If you haven’t had an opportunity to do any scouting of late, I would recommend targeting something other than bass in the upcoming 32nd annual OCARC fishing tournament. Following several tweaks to that category over the years to ensure entrants fished only local waters, the black bass category was relegated to back row status.

    That is no longer the case, however, as not only has the bass fishing continued to get better….so have those anglers chasing them.  Massive releases of water from both Rayburn and Toledo Bend have provided more than a shot in the arm for the local fishery as have live releases following major tournaments hosted out of the City boat launch.

    You need look no further than the results of the weekly shootouts to quickly pick up on two important facts.  More often than not you are going to have to weigh in a bass on the north side of four pounds to win and that group of fifteen to twenty-five teams alone will provide more than ample competition!

    If all of that isn’t enough to dissuade the occasional angler from wasting his time chasing a winning bass, Dominion, Inc. boosted the incentive by raising this year’s payout for the largest bass to $750.  Redfish, speckled trout, flounder and bass have always paid $250.

    Ironically enough, the easiest category to win may well be the speckled trout division due to the lingering effects of Hurricane Harvey.  Trout in excess of three pounds are scarce and places to catch a fish that size or even scarcer. For my money, the north revetment wall or somewhere between the Causeway and the jetties will produce the winning fish.

    I would fish the same areas with live bait if I were targeting the winning flounder.  Only Louisiana legal redfish can be weighed in and the winner may very well be determined by one hundredth of an ounce.

    A large percentage of the bass fishermen will rely on the marshes and redfish do not know they aren’t bass when a plastic frog or topwater lure swims in front of their face.  Even with the unfavorable conditions for trout on the north end of the lake, catching a winning red patrolling the shoreline is a very real possibility.

    The one thing that has not changed in this annual event is that you can weigh in anything with fins and have a chance of cashing a check.  Every child that enters will be a winner as will the parents that brought them out in support of the tournament and the folks that make the OCARC work.

    The tournament officially starts August 2nd at 5:00 p.m. with the weigh-in set for the same time August 3rd.  The entry fee is $30 and you can pick up an entry form at the center located on the corner of 8th and Park.

    Twenty-four teams fished the weekly Sabine River Shootout last week and 16 of them weighed in limits.  Cade Brown and Wade Leblanc took home the lion’s share of the money with the big bass (3.85-pounds) and the winning stringer (7.96-pounds).

    Mike Johnson and Gee Victoriono took second with 7.43-pounds followed by Steve Morris and Roeh Burton with 7.05 -pounds.  Bronson Kemp won the Kid’s Division with a .87-pound fish. You need to have fished 8 tournaments to qualify for the Championship and only two regular events remain.

    The following week the City Boat Launch will be the site of yet another highly anticipated charity event with a considerable amount of money up for grabs.  Just as Tony Viator promised following the final edition of the popular Cops Helping Kids events, they are back with The Backwater Challenge set for Aug. 9th and 10th.

    Redfish and bass will produce the winning stringers making this a spectator’s delight for local fishermen.  This will be the first-time bass fishermen and redfish purists have rubbed shoulders in pursuit of one another’s fish and Viator could not have picked a more favorable venue.

    Early registration is open and those registering early will be entered in a pre-tournament drawing.  For more information contact Tony (prefers text) at 409-284-7934 or go to their website at gttallc.com.    

    You don’t even have to fish to be a winner at the Orange County CCA Chapter Banquet set for Thursday August 8th.  Corporate tables as well as individual tickets are still available.  For more information call Louis Moore at 409-988-4845 or Scott Bandy at 409-988-3667.