Youngsters dominate OCARC event
Local Fishing – Capt. Dickie Colburn
There are those that would write it off as simply a coincidence, but Trey Smith called me last week and reminded me that the tough fishing in the river and Sabine Lake was almost over.“The bite turns around every year, regardless of conditions, as soon as the OCARC tournament is in the books.”
Fortunately, for the 275 fishermen that fished the event last weekend, the bite actually turned around the day before the tournament.We were blessed with an unseasonable cool front that was accompanied by a surprisingly stiff north wind making a day on the water much more bearable.The folks at the Center are always the biggest winner thanks to the support of local fishermen, but even at that, John Thomas was even more pleased than usual at the post-tournament fish fry.
“It is always great to see the folks that have fished with us year after year and now their kids are making the same commitment.” Said Thomas, “but the best part of this year’s tournament was how many youngsters weighed in the big money fish.”Three of the top four checks went to youngsters and Matthew Prayne was easily the top angler of the event winning the bass, sunfish and white perch categories!
I am also thinking that divine intervention may have played a part in two categories that have recently been renamed to honor the families of fishermen that have a long tradition with the OCARC and their tournament. Janea Borel lost her life in a boating accident last year and Thomas immediately decided the grinnel category would bear her name forever more.
The reason for choosing that category was that the Borels have been, and still are, all but impossible to beat in that category every year and wouldn’t you know it…..Austin Borel wins the trophy again Saturday with a 3.70 pound grinnel. Andy has apparently passed along all of his secret spots and techniques as well!
This year, a long time friend of the OCARC that fished nearly all of the previous twenty-seven tournaments passed away and Thomas once again changed the name of a category in recognition of his years of support.The freshwater catfish category is now titled “Sarge’s Catfish” in honor of James Sargent..
And, of all things, who should win the first Sarge’s Catfish trophy, but long time friend and fellow catfish enthusiast, Eddie Williams with a beautiful 23.99 pound specimen….. “Now, are you still going to try and convince me this is just a coincidence? “
It took very solid fish to cash the top check in all of the big four categories.Matt Prayne weighed in a 3.72 pound bass, Alex Jackson weighed in a 7.16 pound redfish, John Lewis weighed in a 6.21 pound trout and Jim Foster won the flounder division by five hundredths of an ounce with his 2.65 pound flounder.
Evelyn Cape also walked away $250 richer after weighing in the Appaloosa redfish with the most spots.She averaged about $13 a spot as her fish had a whopping total of twenty.Ethan Reed won the “Don Hubbard” catfish category with a 2.22 pound fish, Nolan Haney won the croaker category with a very nice 1.55 pound fish and Prayne’s winning crappie and sunfish weighed 1.0 and .59 pounds.
As usual, the S.A.L.T. Club weigh-in team was responsible for yet another flawless and speedy weigh-in, the food and door prizes were great and everyone in attendance, with the exception of the two year old little girl that didn’t want her picture taken on the bucking bull, had a great time!
Area fishermen lost a great friend this week with the passing of Jr. Hansen.His name will forever be synonymous with Keith Lake as he generously provided and maintained the only launch on the lake for years.While thousands of local fishermen used the launch, only a handful of people were aware of the battles he fought with the state just to keep it open.
His generosity may be even more appreciated in retrospect as there is no telling what will happen to the coveted launch in the future.Much of the Pass and that immediate area have already been revamped much to the dismay of veteran Keith Lake anglers.Change is inevitable, but never forget one thing…..it would have come a lot sooner had it not been for Jr. Hansen!
The Orange CCA Chapter Banquet is now only two weeks away and it is an event you don’t want to miss.No organization protects and supports the saltwater angler like the CCA and for darn near the same price you would pay for a steak dinner you get the steak, drinks, live and silent auctions and a year’s membership in the CCA.
Everything about the annual banquet is enjoyable.The evening starts at 6:00 p.m. on Aug. 20th at the Convention and Expo Center on Hwy. 1442. For tickets and more information call Louis Moore at 988-4845.