Bassmaster camp coming

Published 9:26 pm Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Fans of professional bass fishing will get a big treat in 2017 as the Bassmaster organization will practically be setting up camp in the greater Southeast Texas region.
For local fans, the Bassmaster Central Open will be held June 15-17 on the Sabine River in Orange. It will be the third time in four years the organization has fished in that region.
The opens are a stepping stone for amateur anglers to earn a spot in the Elites and it is also a place for the Elite anglers to earn a spot in the Bassmaster Classic, so it should be quite an interesting event.
As we covered back in June the Bassmaster Classic is coming to Lake Conroe March 24-26. We have also learned the Bassmaster Elite Series will fish Toledo Bend April 6-9. That is no surprise since it was listed by Bassmaster as the top bass lake in America.
What used to be called the Toyota Texas Bass Classic will now be the Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest and it will come to Sam Rayburn May 18-21.
“Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest will combine the best features of the Toyota Texas Bass Classic and our own Bassfest, both of which have become immensely popular among anglers and fishing fans,” said B.A.S.S. CEO Bruce Akin. “Texas Fest will host a special Fan Appreciation Day offering anglers and their families opportunities to meet, greet and learn from the world’s best professional anglers.”
The Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest will emphasize best practices in fishing conservation, including a catch, weigh and immediate release format that was popularized at the Toyota Texas Bass Classic. The event will also continue to benefit the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD), which has been instrumental in introducing fishing conservation guidelines that have influenced fishing tournaments throughout the United States.
We have been writing about the truly world-class bass fishing in the greater Southeast Texas region for a few years and the world is taking notice with tremendous catches on three world class bodies of water: Toledo Bend, Sam Rayburn and Lake Conroe.

The archery-only season for whitetail deer is only two weeks away so it is time for local bowhunters to get prepared.
Renown bowhunting author and master bowhunter education instructor Lou Marullo says the number one mistake he sees young hunters making in regards to shooting is not practicing with broadheads.
“It is extremely rare to find a bow that shoots with field points exactly like it would with broadheads of the same grain. All you have to do is look at the physical differences and see that there are some serious aerodynamic differences,” he said.
A number of broadhead makers claim their products match up to field points, but there are simply too many variables.
“It’s an absolute must to get out there and shoot with broadheads before going hunting. Even if you are just off an inch or two that could mean the difference between taking a big buck and suffering the heartache of losing an animal,” Marullo said.

Anglers looking for something tasty to catch while red snapper are off limits might want to consider spadefish which are abundant for the next month or so around the oil and gas platforms out of Sabine Pass.
They will never grace the back of a pickup truck in the form of a bumper sticker or be the subject of a high dollar tournament trail, but spadefish are good to eat and fun to catch.
My friend Bill Killian is probably the most skilled spadefish angler I know. I got him into catching them back in 1999 and since then he has mastered the art and routinely catches spades in the five to 10-pound class. For those not familiar with the species, those are monsters.
“We rarely go out just to catch spades, but if we get out there and see a lot of them, we always break out the light tackle and start putting them in the ice chest,” Killian said.
Killian said he typically finds the heaviest concentrations on the down current side of the rig where the feed on many little invertebrates pushed through the structure by the tides.
“You see them feeding on a lot of little tiny stuff that is really hard to see. Sometimes they will get into a frenzy and really be going to town. Down in the water it will look like a little tornado of spadefish feeding,” he said.
His favorite strategy involves using a small slightly offset hook like the Eagle Claw Baitholder in No. 10 or No. 8 rigged on 14-pound Berkley Big Game and finished off with a split shot weight about six inches above the hook.
“I use little pieces of shrimp positioned good on the hook. You can’t leave a whole lot hanging off the hook because the spades will pick it apart and if there are any triggerfish around, they will definitely wear you out,” Killian said.
Spadefish are unique in that they bite best during slack or slow-moving tides. While conducting research on the species years ago, I came across this fact by talking with east coast fishermen who pursue them regularly. That does mean you have to wait until the tides are slack to fish for them but it certainly seems to get them in the right kind of mood.

(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

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