, Port Arthur, Texas


July 31, 2013

OUTDOORS COLUMN: OCARC tournament kicks off Friday

PORT ARTHUR — The 26th Annual OCARC fishing tournament begins Friday evening and this year should be another banner one for the popular event.

    Annually it draws more than 300 participants and tournament director John Thomas said that despite the economic situation it is obvious people still want to fish and participate in this long-standing tradition.

     “We’re really happy that we’ve grown to having more so many participants. Participation and enthusiasm has been great,” Thomas said.

     A big part of the reason for the tournament’s success is its family-friendly atmosphere and that more than any other event in the region, it reflects the unique fishery we have in Southeast Texas.

    This is the second longest running tournament in the area (behind SALT) which is a testament to the unique format and the wonderful people who host the event.

    As usual, the tournament features cash prizes totaling $2,700 for 11 species running the gamut from fresh to saltwater. The entry fee remains $25.

    First place speckled trout, largemouth bass, flounder and redfish all pay $250.00 apiece. Second place anglers earn $100 while third takes home $50. Anglers should note that no 28-inch redfish or those requiring a trophy tag can be weighed in. Only redfish from 20 to 27 inches are legal in this tournament.

    There will also be a $250 prize for the redfish with the most spots.

    All fish must be legal under Texas regulations. No “Louisiana size” fish will be allowed.

    There are categories giving $100 for first place, $50 for second and $25 for third for grinnel and perch among other species. The “Don Hubbard” mudcat category pays $50 for first place only.

    The entry fee is $25.

    There is still time to sign up at OCARC headquarters in Orange. Call 409-886-1363 for more information.


    Don’t forget you can still pick up copies of “Real Outdoors of Southeast Texas” free at numerous locations in the area. The second issue features stories on the local “Swamp People” stars and bank fishing destinations in the region.

    We are seeking photos for the Braggin’ Rights section so send you bags and catches to


    A reader recently asked if we have “lynx” in Southeast Texas.

    The Canadian Lynx (Lynx lynx) is the snowshoe-footed bobcat cousin with the big tufts on their ears.

    Lynx of that variety are not native to Texas or anywhere near us. We do however have Lynx rufus, the bobcat that is very common in the area. Some bobcats have long ear tufts and they vary greatly in body size so they are occasionally mistaken for the Canadian lynx.


    Several emails have come through regarding the rumor of “yellowfin tuna” being caught in Sabine Lake.

    That is one species I can virtually guarantee will never into our estuary.

    The fish people are referring to is the jack crevalle.

    These big, hard-fighting fish venture into the lake from the Gulf every year. They look sort of like a tuna with their yellow fins and silver/white body but their taste is nothing like it. Jacks are known to have very poor food quality. It is best to let them go for another angler to fight.

(To contact Chester Moore, e-mail You can hear him on “Moore Outdoors” Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI or online at

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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 You can hear him on the radio Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on “Moore Outdoors” on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI or online at and watch him Saturdays on on “God’s Outdoors with Chester Moore”.)

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