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Shallow and Steady at the Sabine

Posted by stephen on March 23, 2015

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(Photo: James Overstreet)

The first Bassmaster Elite Series event of the year at the Sabine River in Orange, Texas was a fun one.  I obviously would have liked to have made day four and had a chance to win, but I’ve really got nothing to complain about.  This past week at the Sabine, I got to fish the way I love to fish.  I caught nearly all of my fish with a flipping stick in my hand or shallow cranking.

If you look at the weights at the Sabine, you might not immediately think it would be a fun event.  However, it really is a good place to fish.  You can get a lot of bites and catch a lot of fish, but the biggest problem is catching those 14”+ fish (minimum length requirement). 

There were a lot of fish starting to pull up and a good number that were bedded down during the event.  The unfortunate part of this event and our last one at the Sabine was the weather.  Without a major rain event and the releasing of water from Toledo Bend, I think the weights would have been significantly better.  With the fluctuating water levels, those big girls just seemed to not be moved up yet.  A majority of the fish that had pulled up seemed to be bucks (smaller males). 

Day one, the tidal influence definitely played a role in the bite.  Once the tide would go out, the areas would clear up enough that you could actually see them bedding and I put together a solid limit.  The next day, that did not happen.  The window narrowed as the lowest tide came about 45-50 minutes later than day one.  I ended up catching one real late, but that bite never materialized on day two.  On the final day, I made the decision to gamble and run west to Louisiana to try and put together a big bag of fish.  It was a long run and with less fishing time, I only managed three bites.

I ended up doing most of my damage in the event with a two pronged approach.  The first was flipping a Z-Man Turbo Crawz in Christmas or Junebug with a 5/16 or 3/8 oz weight.  The other productive presentation for me was a LiveTarget Crawfish Crank (Squarebill).  If we had a muddy or softer bottom I would flip and if it was a harder bottom I would crank.

After our first event here, a lot of the field was educated on where the prime areas of the river were.  It made for close quarters fishing as multiple boats would pack into small, productive areas.  It’s happening more and more in the Elite Series because with the talent there is in this pool, hardly anything goes unnoticed.  If you are catching them in a certain area during practice, it’s a safe bet that you will have some company there during the tournament.

All in all I’m pleased with this event.  I was able to fish to my strengths and fish the way I like to fish, while coming out with another nice check and a good bit of momentum heading into Guntersville.  It’s really a good schedule for the way I like to fish and I think Guntersville will fit right into that.  By the time we get there, there should be a lot of shallow fish and fish that are on beds.  It’s shaping up to be a slugfest and I’ll need to put together some big bags everyday to stay in the hunt. -SB