PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Sports

May 11, 2013

Chester Moore column: Sabine produces strange catches

PORT ARTHUR —   Fish identification can be tricky.

    There are some varieties of fish that look a lot like, others that are rarely season and there are even season appearance variations.

    The Sabine area in particular tends to produce catches that baffle anglers on a yearly basis.

    Take for example the strange silverfish fish with the orange bellies that have been caught over the last 8-10 years in the Sabine River and in drainage canals in Port Arthur.

    They look a lot like perch but they are pacu, a South American fish that are cousins in the piranha. Local catches are attributable to aquarium releases and apparently, there have been enough for the fish to breed. It has been a few years since I had to identify one but there could still be some lurking out there.

    Someone sent me a photo of a fish they thought might be in the infamous Asian snakehead.

    It turned out to be the common grinnel (bowfin, choupique) in the breeding phase when the male displays neon green coloration.

    Occasionally tarpon will show up around the Sabine Jetties and in Sabine Lake itself. I saw one in Old Rove destroying a school of mullet one hot August day in 1996 and we did a story somewhere around 2001 of an angler who caught a six-footer on the Louisiana side of the Sabine Jetties.

    Sabine Lake used to be a widely renowned tarpon fishery with tournaments taking place in Port Arthur but for some reason the “silver kings” as they are known ditched us and now rarely enter our inland waters.

    Mangrove snapper however started showing up here about a decade ago and are caught every summer.

     These hard-fighting fish also known as “gray snapper” show up everywhere from the jetties to Bessie Heights Marsh.

    A few years back I caught a small rock hind at the end of the Texas side of the Sabine Jetties while fishing for speckled trout. Rock hinds are a member of the grouper family and are red with black dots all over their body.

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Sports
  • 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 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