PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Outdoors

May 11, 2013

Chester Moore column: Sabine produces strange catches

PORT ARTHUR —   Fish identification can be tricky.

    There are some varieties of fish that look a lot like, others that are rarely season and there are even season appearance variations.

    The Sabine area in particular tends to produce catches that baffle anglers on a yearly basis.

    Take for example the strange silverfish fish with the orange bellies that have been caught over the last 8-10 years in the Sabine River and in drainage canals in Port Arthur.

    They look a lot like perch but they are pacu, a South American fish that are cousins in the piranha. Local catches are attributable to aquarium releases and apparently, there have been enough for the fish to breed. It has been a few years since I had to identify one but there could still be some lurking out there.

    Someone sent me a photo of a fish they thought might be in the infamous Asian snakehead.

    It turned out to be the common grinnel (bowfin, choupique) in the breeding phase when the male displays neon green coloration.

    Occasionally tarpon will show up around the Sabine Jetties and in Sabine Lake itself. I saw one in Old Rove destroying a school of mullet one hot August day in 1996 and we did a story somewhere around 2001 of an angler who caught a six-footer on the Louisiana side of the Sabine Jetties.

    Sabine Lake used to be a widely renowned tarpon fishery with tournaments taking place in Port Arthur but for some reason the “silver kings” as they are known ditched us and now rarely enter our inland waters.

    Mangrove snapper however started showing up here about a decade ago and are caught every summer.

     These hard-fighting fish also known as “gray snapper” show up everywhere from the jetties to Bessie Heights Marsh.

    A few years back I caught a small rock hind at the end of the Texas side of the Sabine Jetties while fishing for speckled trout. Rock hinds are a member of the grouper family and are red with black dots all over their body.

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Outdoors
  • Chester Moore column: Give summer crappie a chance

    July 8, 2014

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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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  • Chester Moore column: Bank hot spots have great value

    April 12, 2014

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