, Port Arthur, Texas


February 23, 2013

Chester Moore column: Looking back at Big Bass writings

PORT ARTHUR — This writer rarely looks backward.

 However, in conducting some research on bass, I began to check out some of the things we have shared about truly big largemouth bass over the years and thought since bass seem to be on everyone’s minds it would be fun to look at some of the most interesting things we have published on giant largemouth bass.

 This first note comes from 2003 and deals with surveys conducted by state freshwater fisheries officials.

 “We do a lot of electroshock surveys to help determine bass population and the overall health of the fishery, but we generally get very few large specimens that way,” said Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) fisheries biologist in Jasper Todd Driscoll.

 “Most of the bigger fish hang out in deeper water and our electroshock surveys are really only effective at depths of eight feet of less. We shock lots of fish but when you get a really big one you hear about it.”

 That is why TPWD’s Lone Star Sharelunker program is so important to the department’s fisheries research.

 “The program has provided us with big fish we could never get on our own by electroshock, which not only help with our captive breeding program but research about the fish themselves,” said David Campbell, Sharelunker program leader.

 A year later, we quoted legendary bass expert Bill Dance who wrote about extra large largemouth’s love of deep cover and includes it as part of his Complete Bass Fishing Course.

 “In one study two scientists investigated the bass population in a lake in Illinois. The technique the employed was to cover the shoreline in a boat and using electrical shocking equipment, capture the bass on shoreline cover,” Dance said.

 “The fish were then marked for identification and returned to the water unharmed. Over the course of several months, the procedure was repeated a number of times and records kept of where each tagged bass was found. One of the more interesting facts to come from this study was that only 1.2 percent of the bass were on the shoreline at any one time, on the average.”

 “That means that most of the bass population, over 98 percent of it, was out from the shoreline, or in deeper water the majority of the time. Recaptures indicated that 96 percent of the fish that did invade the shallows or shoreline were recaptured within 300 feet of the spot where they were first captured and marked for identification.”

 Then in 2006, we spoke with Lake Fork guide Jeff Kirkwood who said beginning as early as the spawn anglers target trophy bass in too shallow of water.

 “When you start talking with a lot of the guys that catch the Sharelunkers and the really big fish during the spawn you find that most of those fish are caught out in a little deeper water. I mean during that time of year, they will not be out in as deep of water as they will during the summer, but they are usually out past the super shallow spawning beds a lot of the people target,” Kirkwood said.

 A typical fishing report put out by Kirkwood who is extremely detailed about all of his fishing is as follows.

 “The fish appear to be literally everywhere, not really, but the fish are relating to banks, points, main lake shorelines with absolutely no cover whatsoever, to areas with grass and no stumps, and areas with nothing but trees and stumps. One thing remains consistent though, the depth of water. Keep the boat in 17 to 20 feet (casting in) of water or 10 to 14 feet (casting on both sides of the boat) or six to eight feet casting out, towards deeper water.”

 Kirkwood emphasizes the importance of finding the break line, where one type of structure or depth breaks over into another.

 “There is usually a pattern to what the bass are doing. Sometimes it is hard to figure out but when you do is when you catch those elusive big fish,” he said.

 Lakes in West Texas like lunker hotspot Alan Henry require much fishing in deep water. There anglers think nothing of fishing in 20 to 30 feet of water for bass, where the water drops off steeply from the banks. Talking with anglers in that region, you see that catching fish using deep water methods is par for the course. In the eastern part of the state and in the southern corridor, it is simply not as common.

  I have a theory that while Alan Henry is obviously special for producing so many large fish, it probably would not be as well known if the anglers there were not proficient at fishing deep water. Say if you take a lake of the same size and magically put it in the Pineywoods, many of those big fish might never be caught simply because of the differences in style. Out West anglers have to fish deep water because there are not many shallows. On lakes like Rayburn and Fork, there are plenty of shallows and lots of fish there to keep anglers occupied.

 I hope you enjoyed this stroll down memory lane because I certainly did and it is the only one we will be taking this year.

 Oh and the other reason we looked back is we will be unveiling some new research in the next few weeks. It is very exciting and you need to look at some of these notes to get a complete picture.

 Now go out and catch a big one.

 (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


Text Only
  • Trophy stab 1.jpg WEST COLUMN: Bum Phillips trophy an impressive piece of work

    There was lots of excitement around the Port Arthur News this week, with the long-awaited delivery of the magnificent Bum Phillips trophy that will be presented annually to the winner of the Nederland-Port Neches-Groves football game.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ned 13U Babe Ruth wins

    It was a much better day Saturday for the Nederland 13U Babe Ruth team compared to Friday.

    July 26, 2014

  • MOORE COLUMN: Flounder dream started in Bridge City

    The first flounder that grabbed my attention lived in what is now the Lower Neches Wildlife Management Area in Bridge City. 

    July 26, 2014

  • ESTRADA COLUMN: PED update /Key injuries with contrasting outcomes

    The results of Saturday night’s UFC on Fox: Lawler vs. Brown event were not available as of the time of this writing. It will be covered in a future column.

    July 26, 2014

  • TODORA COLUMN: Hermsen rattles racks in Monday Seniors League at Max Bowl

    Mondays Seniors League had some nice scores this past week. Rick Hermsen started with a 263, finished with a 270 and fit in a 212 in the middle for a nice 745.

    July 26, 2014

  • Nederland 13U Babe Ruth loses 9-0

    The Nederland 13U Babe Ruth team lost 9-0 Friday to Bryant.

    July 25, 2014

  • 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

    July 23, 2014

  • Mid County knocked out of tournament

    The Mid County 16-18 Babe Ruth squad’s run to the World Series is over.

    July 22, 2014

  • West golf notepad: West duo claims title in Texas Father-Son

    July 22, 2014

  • Mid County sets up championship series with Tri County

    The Southwest Regional Babe Ruth championship series is set and yes the hometown Mid County squad will be there to play.

    July 21, 2014

From the Fieldhouse blog