The tour starts out on the Sabine River near the Gulf Coast at Orange, Texas. Although this section of the river flows directly from Toledo Bend Reservoir, the two waterways are worlds apart.
Dividing Texas from Louisiana, the lower Sabine should fish more like the coastal estuaries found well to the east. And it's certain that few, if any, Elite Series competitors have any prior knowledge of this fishery. So the Sabine River may prove to be the most level playing field of the entire season.
It's anybody's guess as to which lures and patterns will prevail, but I'd bet small crankbaits, spinnerbaits, worms and jigs — all applied to shallow cover — will dominate this event.
From there, we'll have the long haul to Zapata, Texas, and the Falcon Slam — stop number two in these back-to-back events. This is our second visit to Falcon, and with so many huge catches recorded last time, it's certain substantial weight will be required just to make the money.
I remember catching five fish over 6 pounds on consecutive casts in that first event, and I did it again the very next day. Incredibly though, even with a two-day total of 65 pounds, I still didn't reach theTop 10. I don’t know about you, but to me, that's catching them!
Like last time, I'm sure it will come down to structure fishing outside the better bedding areas. And though a few of the anglers did well on the Mexican side of the lake, I doubt you'll see many of us crossing the border this time. We may be thrill-seekers, but we try not to be death-defying!
After a short break, the tour resumes on Bull Shoals Lake, Ark. For any Ranger Boats team member, this trip brings added reward. Not only is the fishing great, but we'll get the opportunity to visit the Ranger factory.
Nearly every angler in the field caught their limit during the 2012 event, so expect the same again this time. And though crankbaits proved to be the lure of choice then, that may not be the case when we return. Bull Shoals is known for its excellent topwater fishing, and if the water floods the bushes, expect the flippers to excel and the weights to be much bigger.
This one should be fun to watch!