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InsideLine – Sabine River Challenge

Category : HAWK TALK

I felt both anxious and excited driving to the first event of the 2013 Bassmaster Elite Series on the Sabine River.  The Sabine River Challenge would be my first Elite Series tournament and I wanted to perform well, but BASS titled the event a “challenge” for good reason.  I’ve never fished a river system as vast as the Sabine.  The tidal basin provided so many different options on where to run to and fish, I knew I had to make a scouting trip to help break it down.

Scouting the Sabine
hawk-sabine01Prior to off-limits, I spent a week exploring the Sabine, including the connecting Calcasieu River, Neches River and Taylors Bayou.  I drove and looked around rather than stopping to fish, which enabled me to cover a lot of water. I was checking for water clarity, water temperature, and types of cover in each river.  I also relied heavily on Google Earth (one of my favorite pre-fishing tools) to help me find some hidden backwaters and canals connected to the main rivers.

I discovered a promising backwater pond adjacent to the Neches River with clean water, but the canal leading into it presented some challenges.  The canal was long, shallow, and lined with stumps, so I couldn’t run on pad.  It took some creative maneuvering, but with a high tide and a stiff south wind keeping the water level up I was able to get around and over all of the obstacles.  Once in, I dropped my trolling motor and made a pass down one side of the pond, catching five keepers in thirty minutes.  I knew I’d found something special and hoped the conditions would be right for me to reach that backwater spot during the tournament.  Before leaving I marked the water level on a tree at the entrance of the canal so I could easily determine whether I should attempt idling all the way down the canal during the tournament. Read the rest of the article >

Originally published over on the InsideLine online magazine
April 11, 2013

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