PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Outdoors

July 6, 2013

OUTDOORS COLUMN: Ling make it worthwhile

PORT ARTHUR — Ling are not usually the primary species sought on an offshore adventure in Texas, but with the snapper situation, they make an offshore trip worthwhile.

Ling are strong, stubborn fighters, a challenge to hook and tops on the table.

Locating ling is no problem. They are suckers for structure in Gulf waters and can often be found hanging around oil platforms, standpipes, jetties and buoys. They are also extremely curious and seem to be interested in looking at whoever is visiting their hangout.

One of the best tactics for locating ling around structure is to rev up the motor take a paddle and pound the water's surface to get the attention of the fish. The first time I saw this done I thought the person doing it was crazy. I had always been taught to be quiet in the boat and to avoid spooking the fish. But when I saw a huge ling rise up to the surface, I was convinced that the technique was for real. Ling are just plain different from any other fish.

They also bite different from other fish. A 50-pound ling sports a mouth that could probably inhale a small child, yet the same ling can become extremely hard to put a hook into.

I have always wondered why they are so finicky and have asked just about every expert there is. All of them have told me that ling are line shy, and now I believe it.

A friend of mine who pursues ling a lot says he learned that lesson when he was toying around with a big ling that kept coming up to his boat.

The big fish simply wanted nothing to do with his offering of cut pogey on a 7/0 hook and 50-pound-test line, but when he grabbed a medium action spinning combo spooled with 15-pound-test and rigged the same bait he got hooked up immediately. The big fish seemed to be aware of the heavier line.

If you would like to catch ling (along with shark, king mackerel and other species) try the standard summer fishing protocol: a steady stream of chum, and live crab or fresh cut bait hanging from circle hooks. Crabs in particular are extremely good baits for ling. Almost every ling I have ever cleaned or seen cleaned had a belly full of crabs.

Rods loaded with artificials should also be kept within reach since ling don't mind biting on plastic. Soft plastics like curl-tailed grubs or imitation ribbonfish are good baits for lings. One of my favorite baits is the big 6-inch D.O.A. shrimp in brown or chartreuse.

A popular ling bait in Florida is an 8-inch chartreuse curl-tailed grub dressed out with a sparkled pink skirt. Guides there claim a ling can't resist it. Hard plastics like shallow-running MirrOlures can also be productive.

The ling themselves are fascinating creatures to study. Their moves baffle the scientific and angling communities.

Ling usually start showing up in Texas waters when Gulf waters reach 67 degrees and usually stick around until the big northers of fall move through. It’s well known that they travel south to north in the spring and north to south in the fall. But ling are also found in deeper offshore water holding around structure throughout the year.

Some scientists believe there is an additional offshore to inshore and back movement. Ling usually start showing up in Texas waters when Gulf waters reach 67 degrees and usually stick around until the big northers of fall move through so there is still plenty of time to get out there and catch them.

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

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Outdoors
  • Chester Moore column: Give summer crappie a chance

    July 8, 2014

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    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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  • Chester Moore column: Bank hot spots have great value

    April 12, 2014

  • Chester Moore column: Go deep, fish jigs to catch truly big bass

    April 5, 2014

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