Not always bass on the line at Sabine

Variety may be the spice of life, but it’s a major annoyance for Bassmaster Elite anglers fishing the Sabine River.

Elite rookie Darold Gleason frames the premise: “The heartbreak of the wrong fish will be in full effect."

There’s plenty of bass — not a lot of big’ns — but plenty inhabiting the Sabine’s diverse network of connected rivers, bayous and canals. The problem is, a lot of other species often take a liking to the common shallow water baits.

Here’s a few representative practice reports.

Brad Whatley: “I caught a 40-pound alligator gar on a vibrating jig that I had to chase around for 20 minutes to get my bait back.”

Ed Loughran: Ed Loughran also wrangled with a giant gar, along with a 20-pound redfish. He burned a couple chunks of practice time on these annoying interlopers because he couldn’t afford to lose the crankbait that both fish choked. 

Darold Gleason: Gleason, who makes his home on Toledo Bend, just upriver from the tournament town, said his mixed bag of misfits included bowfin (locally called choupique, grennel, of mudfish), a big red, “a million goggle eye” (warmouth perch) and a snake.

What kind of snake?

“No clue,” Gleason quipped. “The kind that makes me wanna burn my boat. It was probably 4 1/2 feet. Looked to be a cobra-copper-moccasin hybrid.

“I cut the line."

Discretion is the better part of valor.

The harsh truth: Weeding through bycatch may be the inevitable reality for many this week. The upside: Life attracts life, so areas with a multitude of species generally indicate favorable habitat that bass will also utilize. 

Keep casting and the right flavor will show up eventually.

Just watch those overhanging tree limbs. (Google “Bill Dance bloopers.”)