Locals Make Predictions On Tournament
The Bassmaster Elites are back in Orange for the fourth time to compete for the big blue trophy, angler of the year points, and a big check.
It’s also the fourth stop on the 2021 Elite Tour that has seen changes in the schedule, mainly because of the coronavirus pandemic. In fact the Orange stop has been moved twice so congrats to organizers for getting it together.
Anglers from all over the country are ready to take off Thursday morning from the Orange Boat Ramp and when you ask them about the Sabine River you get some interesting looks, and the most popular phrase you hear is “vast fishery.”
The vast has been cut in half because Louisiana waters are off limits. In Louisiana, private landowners can prohibit boater access to navigable waters flowing over or through their lands. BASS has currently eliminated Louisiana and its waters from its schedules because of the law. BASS, like the rest of the states, believe in the phrase, “if you can float it, you can boat it.”
But that was the case when the Elites were here in 2018 and the weights didn’t change much. Greg Hackney won the tournament that was held in June with 48-5. There were five fishermen who weighed in more than 40 pounds.
Todd Faircloth won the first Elite tournament on the Sabine in March 2013 with 49-6 when Louisiana was in play. He was one of four fishermen who weighed in more than 40 pounds. And Chris Lane won the event in March 2015 with an even 50 pounds as six fishermen weighed in more than 40 pounds.
So we asked several of our local fishermen for their guesses as to the winning weight in the four day tournament.
Dickie Colburn – guide and contributor to KOGT’s “Let’s Go Fishing” Show. Total: 44.0
Justin Royal – caught 9.73 bass on the Sabine. Total: 51.0
Chuck Uzzle – guide and columnist for The Record. Total: 42.0
Jonathan Simon – Director Sabine River Shootouts. Total: 42.1
Trey Smith – Sabine River Ford. Total: 54.32
Jack Tindel III – LSCO Bass Club member. Total: 46.5
Cory Rambo – owner Rambo Outdoors. Total: 48.0
Luke McFarlane – McFarlane Bass Co. Total: 47.67
Josh Grundmann – Resilience Outdoors. Total: 49.5
Eric Ellison – Capt. Cornmeal Charters. Total: 52.6
Orange County Judge John Gothia – Total 52.0
So who’s the favorite?
Hackney returned to the Elites this year and is certainly a favorite to win again. He also had a fifth place finish in 2015. Past winners Faircloth and Lane left BASS and are still with Major League Fishing.
Bill Lowen, who just won the last Elite Tournament at Pickwick (also his first win in 14 years on the tour) has a fifth place and a 22nd place finish on the Sabine.
John Crews has two top ten finishes here. Crowd favorite Gerald Swindle has received a check all three times here with a 2nd, 24th, and 43rd place finish.
The heaviest fish weighed in during the three tournaments was a 6-10 by Terry Scroggins in 2015. Scroggins also caught a 6-1 for big bass in 2013. Brock Moseley caught a 6.3 for big bass in 2018. A daily bag of 16 pounds is a special number. Faircloth still holds the mark of 16-8 in 2013. Steve Kennedy bagged 16-5 and Hackney 16-3 in 2018.
Current Top Ten in the Angler of the Year Standings
Rank Name PTS
1 Patrick Walters 264
2 Seth Feider 246
3 Brandon Palaniuk 245
4 Greg Hackney 242
5 Bryan New 239
6 Cory Johnston 238
7 Bryan Schmitt 238
8 Drew Cook 221
9 Steve Kennedy 219
10 Matt Herren 217
Good luck to all! Daily launch is 6:45am and weigh-ins at the boat ramp start at 3pm.
-Gary Stelly, KOGT-