Sabine River redux

Revisiting the ups and downs of the exciting 2013 Elite event that took place on this vast fishery.

In 2013 Elite anglers found a vast fishery that crossed the borders of Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana.
Photo: Steve Bowman - In 2013 Elite anglers found a vast fishery that crossed the borders of Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana.
It was filled with creeks and bayous and parts of the Louisiana Marsh.
Photo: James Overstreet - It was filled with creeks and bayous and parts of the Louisiana Marsh.
The big cypress trees and Spanish moss provided a picturesque backdrop.
Photo: James Overstreet - The big cypress trees and Spanish moss provided a picturesque backdrop.
In some places, banks were lined with a bevy of laydowns....
Photo: James Overstreet - In some places, banks were lined with a bevy of laydowns....
Or more standing timber than could be flipped to in a day.
Photo: James Overstreet - Or more standing timber than could be flipped to in a day.
Even with its size, anglers often shared water in this event...
Photo: James Overstreet - Even with its size, anglers often shared water in this event...
Or they found themselves alone in a forest of cover.
Photo: James Overstreet - Or they found themselves alone in a forest of cover.
Many of those places produced keeper fish.
Photo: James Overstreet - Many of those places produced keeper fish.
But most of the anglers spent more time searching. On Day 1, 13 Elites finished the day with a zero, 20 on Day 2 and eight on Day 3.
Photo: James Overstreet - But most of the anglers spent more time searching. On Day 1, 13 Elites finished the day with a zero, 20 on Day 2 and eight on Day 3.
The crowds of fans in Orange, Texas, could care less how tough the fishing was.
Photo: James Overstreet - The crowds of fans in Orange, Texas, could care less how tough the fishing was.
They turned out each day with energy...
Photo: James Overstreet - They turned out each day with energy...
Setting records for the most people to view an Elite event at that time.
Photo: Steve Bowman - Setting records for the most people to view an Elite event at that time.
There were enough fish to keep them interested...
Photo: Steve Bowman - There were enough fish to keep them interested...
And there were enough fish in the Sabine River system to make this an interesting event.
Photo: James Overstreet - And there were enough fish in the Sabine River system to make this an interesting event.
Hefty bass showed up enough to keep the standings moving.
Photo: Steve Bowman - Hefty bass showed up enough to keep the standings moving.
The fight in the fish of the Sabine produced a lot of excitement...
Photo: Steve Bowman - The fight in the fish of the Sabine produced a lot of excitement...
And a lot of splashes...
Photo: Steve Bowman - And a lot of splashes...
Even if they were sometimes too short to measure.
Photo: Steve Bowman - Even if they were sometimes too short to measure.
Those that did measure were often caught around the many signs posted.
Photo: Steve Bowman - Those that did measure were often caught around the many signs posted.
Signs were everywhere.
Photo: James Overstreet - Signs were everywhere.
Some of them on bridges...
Photo: James Overstreet - Some of them on bridges...
Some of them with ominous warnings...
Photo: Steve Bowman - Some of them with ominous warnings...
And others that pointed the way to good fishing.
Photo: Steve Bowman - And others that pointed the way to good fishing.
Along with the signs, there were still remnants of hurricanes that had washed through the area in years past.
Photo: Steve Bowman - Along with the signs, there were still remnants of hurricanes that had washed through the area in years past.
Debris offered ideal places for bass to hide.
Photo: Steve Bowman - Debris offered ideal places for bass to hide.
Even old boats blown around by the storms were likely places.
Photo: James Overstreet - Even old boats blown around by the storms were likely places.
As were duck blinds...
Photo: James Overstreet - As were duck blinds...
Old bridges...
Photo: James Overstreet - Old bridges...
And bridges you could stand up under.
Photo: Steve Bowman - And bridges you could stand up under.
They fished under trees...
Photo: Steve Bowman - They fished under trees...
And in debris piles...
Photo: Steve Bowman - And in debris piles...
Around big log jams...
Photo: Steve Bowman - Around big log jams...
And around basketball goals and shopping carts.
Photo: James Overstreet - And around basketball goals and shopping carts.
