PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Outdoors

September 21, 2013

Chester Moore column: It's time for more reader questions

PORT ARTHUR —  

   We are at the beginning of the best time of year for outdoors activities in our region and everyone seems super enthused this year.

    Q: I’m excited about this year’s deer season because I saw three nice bucks on my game camera on our Sabine County lease. What do you think my chances are of shooting one?

    A: I honestly know very few people who find big bucks on game cameras and end up shooting those exact deer. Deer behavior before the season is much different than after it starts due to their hormonal changes and the presence of hunters in the woods. Your best chance is to bowhunt if you are so inclined and pay close attention to rub lines in the area you got the buck photos from. If you have active rub lines, there is a good chance you can set up and get a shot. The peak of the rut in East Texas is early so stay in the woods during the peak time. After that, the chances are slim.

    Q: Is it true striped bass were stocked into Sabine Lake years ago?

    A: Yes it is true. Striped bass were indeed stocked into the Sabine area ecosystem but that ended well over a decade ago. In our area, we think of stripers being in Toledo Bend but we have to remember they are a saltwater species and there are some historical records to suggest there might have been native striper populations along the Gulf Coast man years ago.

    Q: Why don’t we get as many pintails as we used to flying into local marshes?

    A: There are two reasons. The first is there aren’t nearly as many pintails as there used to be. They have pitifully low nesting success in prairie Canada and are facing a host of other problems. Secondly, like all other duck species they were drawn to the rice agriculture. The combination of marsh and rice agriculture is alluring to ducks and when one of those two parts of the equation virtually disappears the number of ducks decline.

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Outdoors
  • Chester Moore column: Give summer crappie a chance

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  • 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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