ORANGE, Texas — The 2013 Elite Series Sabine River Challenge Presented by STARK Cultural Venues began Thursday morning with 100 anglers heading to … well, just about anywhere within reach, if you ask them.
The water on the Sabine River was muddied by recent weather fronts. So the Elites are setting their sights on fisheries farther from here, by and large. Some are headed west toward Taylor Bayou. Some are headed north, toward backwater sloughs. Most, at least by their own estimation, are headed east, toward Louisiana.
For those heading east, that run easily could be an hour. For others heading toward the Bayou State, the run could be two hours, maybe more.
“Catching one keeper out here has been extremely tough,” said Elite pro Terry Scroggins. “You’re getting 15 or 20 bites, but you have to make extremely long runs to do it. It’s an hour to the east, an hour to the west. You can stay here in the Sabine and try to catch one, but this is a very challenging event. I don’t think you’re going to see a lot of limits caught today.”
Several pros have said that the Sabine River fishery will be similar to Louisiana’s Mississippi River Delta, with its wide-open possibilities. Elite pro Kenyon Hill said you can’t let the expansiveness get into your head, though.
“You’ve got to pick an area,” Hill said. “You have to get on it and go with it. The keeper fish will tell you where to go.”
Gary Klein, who is quite familiar with Texas waters, said smaller bites should be the rule of the day.
“The problem all the anglers are going to face is that in the Sabine River, there are a lot of small fish. There are a lot of little bitty rats. I think this thing will be won by someone who’s fishing a canal system, making a long run. Some might weigh in 10 or 12, some may weigh 15 or 16, but I think that’s it. You’ll probably see some zeroes today. Today will be about survival.”