PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Sports

July 6, 2013

OUTDOORS COLUMN: Ling make it worthwhile

PORT ARTHUR — Ling are not usually the primary species sought on an offshore adventure in Texas, but with the snapper situation, they make an offshore trip worthwhile.

Ling are strong, stubborn fighters, a challenge to hook and tops on the table.

Locating ling is no problem. They are suckers for structure in Gulf waters and can often be found hanging around oil platforms, standpipes, jetties and buoys. They are also extremely curious and seem to be interested in looking at whoever is visiting their hangout.

One of the best tactics for locating ling around structure is to rev up the motor take a paddle and pound the water's surface to get the attention of the fish. The first time I saw this done I thought the person doing it was crazy. I had always been taught to be quiet in the boat and to avoid spooking the fish. But when I saw a huge ling rise up to the surface, I was convinced that the technique was for real. Ling are just plain different from any other fish.

They also bite different from other fish. A 50-pound ling sports a mouth that could probably inhale a small child, yet the same ling can become extremely hard to put a hook into.

I have always wondered why they are so finicky and have asked just about every expert there is. All of them have told me that ling are line shy, and now I believe it.

A friend of mine who pursues ling a lot says he learned that lesson when he was toying around with a big ling that kept coming up to his boat.

The big fish simply wanted nothing to do with his offering of cut pogey on a 7/0 hook and 50-pound-test line, but when he grabbed a medium action spinning combo spooled with 15-pound-test and rigged the same bait he got hooked up immediately. The big fish seemed to be aware of the heavier line.

If you would like to catch ling (along with shark, king mackerel and other species) try the standard summer fishing protocol: a steady stream of chum, and live crab or fresh cut bait hanging from circle hooks. Crabs in particular are extremely good baits for ling. Almost every ling I have ever cleaned or seen cleaned had a belly full of crabs.

Rods loaded with artificials should also be kept within reach since ling don't mind biting on plastic. Soft plastics like curl-tailed grubs or imitation ribbonfish are good baits for lings. One of my favorite baits is the big 6-inch D.O.A. shrimp in brown or chartreuse.

A popular ling bait in Florida is an 8-inch chartreuse curl-tailed grub dressed out with a sparkled pink skirt. Guides there claim a ling can't resist it. Hard plastics like shallow-running MirrOlures can also be productive.

The ling themselves are fascinating creatures to study. Their moves baffle the scientific and angling communities.

Ling usually start showing up in Texas waters when Gulf waters reach 67 degrees and usually stick around until the big northers of fall move through. It’s well known that they travel south to north in the spring and north to south in the fall. But ling are also found in deeper offshore water holding around structure throughout the year.

Some scientists believe there is an additional offshore to inshore and back movement. Ling usually start showing up in Texas waters when Gulf waters reach 67 degrees and usually stick around until the big northers of fall move through so there is still plenty of time to get out there and catch them.

(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 www.klvi.com.)

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

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  • 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.

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  • MC Babe Ruth goes 2-0

    First things first, give Clint Landry and the rest of the officials credit for making the Southwest Regional Babe Ruth tournament possible this weekend at Nederland High School.

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  • Up the odds for solid bank fishing

    There are certain limitations to fishing without a boat.

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  • Derek Williams, Summer Money League light up the lanes at Max Bowl

    Thursday nights Summer Money League produced some very impressive scores.

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  • West column: Pacers hiring Pat Knight didn't help Lamar

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  • Babe Ruth.jpg Mid County Babe Ruth set to host Southwest Regional

    The Mid County Babe Ruth 18U team is once again knocking on the World Series door. Mid County will host the Southwest Regional at Nederland High School starting today. Mid County’s first game of the tournament is slated for 7 p.m. Friday against Pine Bluff, Ark. Thursday was a special day for Mid County Babe Ruth as two locals, Jimmy Collins (shown speaking) and Skip Hopkins (back left) were inducated intot he Southwest Regional Babe Ruth Hall of Fame. Both Hopkins and Collins have been involved in Babe Ruth for over 40 consecutive years either as player, coach or board member. There are nine teams in the tournament with the winner headed to Washington state for the World Series.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • West golf notepad: Eleven-year-old Henry scores ace in YMBL tourney

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From the Fieldhouse blog