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2013 Elite Series Sabine River Challenge Presented by STARK Cultural Venues


The stop in Orange will be a new one for the Elite Series. Also new is the collaboration of B.A.S.S. and STARK Cultural Venues.

“By partnering with B.A.S.S., we welcome the opportunity to not only showcase the scenic waterways around Orange, Texas, as a natural resource, but also the opportunity to highlight the educational and cultural resources provided by the Stark Foundation through its STARK Cultural Venues,” said Walter Riedel, president and CEO of the Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation.

The mission of STARK Cultural Venues is to bring enriching and educational resources to southeastern Texas through four venues: Stark Museum of Art, Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center, The W.H. Stark House and Lutcher Theater.

Several of the venues are planning special events on the March 14-17 Elite tournament days. In addition, the City of Orange will present its annual Art in the Park on March 16 at Stark Park in downtown, just a few blocks from the Elite site. The Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce will sponsor live music on March 15 and March 16, as well as a festival and carnival, March 14-17, within the Bassmaster Elite Series Expo.

Fishing fans can enjoy the STARK Cultural Venues while the Elite pros compete over four days for a first prize of $100,000 and a berth in the 2014 Bassmaster Classic. The pros will be looking for a strong, fast start to the season. They’ll have to do it by tackling the new challenge of miles and miles of the Sabine River system, which runs through Orange and into Sabine Lake, a Gulf of Mexico estuary.

Tour Review

KVD Day 3 - Sabine River Challenge

Ike loses control

3/15/13 - 11AM EST:


According to our sources on the water, Michael Iaconelli was running and hit something, then lost control. He and his Marshal are okay. We'll see about the boat and motor! See photos below by Jeremy Harlow.





Sabine River Challenge, day 2 AM KVD report

Low weights and high hopes


ORANGE, Texas — Despite 13 Elite Series anglers failing to catch a single 14-inch bass and another 27 boating only one, everybody expects he's still got a shot at the Sabine River Challenge $100,000 first-place check.

Sure, Dean Rojas seems like a favorite after Thursday since he managed a five-bass limit weighing 15 pounds, 10 ounces. Mark Davis (13-13) and Cliff Crochet (13-0) are in great shape too.

But no one is confident about repeating anything on this river system.

"I just need catch five [Friday]," said Rojas, who had the day's big bass weighing 5-15. "That big one was a gift. It's hard to say what it's going to take to win this tournament."

Davis knew he'd found some good fish during the three practice days on the Sabine, but he didn't expect 13 pounds on Day One, and he doesn't think it will take that to make the 12-man cut for Sunday's final.

"I think an average of 12 pounds a day is going to be a pretty tall order," Davis said. "It could take less than that."

The story on the Sabine so far this week has been: So many options, so few 14-inch bass, so many short fish and a maze of shallow obstacles in the way.

Sabine day 1 - small fish


“One fish, two fish….”

The Sabine River read sort of like a Dr. Seuss book on Thursday when the opening round of the 2013 Elite Series Sabine River Challenge Presented by STARK Cultural Venues began here in east Texas. At stake is $100,000 and a launching point to Angler of the Year status.

But Max Leatherman, a B.A.S.S. official who weighs in fish (and sees as many as anyone on the tour), said this is going to be a tough road for whomever decides to win this thing.

“One fish, two fish, very few limits,” Leatherman said. “As far as the catch, it’s way down.”

But Leatherman is sitting idly.

“This tournament makes my job harder because I have to measure more; put them on the board to verify they’re 14 inches to be a limit.”

The Sabine River is virgin territory for the B.A.S.S. tour. It’s the first time the Elites have stopped here and most of the anglers are hunting for friendly water. That means that many in the field are heading at least an hour from the launch point in Orange and some are making even deeper forays into Louisiana’s Atchafalaya Delta.

Shaw Grigsby, as seasoned an angler as there is, said it’s not difficult to catch fish here, but he said the issue is boating keepers.
“I caught 15 or 20 in one day [of practice],” he said. “So you can catch them. You can pull up in a little ‘shoot up’ and catch 20 or 30. You can’t back off. It’s really hard because you know one is going to be a keeper.”

Cliff Crochet, who some have tagged as an angler to watch in this event, said he too is having to be creative to find his fish. He caught three, which he said amounted to a “good day.”

“I had a lot of bites,” he said. “I went to an area where I only had a few keeper bites in practice, but I stayed there all day. As it warmed, up it was just back and forth. The fish are moving in and out. You just really have to wait on them, be patient.” 

Day 1 weigh in crowd


The crowd at today's weigh-in is huge! Estimated at over 2,000 and growing.


2013 Elite Series Sabine River Challenge Presented by STARK Cultural Venues
Sabine River System, Orange, Texas
Mar 14 - Mar 18, 2013


Todd Faircloth - 49-6
1. 10-7, 2. 16-8, 3. 7-14, 4. 14-9
Dean Rojas - 42-12
1. 15-10, 2. 10-14, 3. 11-14, 4. 4-6
Terry Scroggins - 41-1
1. 9-11, 2. 14-10, 3. 7-1, 4. 9-11
Ish Monroe - 40-0
1. 11-3, 2. 10-9, 3. 9-15, 4. 8-5
Bill Lowen - 38-3
1. 9-0, 2. 9-4, 3. 9-1, 4. 10-14
Bobby Lane - 35-3
1. 9-15, 2. 7-0, 3. 9-13, 4. 8-7
Jeff Kriet - 35-0
1. 10-13, 2. 10-9, 3. 9-0, 4. 4-10
Alton Jones - 32-9
1. 7-10, 2. 10-0, 3. 11-9, 4. 3-6
Mark Davis - 32-6
1. 13-13, 2. 8-6, 3. 8-0, 4. 2-3
Brandon Card - 31-10
1. 9-0, 2. 9-4, 3. 9-1, 4. 4-9
Mike McClelland - 31-8
1. 9-6, 2. 8-14, 3. 9-11, 4. 3-9
Dennis Tietje - 31-5
1. 13-0, 2. 12-0, 3. 11-8, 4. 3-10
Kevin VanDam - 24-4
1. 8-2, 2. 12-4, 3. 3-14

History & Notes;

Big Bass

Day 1: Dean Rojas - 5-15

Day 2: Terry Scroggins - 6-1

Day 3: Keith Poche - 3-15

Day 4: Brandon Card - 4-9