Top 50 cut

Bob Downey

Roughly the top half of the field after weigh-in today will move on to fish tomorrow. This is always a race we keep our eye on on Day 2, and it’s always tight on the Sabine River. But less than 2 pounds separated 50th from 89th at the start of today. That’s 39 places, and a very tight race.

For comparison, in 2021 when we last visited here, that same 2-pound gap only stretched from 50th to 73rd after Day 1 (23 places). In 2018, the only other time this tournament was held this far into the summer, almost a mirror image occurred, with 2 pounds separating 50th from 90th (40 places). Around 2 pounds separated 50th from 64th in 2015 (14 places). And after Day 1 on our first visit here in 2013, a little less than 2 pounds spanned only 18 places, from 50th to 68th. So today’s race is as tight as any have been here, or most anywhere for that matter.

With so much history here, let’s look at what it took to make Day 3 the last four times we’ve visited Orange, Texas: 14-9 (2021), 15-11 (2018), 12-0 (2015), 10-0 (2013). The cut weights have gotten better with time, and were surprisingly the best ever when we visited the area this same week in 2018, as compared to the three times we’ve been here closer to the spawn.

After Day 1 in 2018, Caleb Sumrall (Elite Series rookie at the time) sat in 50th with 7-15. To start the morning today, rookie Kyle Norsetter held the bubble boy spot with 6-12.

After looking at all of this and taking it into consideration, expect a handful of anglers to ride a big bite or two way up the leaderboard today to get into Saturday, like we’ve already seen from David Williams with a 5-0 and Caleb Sumrall with two 3-pounders.

With 3 to 4 hours left to fish here on Day 2 (depending on the angler’s flight), BassTrakk has the current cutline at 11-0, with Bob Downey in 50th. We won’t see a weight as high as we did in 2018, but maybe 14 pounds is possible if the anglers catch them a little better on Day 2. That’s a lot to ask for though, and 13 pounds, 2 ounces seems more realistic if the weights drop slightly from Day 1 to Day 2 like they did here in 2018. These are the numbers that have been running through many of the anglers heads all morning. We’ll see how it all washes out here in a few hours.