snags along shorelines and when fishing on bottom you are bound to get snagged.
By using corks you can fish just above the bottom and avoid most snags while at the same time have the advantage of being able to draw attention to your bait by utilizing the popping action of the cork.
Little details like these can go a long way when your fishing these saltwater walk up venues.
SABINE LAKE AREA
Causeway Bridge/Umphrey Pier
Location: At Pleasure Island on SH 82 at the causeway bridge.
Lure/Baits: Live mud minnows, finger mullet and jigs tipped with shrimp
Best Season/Time: Fall and Spring on outgoing and incoming times respectively.
PORT ARTHUR —
Not all anglers have boats.
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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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