ORANGE, TEXAS — Following the winning angler on Sunday at the 2013 Elite Series Sabine River Challenge Presented by STARK Cultural Venues proved to be an interesting day, to say the least. If you're into the outdoors scene at all, this was picture perfect
Imagine robust marsh, wildlife everywhere and one of the best guides possible to show the way around this southeast Texas fishery. T-Roy Broussard was in control of the airboat today, as he and good friend Mike Stegall scooted on and around Big Hill Bayou, at some points rolling through cuts in football-field size patches of reeds.
Broussard, of course, is one of the faces from the Swamp People television show, and he has about 2,500 acres of this beautiful land in east Texas. But as fired up as he is about this area, he was even more fired up about his friend Todd Faircloth, an Elite angler he met late last year when Faircloth was scouting the area in preparation for the tournament he wound up winning.
How excited was T-Roy? Well, as soon as he arrived on Big Hill Bayou, Faircloth landed a quality bite to get his day started right. Broussard promptly broke out a duck call and sent out a hailing call to the Jasper, Texas, Elite pro. He and his boat mate Stegall gave a quick knuckle bump and anxiously awaited the next catch.
Faircloth didn't disappoint them, with consistent bites throughout the morning. Each bite brought forth another duck call from T-Roy and the customary good-luck knuckle bump with Stegall.
For Broussard, it's a point of pride to have the Sabine River and the surrounding waters be productive for not only Faircloth, but all the anglers who came here shooting for an Elite Series victory.
But mostly for Faircloth, as T-Roy readily admitted.
"I feel like it was me in the boat today. I've fished here all my life and I know the water. To watch a true master do what he did today, it was special. This is me. This is why I came. It's what I've been doing my whole life. To see a top guy pick them apart...there are a lot of guys who fish out there, but nobody breaks that water down and fishes it like he's done. I'm emotional about it."
Faircloth was emotional, too. When he was announced the winner on the stage back in Orange, he had to take a moment to collect himself. His wife and kids joined him on stage and that gave him even more reason to reflect on winning this event, not far from his hometown.
"I want to thank all you fans and my family, my friends," he said to a very appreciative crowd. "I've been an emotional wreck this week. I've been running a long ways ... It was nerve-wracking ... I'm at a loss for words right now. To win this in front of you guys is awesome."
Broussard had a front row seat for Faircloth's fishing prowess on Big Hill and gave him a thumbs up when he landed each of his fish. T-Roy also was seated in the front row of a crowd on Sunday that easily numbered 8,000 back at Orange (See Elite attendance records smashed in Orange) and he gave another thumbs up when his buddy hoisted the victor's trophy in the air.