The Triangle TailChaser’s third tournament of the year was certainly no bargain for the eleven teams willing to battle the wind last Saturday. Pre-fishing was of little benefit as the wind had blown all week long and most of the field were scratching their collective heads with the year end championship very much up for grabs.

The unique format allows each team to drop one of the five events fished and apparently a number of teams decided this would be the one rather than even deal with the miserable conditions. The team of Stephen Havard and Kory Earp started the day with a narrow lead in the championship race that the team of Albert Bates and Mike managed to erase with their winning total of 23.1 pounds.

“We were surprised to win with that weight, but I knew it was going to be tough on everyone,” said Bates. They were the only team to weigh in a slam (2 reds, 2 trout and 2 flounder), but even at that he said they made some mistakes that could have cost them the tournament and did, in fact, cost them a little extra gas money .

“We found a few trout very early which we were not expecting to do and I released a fish that would have helped us thinking that I was going to catch two trout much larger,’ said Bates.“I then cost us some money by encouraging Mike to release a blackjack red (a redfish closest to 21 inches without going over the mark) because it wouldn’t help our weight and I thought someone would weigh in one smaller.”

As it turned out, none of the teams weighed in a blackjack red and that money will be added to the pot in the next tournament.“We never put together any kind of a pattern,” added Bates.“We just fished hard, covered lots of water and caught the right fish.”

The second place team of Jeremy Reeves and Jon Beagle weighed in 16.66 pounds followed by the teams of Havard and Earp, Broussard and Frederick and Viator and Cryer. With two tournaments remaining Bates and Veitch are currently nursing a slim three point lead over Havard and Earp. With the championship still very much up for grabs the next tournament is scheduled for July 20.

The club added five new members at Saturday’s event. For more information about joining and fishing the monthly tournaments you can go online at

While we should probably be pleased that it didn’t snow, I did not expect that north wind and rain Sunday morning. I talked with several area fishermen that couldn’t get to the beach fast enough in anticipation of a flat surf and surface feeding trout, but the mini-frontal system should help the bite in the lake as well.

The birds were already trying to work over small shrimp before the never ending south wind took up residence so I would expect more of the same almost immediately. Even with all of the wind the water clarity has not been that bad.

Even if the birds start doing their thing on a regular basis I think it is still a little too early to stop targeting the kind of trout on Sabine that could win the upper coast division in the annual CCA S.T.A.R. tournament. Many of the larger sow trout are still carrying eggs and this has already been a special spring for big trout.

It is undoubtedly a crap shoot when you are looking for fish over the nine pound mark, but we are still seeing a lot of seven-pound plus fish that could easily win a $50,000 scholarship for one of the kids. I received an email from a client Monday night that was very excited that his daughter caught a 28 inch trout that morning.

He became a little less excited when I asked how much it weighed and he stated that he had no idea as they took her picture and released the fish. He wasn’t even sure how the S.T.A.R. tournament worked, but the chances are very good that they released a fish that would have currently put her in first place!

When it only costs $10 for a New Tide membership and the entry fee is free there is no reason not to get the kids registered. The tournament lasts all summer long and that gives you one more excuse for going fishing as often as possible. Go online at and look at the different categories and college money your youngster could win with one lucky cast!

Albert Bates and Mike Veitch with part of winning catch