Joslin: Elite anglers coming to fish Sabine

By By Joe Joslin / American Press

Hello, anglers.

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


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 212 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.

Toledo Conditions

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


Fishing Conditions

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 or visit