The 2013 edition of the “Do It In Orange” Fishing Classic is set for this weekend June 22 and 23 with $20,000 in prize money up for grabs .Last year’s event somehow came in under the radar, but there isn’t a chance of that happening this year as folks were talking about fishing this year’s tournament even before the 2012 final weigh-in!

The format is a little different in that a single entry fee of $100 puts your two man team in the hunt for the top prize money in any or all of the three different divisions. The first place check for the 6 heaviest specks, 6 heaviest bass and 4 largest reds over a two day period is $2000 and each division will pay ten places. All 30 winners will also win a $500 gift certificate from David Self Ford. Folks staying in any Orange County hotel for the event would also do well to hang on to their receipt for an additional $500 drawing on June 23.

Anglers can use artificial lures only and each team can weigh in 3 bass, 3 trout and 2 redfish per day. The bass must meet the 14’ minimum and only live bass can be weighed in. Each team is allowed only one trout over the 25” mark per member each day and the redfish must be 20 to 27 inches in length. Live fish in each category will receive a ¼ pound bonus which could very easily be the difference maker in the trout and redfish divisions at the end of the day.

The final weigh-in is set for 3 p.m. on Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday at the City Boat Ramp located on Simmons Drive. Drinks and links will be served Friday afternoon.

The $64 question for those of you currently riding the fence on whether or not to enter is “What is it going to take to win this thing?” The wind will be a big factor, not so much for the bass fishermen, but certainly for those teams chasing down specks and reds for two days.

Based strictly on what has been going on for me over the past three weeks, I look for the trout division to produce some great weights, the redfish may very well do the same thing and the bass division is going to be a grind. Remember that you are not fishing against pros or guides, but there are lots of fishermen in this area that can out fish both the pros and guides.

If the wind backs off for the weekend it will be a wide open competition for the saltwater divisions as we have found some great slot reds and trout up to five pounds working under the gulls all over the lake. If I were a betting man, however, I would bet that it will blow and you are going to have to fish a solid pattern. The good news is that the trout are still doing their thing in the wind as we have caught a number of fish from six to seven pounds and limits almost every day.

I think the winning trout will come out of the lake and I look for the winning two day total to be between 25 and 30 pounds. There are certainly enough quality slot redfish in the backwater marshes to win this thing, but I believe the winning fish will come off the jetties….wind or no wind. I look for that total to be somewhere between 30 and 32 pounds.

A lot of local bass fishermen now know a great deal more about their local fishery than they did prior to the Bassmaster tournament back in March, but it is still going to be a challenge this weekend due mostly to the high water. I would bet on someone winning it in Taylor’s Bayou, but it could happen anywhere with the excellent water clarity in the rivers and the shad hatch in full bloom.

We were finishing up a trip and fishing for flounder on an incoming tide earlier this week when we found the bass blowing up on small shad less than a mile from the City launch. We only caught four bass, but two of them were over two pounds and another weighed 3.60. Every one of those fish ate a space guppy Usual Suspect Swim Bait. We put them all back, but they spit small shad all over the floor of the boat. I think it will take 12 to 16 pounds to win that division.

It is going to be a great tournament and it will be well attended as more and more folks realize what a great fishery we have in our backyard. Even if you don’t fish it load the kids up and come out and enjoy the weigh-ins. You can sign up online at or call the chamber at 883-3536.

We have been on a little different pattern of late and haven’t been using the VuDu shrimp, but here is something to consider when putting the hot little lure away at the end of the day. Don’t store it with the rest of your plastic tails as they will reduce it to a pile of melted gunk. I talked with Ken Chaumont with Egret baits and he did his best to walk me through the chemical properties of most plastic lures, but I can barely spell chemistry and just wanted to know how to avoid that expensive problem.

Depending on the choice of compounds a plastic tail can either be softer and far more flexible or harder, but significantly tougher. The softer plastics will eat up everything from a Rat-L-Trap to the VuDu shrimp when you leave them in contact with one another. In this case, however, tougher is better with the shrimp as long as you keep it away from your other plastics!

Mike Ford with a nice trout that would work well in the upcoming tournament!