PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Outdoors

July 13, 2013

OUTDOORS COLUMN: Natural gifts are the best

Simplicity is a lost concept.

In a world intently fixated on all things electronic, the seemingly simple things in life often are glossed over.

As a children’s minister who works with kids twice a week I am amazed at just how disconnected children today are from simple pleases. I will never forget hosting a sleepover event for the boys of our church and realizing many had never roasted marshmallows or even heard of the practice for that matter.

You see the fact kids are so disconnected offers a unique opportunity to bless them with simple things that will flat out amaze them on their birthdays or other special occasinos. Let us take a turtle shell for example.

Box turtle and other turtle shells are a common find in the woods and I am always collecting the ones in good condition. I am amazed at how kids are so excited about seeing and handling them. They offer a great teachable lesson.

When a kid gets their hands on one you can teach them how the shell is a turtle’s mobile home of sorts but it is unique because it comes supplied with its own armor. When a predator attacks, the turtle can hide its head and legs and retreat into its own sanctuary. That is real life stuff kids crave but do not understand how to articulate until it is presented to them.

Snake sheds are common around barns, are occasionally found in the woods, and are popular with the kids I work with. I keep snakes and people are always giving me the sheds they find and they end up being prizes for answering trivia questions during my God’s Outdoors classes.

The look on a child’s eye when he or she figures out a snake leaves behind its old skin to reveal new is priceless. Some of course know this but many are shocked and being able to take home a memento of such an occasion is an exciting moment for them.

Without a doubt, the most popular natural gift you can find (or buy) is shark teeth. Kids (and big kids like me) love sharks and a shark tooth or jaw set is something that is guaranteed to put a smile on their face.

I remember getting my first set of shark jaws from a souvenir star on the Galveston Sea Wall back in the early 1980s. I treasured that thing and had my Dad mount it on a board to hang on the wall.

If you are crafty or are adept at using Internet search engines, you can find creative ways to put the teeth on a necklace. Almost every day of my life, I wear a shark tooth necklace as a reminder of one of my favorite creatures and because it just plain looks cool.

Boar’s tusks are also popular items especially with numerous reality programs dealing with hogs. These are easy to find and small ones are cheap to purchase on eBay. That might take some of the fun out of it but if you have a kid that thinks hogs are cool it is an option.

You do not have to get fancy to have an impact on the next time the child in your life has a special occasion. You might just need to step out in the woods and see what you can find.

(To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at cmooreoutdoors@gmail.com. You can hear him on “Moore Oudoors” Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI or online at www.klvi.com.)

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Outdoors
  • Chester Moore column: Give summer crappie a chance

    July 8, 2014

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    June 14, 2014

  • Chester Moore column: The East half of Texas is catfish country

    May 31, 2014

  • 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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