Southwest Louisiana tournament angler Johnny Watkins with a 6- and 8-pound largemouth caught on Toledo Bend using Stanley’s Top Toad. (Special to the American Press)
Last Modified: Wednesday, March 06, 2013 10:15 AM
Next week, March 14-17, the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society will come to the area with the Elite Series in the Sabine River Challenge in Orange, Texas.
The anglers will fish a large fishery, including the Calcasieu and Sabine River, plus numerous small creeks and sloughs. While many of the pros will fish the Sabine River and backwaters, others will make the 30- to 40-mile run on the Intracoastal Canal into the Calcasieu River and other inlets. A Classic berth as well as Classic points are at stake, plus a smooth $100,000 to the winner. Recent Bassmasters Classic winner Cliff Pace of Petal, Miss., will be among those competing with the likes of Kevin VanDam and Alton Jones.
Louisiana will be represented by local favorite Dennis Tietje from Roanoke, plus Greg Hackney of Gonzales, who finished 13th in last week’s Bassmasters Classic.
If we don’t get a huge amount of rain and the rivers continue to stabilize, there will be a lot of bass caught. In talking to several local tournament anglers who fish the Calcasieu and Sabine, we inquired what they thought it would take to get to the final fourth day fish-off.
Many said 8-10 pounds per day (24-30 pounds) should get you to the fourth day with the top 12 anglers fishing for the title.
Here’s a task for readers: email me your estimate of what the winning weight will be for the four-day event. My guess … 46 pounds. I need your information by Sunday evening. There is a five-bass per day limit with largemouth bass having to be a minimum of 14 inches long and spotted bass 12.
Doug Guins fished last Thursday afternoon on the Calcasieu River along with John Saucier. The water had been blown by high winds in the morning but had risen about 2 feet during the day as they launched about 3:30 p.m.
Stained-to-muddy conditions with water temperatures 54-56 degrees was what they had to work with. Guins reported landing 25 bass up to 2 pounds on Bass Kandi T-Craws and Stanley Compact spinnerbaits. He was using 15- and 17-pound test on a 7-foot medium-action Duce rod with the spinnerbait pattern as the fish were in less than 2 feet of water and are still in the prespawn stage, said Guins.
With a warming trend scheduled and a new moon, Guins said such conditions should trigger the first major spawn of the year, which could be just in time for the BASS Elite pros to be able to connect with some of the bigger females.
“The Sabine River is clearing and the fishing is getting really good,” Guins said.
With water temps mid 50s and slightly stained conditions, the bass are moving into the backwater areas and can be caught on spinnerbaits with Stanley’s Compact model a local favorite.
Also catching bass are jigs, Bass Kandi T-Craws, Kandi Stiks, plus another river favorite, the small square bill crankbait. The fish in the Sabine are ready to spawn and with proper conditions this process should begin the next week or so.
Local anglers are encouraged to be considerate of these pro anglers as we want to be a good host for our guests.
In talking to some of our local guides, such as Capt. Kevin Broussard, the weather has resulted in multiple cancellations the past two weeks. Local anglers are hopeful that by Thursday or Friday weather conditions should improve significantly.
Water temps have fallen to 59 degrees but should rise to above 60-plus by the weekend. This should move the fish into shallow, more aggressive posture plus activate the bait source as well.
The most consistent reports this week have been from wade fishermen who are working Corkys and other suspending baits such as Egret Lure’s new Kicking Mullet.
We are just a few weeks away from prime fishing in Big Lake. Calcasieu Point’s Elaine Huck will open in April and other bait shops in the area will offer live bait plus topwater action.