Last Modified: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 9:49 AM
If you are a serious angler in this area, you more than likely are aware that a major fishing event is happening this week right here in our back yard beginning Thursday.
The Bass Anglers Sportsman Society is about to showcase its 100-member Elite Division anglers in the kickoff event for the tournament season on the Sabine River and Orange. Texas.
Some information that might be of interest is that in order to compete in this division, these pros have had to go through a variety of qualifying steps and events, plus pay a substantial entry of $5,300 per event. There are eight events, so the total entry fee for this year is $42,400. Many in the field have sponsors who pay some or all of the entry fees, but there are those who have to foot the bill for these fees, which either way really puts the pressure on to perform.
I was looking around for the latest info about the tournament and was interested in what four-time Bassmaster Classic winner Kevin VanDam had to say. I checked his blog where his latest post quoted him as saying, “After fishing the Bassmaster Classic, I’m anxious to get back on the water. I’m really looking forward to these (first) two events (Sabine River and Lake Falcon).”
He added, “I’ve been busy since I got home scrambling around trying to get my tackle together. My boat and gear needed a major changeover from the Classic since the two tournaments coming up are vastly different. They require different rods, lures and techniques.”
VanDam added, “The Sabine River is shallow, massive and has a lot of canals and cypress trees. Falcon is wide open for the most part, and the size of fish in both bodies of water is notably different so, Sabine practice will be interesting. There’s a lot of water to cover in 21⁄2 days (practice days), and we can run wherever we want. That makes for a lot of searching during practice.”
He added that Google Earth will help him choose potential areas and some of his fellow pro have told him that the Sabine is similar to what we saw in New Orleans (delta) with a lot of canals.
The bass icon added, “One of the problems with canals is some of them are private and we can’t go into them. The only way to find out what’s there is to see it in next week’s columns. From the water, and that consumes a lot of practice time.”
To wrap up his post on the Sabine River event, VanDam wrote, “I suspect I’ll still be practicing when the tournament begins. All I can do during the practice is see as much of the river I can, pick the areas that I think hold the largest quantity of fish and commit to them. It won’t be the first time I was still defining the pattern and best techniques when competition began.”
We’ll wrap up the stats and high points of the tournament in next week’s column.
The water temps are running from 56-60 degrees with the lake level at 168.8 feet with both generators shut down, but, in my opinion, that will change before the week is out. North Toledo is stained, midlake is clear to slightly stained with south Toledo very clear. If you are looking for stained or off-colored water conditions, there’s plenty up all of the major feeder creeks.
BASS: For the first time in months we did not fish any water over 15 feet deep this week.
Also, 90 percent of our bass came off submerged grass, including this week’s largest bass, a 9.1-pounder that came from a submerged ridge with scattered grass (hydrilla).
The fish, caught by Terry Johnson of Lake Charles, hit a lizard rigged on a Carolina rig. We also caught bass on Rat-L-Traps, spinnerbaits, wacky rigs and Texas weightless. In addition, we also used some jerkbaits working on the outside edge of the main grass line.
Our best colors of soft plastics included watermelon seed, watermelon red, watermelon candy, baby bass and watermelon blue flake. Spinnerbait favorites included Stanley’s Vibrashaft hand painted sexy shad and LSU (royal purple). We also fished some Gulp1 Sinking Minnow and Bass Kanki Stiks.
CRAPPIE/YELLOW BASS: Crappie guide Ernie Cole said he is catching a few big crappie fishing deep during early mornings. The fish are moving to the creeks and bridges as we witnessed crappie anglers catching crappie under Six Mile bridge this week (Texas 87) on live shiners.
Night fishing crappie anglers are also catching crappie on deep clear points in south Toledo. The yellow bass are still being caught near main creek channels and the old river on spoons and tailspinners as well as live shiners.
Joe Joslin is a syndicated outdoor columnist, tournament angler and pro guide on Toledo Bend and Sam Rayburn. His column appears Thursdays. Contact him at 463-3848 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.joejoslinoutdoors.com