, Port Arthur, Texas


December 14, 2013

Chester Moore column: Seven winter outdoors challenges

BEAUMONT —   I love a good challenge and during the winter in the Lone Star State there are plenty to take up in the great outdoors. Here are seven challenges that will satisfy even the most adventuresome outdoorsman.

    South Texas Rut: The whitetail breeding season in South Texas is just starting to kick off. The latest in the nation, it can run into February and offers Brush Country hunters the ultimate opportunity at scoring on a mega buck, which that region has in large numbers. There is nothing in deer hunting like watching a sendero in that area during the rut as bucks chase does, fight one another and exhibit truly awesome behavior.

    Cool Crappie: Crappie fishing heats up when the weather cools down on the East Texas reservoirs like Toledo Bend where seemingly endless numbers of these great fish stack up in the old river channel. Check your local reservoir’s deep holes and river beds for crappie in the coming weeks and chances are you will find some.

     Ridiculously Large Redfish: The comeback of the redfish has been truly tremendous. Catching breeding-sized bull reds used to be a rarity but now it is commonplace and the giant fish can be caught in the surf and around our jetty systems year-round. Lower a live croaker or cut mullet around a deep Sabine jetty hole or chunk it out past the second sandbar in the surf and be prepared to do battle with a brute.

     Calling Bobcats: I love wildlife photography and while predator hunting can be fun, I prefer hunting them with a camera as it is incredibly challenging to get them into photo range. Bobcats can be called into within a few feet but it requires patience.

    Get you a solid electronic game calling unit, set up a ground blind on your deer lease or wood lot near your home and start calling. Bird calls and dying rabbits tend to work the best. Cats come in slow but will come in closer than you might like.

    Lunker Hunt: The Texas’ Sharelunker season kicks off Oct. 1 but very few entries of 13 pound or larger bass start coming in until December. It is typically only a couple but I believe that has more to do with the lack of angler effort that the fish biting. Throwing big jigs and swimbaits around deep cover and structure can yield monster bass on virtually any lake in the state but Falcon, Sam Rayburn, Lake Austin, Fork, Choke Canyon and Conroe are my top picks for mega bass this month.

     Woodies: If you can find something more fun than shooting at wood ducks piling into a hole in the timber let me know. I want to experience it. Texas wood duck numbers are larger and now with three in the bag limit we have an extra incentive to hunt the nation’s most beautiful fowl.

     Rabbit Hunting: My first hunt was walking down a fence line on my Aunt Ann’s property and spotlighting rabbits with a head lamp. And it was (and still is) legal. Hunting rabbits at night is loads of fun and is a great way to introduce kiddos to hunting. Plus, rabbits are super tasty and with the rain we had in much of the state this year the cottontail and swamp rabbit crop is booming.

(To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at You can watch him on "God's Outdoors with Chester Moore" on GETV ( Saturdays @ 10 a.m. You can hear him on the radio Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on "Moore Outdoors" on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI.)

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    I was in Orlando, Fla. attending the ICAST (fishing trade) show and talked with a number of top anglers including Kevin VanDam, Mike Iaconelli and Shaw Grigsby who said it was no surprise they would return considering the massive turnout for the weigh-ins and that the area welcomed them in a very special way.
    It’s far too early to speculate anything like who the top contenders will be or how the fishing will be but there are some things to keep in mind and to look for over the next few months and into the event itself.
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    Last go-round probably 2/3 of the field fished the area but this time I expect that to be just about everyone. Many of the anglers that did not pre-fish told me they expected to have a lot of water to fish but the sheer volume and diversity was almost overwhelming.
    Beginning probably in the early fall we will see many anglers fishing local waters to get a better idea on how to approach the area.
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    • Bigger Turnout-Last year some 34,000 people attended the event which set a Bassmaster record for an Elite event.
     It was broken a couple of weeks later in New York but I fully expect the 2015 tournament to draw 40,000 plus. The reason they are coming back is not for the stellar fishing because while we have lots of bass, everyone knows our fishery cannot compare to Toledo Bend for example.
    The support from the public however was amazing and that is what is bringing the top anglers on the planet to fish our area.
    We will have the very best coverage of the event beginning now and leading up to it with exclusive interviews with all of the top pros with not only their thoughts on the big event but with unique tips on how you can catch more fish.
    It’s an exciting time and I look forward to bringing you special coverage on a special event.
    (To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at You can hear him on “Moore Outdoors” Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI or online at or watch him on “God’ Outdoors with Chester Moore” Saturdays at 10 a.m. on

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