, Port Arthur, Texas


March 16, 2013

Chester Moore: Bassmaster Day 3: Rojas strikes back


     Dean Rojas took back the first place spot he earned Thursday in day 3 of the Bassmaster Elite Series “Sabine River Challenge” with an 11-14 bag for a three day total of 38-6.

    Jasper’s Todd Faircloth slipped to second place from a super successful day two but his 7-14 catch was enough to keep him within four pounds of Rojas.

    “I’m getting lots of bites and I have had five fish every day but I just didn’t catch the big ones today,” Faircloth said.

    “I’ve been fishing the same areas the whole time and I think the bigger ones are still out there.”

    Rojas was understandably tight-lipped about his game plan but said his run into Louisiana has had him also fishing the same area he started in.

    “The big south wind has pushed the water up a little bit but the fishing there has held up.”

    Alton Jones sits in seventh place and has an opportunity to score if he catches the big ones on the final day of competition.

    “We cut to twelve anglers Sunday and that always makes it exciting,” Jones said.

    “I’ve found there are a lot more fish where I have been than I initially thought so there is a chance some big changes could happen on the leaderboard at the final weigh-in.”

    The heroic story of the tournament has been Roanoke, La.’s Dennis Tietje who knocked off a motor in practice, had another blow on the first day of competition but currently sits at ninth place with 27-11.

    “It’s taken a lot of focus, positive thinking, perseverance and prayer. Today was a special day out there and I look forward to a strong finish,” he said.

    Interestingly, Tietje has yet to fish the spots he initially planned to and if they pan out, it could turn his fortunes.

    Four-time Bassmaster Classic champion Kevin VanDam did not make the final 12, finishing at 15th but said he was blown away by the attendance at the event and hospitality of the people.

    “I cannot think of another event that had more positive feedback from the public and any other area with more love shown to the anglers. It has truly been something special,” he said.

    Sunday’s weigh-in begins at 3:15 with the festival and expo open at 11 a.m.

    The Final 12 (Saturday Weights)

    1.    Dean Rojas (38-6)

    2.    Todd Faircloth (34-13)

    3.    Ishama Monroe (31-11)

    4.    Terry Scroggins: (31-6)

    5.    Jeff Kriet (30-6)

    6.    Mark Davis: (30-3)

    7.    Alton Jones: (29-3)

    8.    Mike McClelland: (27-15)

    9.    Dennis Tietje: (27-11)

    10.   Bill Lowen: (27-5)

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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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