PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Sports

May 31, 2014

Chester Moore column: The East half of Texas is catfish country

PORT ARTHUR — If you don’t believe that then drive down some of the farm to market roads in the region and see how many flathead heads you see displayed on fence posts. It might surprise you but in some areas that is the way anglers in rural areas brag about their catfish angling exploits and no doubt offend a few tree-huggers along the way.

With that said, the region offers excellent fishing for flatheads, channels and blues. Some water bodies are great for all three while others have a more specialized focus.

We’ll take a look at the best of what the region has to offer and show you where and how you can catch the biggest and baddest cats the state has to offer.

Lake Livingston is the best all-around producer of catfish in East Texas. The fish there are plentiful and grow to enormous sizes and there are lots of ways to catch them.

Flatheads provide some of the best action for rod and reel anglers, particular those who venture out to fish at night.

The shallow coves bordering the main lake as well as some of the islands along the main lake provide an excellent place for the predatory species to hunt baitfish that congregate in the shallows after hours. Live perch fished on the bottom on a Carolina rig is probably the most popular method.

For trot liners, targeting flatheads in their deepwater daytime haunts is the best method. Look for major structure around the main channel of the river to provide the best action. The channel gets deeper as it moves toward the spillway and you will find lots of anglers rigging up trotlines there. Again, stick with live bait like perch or large goldfish.

During the summer, anglers on Lake Livingston will target big blues near the thermocline in reservoirs. This is where the temperature stratifies and shad congregate in huge numbers there. Besides actively feeding on live shad, blues will scavenge shad killed by sudden temperature changes.

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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 cmooreoutdoors@gmail.com. You can hear him on “Moore Outdoors” Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI or online at www.klvi.com or watch him on “God’ Outdoors with Chester Moore” Saturdays at 10 a.m. on GETV.org)

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From the Fieldhouse blog