It seems that over the past two months, be it local, state or national, some group has hosted a tournament on Sabine Lake every weekend.If your favorite spot has any merit all, don’t count on getting on it on a Saturday morning. If, however, you are more into learning than catching, these are wonderful opportunities to observe and learn everything from how to best fish productive structure to fishing different lures and techniques.If you keep your distance and rely on your troll motor to quietly move around rather than your big engine, you can learn a lot without having to endure that ugly glare!
There is no doubt that the reason so many circuits and organizations continue to flock to this lake is that they consistently catch fish regardless of the weather. Mother Nature has not been overly hospitable on the majority of the past eleven Saturdays, but these guys do a great job of adjusting on the fly and making their Plan B work. Easily the biggest game changer is too much wind blowing out of the wrong direction.Most of these events are “artificial lures only” which totally eliminates anchoring up on the ICW or in the mouth of a protected bayou and waiting out a usually dependable bite. Two weeks ago I watched a pair of pros that I know drift around in some pretty significant waves hoping the redfish they had been on all week would start schooling.They had thrown a multitude of different lures and not caught the first fish when I grew bored with their plight and checked out another area. When I returned they were still there or had left and returned as well, but either way they finished the day with a single small slot red.“That wind had to be frustrating,” I remarked while helping them get their rig on the trailer. “I would have given up on that bite a lot quicker than you did.” In unison they announced with conviction, “Those fish were there. We couldn’t leave. Those two yahoos in that walk through windshield that kept drifting around us limited and probably released a dozen more oversized fish.Now that’s what was frustrating!” It turned out that those two yahoos were drifting with live finger mullet and that is all the fish would hit. That is not all that uncommon this time of the year, but it doesn’t make it any easier to stomach when you are in a tournament and reduced to spectator status. The Beaumont A&M Club hosted their 20^th silent auction and fund raising tournament to help provide scholarships last Saturday, but at the end of the day the title could have been changed to the Mike and Hunter Fesco Invitational.If you simply looked at the final stats you couldn’t really appreciate just how good a day the Fescos enjoyed. You were only eligible to win money in one of the categories even if you had the heaviest fish in another. From a money standpoint, they still caught the right fish when they won the “12^th man redfish with the most spots” category.Every year that there is no winner the pot goes up an additional $500 and no one had won it in the past five years. And, don’t think Mike’s nephew, Hunter, was just along for the ride.He won the Fesco team another $350 with his 5.23 pound flounder. They couldn’t collect a check for every win, but take a look at their numbers. Aside from the two wins already mentioned, they additionally won first in the team flounder and team trout stringer divisions, third in the team redfish stringer division, first in the Team Texas Slam, and first and second in the individual heaviest trout category. They didn’t just win those categories, but posted some excellent weights as well.They were competing against 38 other teams as this year’s event attracted ten more teams than last year. Check the expiration date on your fishing license before your next trip.You can now buy them to expire twelve months from date of purchase, but not everyone does that.While looking for a tag for an oversized redfish one day last week we discovered that none of my clients had a valid license. Oops!

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