And in all those places...
Photo: Steve Bowman - And in all those places...
The leaders caught fish.
Photo: Steve Bowman - The leaders caught fish.
Even around basketballs, keepers could be found.
Photo: Steve Bowman - Even around basketballs, keepers could be found.
Every catch was critical, as was every ounce.
Photo: Steve Bowman - Every catch was critical, as was every ounce.
Quality bites were at a premium.
Photo: Steve Bowman - Quality bites were at a premium.
Small bass were all too common.
Photo: Steve Bowman - Small bass were all too common.
Spectators were able to watch from bridges.
Photo: Steve Bowman - Spectators were able to watch from bridges.
And even from the I-10 Interstate.
Photo: Steve Bowman - And even from the I-10 Interstate.
The anglers could actually fish under the Interstate.
Photo: Steve Bowman - The anglers could actually fish under the Interstate.
The tournament was led on Day 1 by Dean Rojas.
Photo: Steve Bowman - The tournament was led on Day 1 by Dean Rojas.
Rojas would weigh in a surprising 15 pounds, 10 ounces.
Photo: James Overstreet - Rojas would weigh in a surprising 15 pounds, 10 ounces.
Rojas and Alton Jones shared a small creek in Louisiana.
Photo: Steve Bowman - Rojas and Alton Jones shared a small creek in Louisiana.
Their close proximity created a rift between the two...
Photo: Steve Bowman - Their close proximity created a rift between the two...
But both managed well enough.
Photo: Steve Bowman - But both managed well enough.
Faircloth, though, would take the Day 2 lead.
Photo: James Overstreet - Faircloth, though, would take the Day 2 lead.
By the end of Day 3, the final 12 was full of shallow water specialists.
Photo: James Overstreet - By the end of Day 3, the final 12 was full of shallow water specialists.
And Rojas would regain the lead.
Photo: James Overstreet - And Rojas would regain the lead.
A large crowd witnessed the takeoff of the final day.
Photo: James Overstreet - A large crowd witnessed the takeoff of the final day.
Dean Rojas and Todd Faircloth would lead the pack.
Photo: Steve Bowman - Dean Rojas and Todd Faircloth would lead the pack.
Faircloth would start with a 3 pound, 9 ounce deficit behind Rojas.
Photo: Steve Bowman - Faircloth would start with a 3 pound, 9 ounce deficit behind Rojas.
And anglers like Mike McClelland would test the boundaries of the fishing water by traveling 80 miles one way.
Photo: Steve Bowman - And anglers like Mike McClelland would test the boundaries of the fishing water by traveling 80 miles one way.
Faircloth, though, would stay close in a small backwater marsh.
Photo: James Overstreet - Faircloth, though, would stay close in a small backwater marsh.
It was so shallow, Troy Broussard of the television show <em>Swamp People</em> would be hired to carry cameramen into the area on his air boat.
Photo: James Overstreet - It was so shallow, Troy Broussard of the television show Swamp People would be hired to carry cameramen into the area on his air boat.
Faircloth would catch fish there all day...
Photo: James Overstreet - Faircloth would catch fish there all day...
All of them quality keepers.
Photo: James Overstreet - All of them quality keepers.
Photo: James Overstreet
He would catch 14 pounds, 9 ounces.
Photo: James Overstreet - He would catch 14 pounds, 9 ounces.
Photo: James Overstreet
This would eventually give him...
Photo: James Overstreet - This would eventually give him...
A more than 7-pound margin.
Photo: James Overstreet - A more than 7-pound margin.
Faircloth’s hometown crowd was ecstatic...
Photo: James Overstreet - Faircloth’s hometown crowd was ecstatic...
When Faircloth showed off his final day catch...
Photo: James Overstreet - When Faircloth showed off his final day catch...
And won the tug of war between him and Rojas...
Photo: James Overstreet - And won the tug of war between him and Rojas...
Faircloth would be equally ecstatic.
Photo: James Overstreet - Faircloth would be equally ecstatic.
Finally, Faircloth was able to share his victory with his family.
Photo: James Overstreet - Finally, Faircloth was able to share his victory with his family.