The tournament is underway and here are some things to watch for on Thursday.
- Near and far. I have access to the BassTrakk map and it provides a telltale snapshot of how the field is choosing where to fish. Right now, the anglers are divided between two groups. Those staying near downtown Orange, choosing to fish near the takeoff in the Sabine River. And those making the run up the Neches River, toward Beaumont. The first group is obviously staying nearby to maximize fishing time, instead of burning it up making a long run. The runners are making the gamble to find better quality fish.
- Wind factor. During practice, a strong southerly wind pumped moisture out of the Gulf of Mexico. Wind gusts up to 25 mph prevented anglers from making the long run across Galveston Bay to those fertile waters. Today, the wind is calm. Will we see anyone make that run?
- Spawn factor. Record cold weather with temperatures below freezing and for sustained periods, equated to a late winter. As a result, the spawning cycle is just now underway. The cycle is leaning more toward postspawn, indicating the signs of the classic "postspawn funk." But this area is so vast and diverse there are opportunities to find bass in the spawning cycle of your choice.
- Hurricane factor. Last August, Orange was in the bull's eye of Hurricane Laura, a category 4 storm that veered slightly east when making landfall. Even so, the hurricane left its mark on the environment. Veterans of Sabine River Elite Series events reported much tougher fishing. Could the storm be to blame?