, Port Arthur, Texas


February 9, 2013

Chester Moore column: Local fish remain mysterious

PORT ARTHUR —  I can’t catch a carp to save my life.

  Over the years, I have tried very hard to catch carp in local waters and have had very little luck.

  I thought it might be because our area had few carp but after Hurricane Rita that changed.

  In the canal systems in Port Arthur and bayous in the Orange area I saw tens of thousands of dead carp so the fish are here but despite a fair knowledge of how to catch them, yours truly does not have the talent for the Asian imports.

  In Newton County, we have taken a good number of them with bow and arrow on a piece of property that floods when the Sabine River rises. Carp up to 20 pounds will literally swim by deer blinds there and make easy targets.

  Buffalo are a fish I have never caught here and only seen a few over the years yet they are abundant.

  Rita revealed a strong number of buffalo in the Sabine River drainage and hoop netters on the Louisiana side of the river catch some huge ones.

  On the saltwater side of things there are also a few things that are present but are seen by very few anglers. I on the other hand have been blessed enough to encounter them.

  Take the rock hind for example.

  This is a kind of grouper that lives in the Gulf of Mexico and will occasionally be found near shore. They are red with black spots are quite striking to behold.

  A few years back I caught a small one at the end of the Texas jetties on a live shrimp. It was in fact only about twice the size of the shrimp I caught it on but it was a nice surprise nonetheless.

  In 1996 my cousin Frank Moore watched a four foot class tarpon terrorize a school of huge mullet in Old River Cove. It jumped right in front of us but we could not get it to hit anything live, dead or artificial.

  That year it was dry and there were all kind of interesting sightings in the lake and around the jetties.

  In 2003 my father and I got on top of a school of tarpon a few miles west of the Sabine Jetties and he had a five footer hit right at the boat. If the fish had jumped our direction instead of up it would have landed in the boat which could have made for an interesting situation.

  Have you ever seen a remora?

  Those are the fish that cling to sharks, rays and whale sharks and usually fall off before bringing their hosts into the boat.

  While on a charter trip out of Galveston in 1999, an angler on our boat caught one we thought was a keeper ling at first. It was well over three feet long which made me wonder what on Earth it had been hanging onto. Whatever it was had to be gigantic.

  Seeing that would be truly exciting and would definitely make up for my lack of seeing buffalo and catching carp.

  (To contact Chester Moore, e-mail them at . You can hear him on “Moore Outdoors” on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI or online at



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  • Bassmaster Elites are coming back

    The Bassmaster Elite Series returns to Southeast Texas in March 2015 to fish out of Orange.
    The announcement was made last week, ahead of Bassmaster’s official tournament schedule announcement and the buzz is already strong in Southeast Texas and beyond.
    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.
    • Prefishing-There is a pre-fishing cutoff that usually extends to right before the Bassmaster Classic and I fully expect most of the anglers in the Elites to come back and prefish.
    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.
    • East to West Runs-The Elite anglers fished far and wide but I expect even more running next go-round. After launching from the Simmons Drive Boat Ramp in Orange angler Bill Lowen ran down the Intracoastal, across Galveston Bay and fished in the Clear Lake area and placed in the top 12. The more adventurous anglers will try super long runs, in my opinion, even longer than last time to try and score on big fish. The Intracoastal Canal system makes that possible.
    • Sabine River -Very few of the anglers actually fished in the Sabine River despite the event being called the “Sabine River Challenge”. I think that will change with more anglers running as far north as they can to find pockets of fish that receive little pressure and perhaps a four or five-pounder to push them over the top.
    • 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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