, Port Arthur, Texas


January 29, 2014

MOORE: Five local outdoors implications of cold winter

PORT ARTHUR — In case you have not noticed it has been cold.

When is the last time you can remember multiple days in a week with temperatures in the 20s and even a couple of days where they never went above freezing?

It has been awhile and the cold is having an impact on our outdoors scene that includes some interesting scenarios.

1. Mosquitoes: Just as this story went to press, I read a piece on about mosquitoes being impacted by the cold throughout the country.

“Most arthropods have the ability to super-cool themselves in order to survive extreme cold winters in the ranges they’ve become adapted to. However, if unusually cold temperatures strike, it could be below their threshold of tolerance," Cornell University's Laura Harrington explained in the story.

Harrington said most insects produce "antifreeze proteins and other compounds to protect their cells from freezing and dying." If it gets too cold, though, this natural antifreeze could cease to function properly.

The freezes we have had will not wipe out the mosquitoes in our area but they will certainly lessen their presence at least in the interim. In February 2012, I went to Pleasure Island to go fishing and had the worse mosquito attack I have ever faced. It was like something from a horror movie.

If the winter continues it should give us some break from the bugs and maybe, just maybe enough to lessen what we will face in the spring.

2. Flounder Spawning: Flounder spawn in the Gulf of Mexico and studies have shown cooler winter water temperatures produce better flounder spawns.

We have had cool temperatures in the Gulf all winter so there is a good chance we will have a good crop of baby flounder entering the bays this spring.

3. Bass Spawning: According to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, largemouth bass spawning begins in the spring when water temperatures reach about 60 degrees. This could occur as early as February or as late as May, depending one where one is in the state.

I have seen bass on beds on Fayette County Reservoir near LaGrange (a heated, power plant lake) in December so the impact of temperature is great on the spawn. If it stays cold, we will see a little bit later main spawn than we have perhaps become accustomed to and if it does warm up and the bass hit their beds there is a good chance strong fronts will move back in and push them off.

4. State water snapper: There are no studies to back this up but local anglers will tell you snapper mover closer to shore during cool weather. Snapper are not legal to take in federal waters now but are legal in state waters. Could the cold weather bring some even closer to shore than normal?

Finding out would require a fishing trip and that is good thing.

5. Fishing Pressure: Our final factor is not a scientific observation but a practical one. The colder it gets, the less people fish.

If you do not mind braving the cold temperatures there can be great fish caught. During the ice storm of 1997, I was actually out running a trotline that had been producing some nice blues. A lack of pressure in the winter can also lead to more opportunities for certain species in the spring.

Weather is always a huge factor in the great outdoors and as you can see it has many different kinds of impacts.

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

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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.
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    • 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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