PORT ARTHUR —
Rain makes all the difference.
With super wet nesting grounds in the prairie pothole region of the United States and parts of Canada, we are seeing an amazing breeding duck population with an estimated 48.6 million birds.
The verdict is still out on brood survival but since these numbers are 43 percent over the long-term, average since 1955 we will call it a victory.
Lots of ducks mean liberal seasons and the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service just agreed on season dates for the Lone Star State.
Here they are.
Early Teal: An early season for teal statewide, and for Canada geese in the eastern goose zone, runs Sept. 15-30 with a daily bag limit of four teal and three geese.
North and South Zones
All species other than “dusky ducks”: Nov. 3 – 25, 2012 and Dec. 8, 2012 — Jan. 27, 2013; “Dusky ducks”: Nov. 8 – 25, 2012 and Dec. 8, 2012 – Jan. 27, 2013; Youth-only Season: Oct. 27-28, 2012
High Plains Mallard Management Unit: All species other than “dusky ducks”: Oct. 27-28, 2012 and Nov.2, 2012 – Jan. 27, 2013; “Dusky ducks”: Nov. 5, 2012 – Jan. 27, 2013; Youth-only Season: Oct. 20--21, 2012
The daily bag limit for ducks is six, to include no more than five mallards of which only 2 may be hens; three wood ducks; two redheads; two pintails; one canvasback; and one “dusky” duck.
Dusky ducks include: mottled ducks, Mexican-like duck, black duck and their hybrids. For all other species not listed, the bag limit is six.
The daily bag limit for coots is 15. The daily bag limit for mergansers is five, which may include no more than two hooded mergansers.
Shooting hours are one half hour before sunrise to sunset.
Light geese: Nov. 3, 2012 – Jan. 27, 2013, the daily bag limit for light geese is 20 and no possession limit.
White-fronted geese (specklebelly): Nov. 3, 2012 – Jan. 13, 2013, daily bag limit is two;
Canada geese: Sept. 15-30, 2012 and Nov. 3, 2012 – Jan. 27, 2013, daily bag limit is three.
Light geese: Nov. 3, 2012 – Feb. 3, 2013, daily bag limit is 20 and no possession limit.
Dark geese (specklebelly, Canadas): Nov. 3, 2012 – Feb. 3, 2013, daily bag limit is five in the aggregate to include no more than one white-fronted goose
Light Goose Conservation Order
Eastern Zone-Jan. 28 — Mar. 24, 2013, no bag or possession limits.
Western Zone- Feb. 4 — Mar. 24, 2013, no bag or possession limits.
Zone A: Nov. 3, 2012 — Feb. 3, 2013, daily bag limit is three and possession limit is six.
Zone B: Nov. 23, 2012 — Feb. 3, 2013, daily bag limit is three and possession limit is six.
Zone C: Dec. 22, 2012 — Jan. 27, 2013, daily bag limit is two and possession limit is four.
Keep checking our outdoors reports for the best information on waterfowl hunting in Southeast Texas.
(To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can hear him on “Moore Outdoors” Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI.)
PORT ARTHUR —
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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 email@example.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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