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Entries in Sabine River (3)

Saturday
Jun172017

Svebek Overtakes Broussard to Win Bassmaster Central Open

ORANGE, Texas — Carl Svebek III has been a professional angler for most of his life.

He cut his teeth fishing tournaments on Sam Rayburn Reservoir, and he went on to fish in several major series as an adult. Eight years ago, Svebek dropped out of sight. He stopped fishing professionally. He had lost his title sponsor and was going through a divorce. So he decided to give up the sport he loved to spend more time with his children who hadn’t seen much of dad while he was on the road fishing.

Svebek returned to pro angling 18 months ago. He made the biggest splash of his professional career today by winning the Bass Pro Shops Central Open on the Sabine River here on the Texas/Louisiana border. Svebek weighed a limit of five bass on Saturday that totaled 12 pounds, 3 ounces. It gave him a three-day total of 36-12, which was just enough to vault over T-Roy Broussard, who led the tournament the first two days.

Svebek, who also moved to Orange last year, was in second place heading into Saturday’s competition, and he took the hot seat with only Broussard remaining to weigh-in. The Port Arthur, Texas, resident had only 10 pounds in his sack, which sealed the win for the 50-year-old Svebek. An ecstatic Svebek leaped into the air and pumped his fist repeatedly as the hometown crowd burst into celebration.

Svebek was choked with emotion as he spoke to the crowd, and he spent at least 10 minutes hugging family and friends before breaking free to discuss his victory.

“This is absolutely a dream come true,” he said. “To be able to win this tournament in front of all these people from Orange is really special to me. I’ll never forget it.”

He won’t have much time to forget the big win. Svebek now will prepare for the final Central Open of the season which will be held on Oklahoma’s Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees in October. If he fishes in that tournament, he will earn a berth in the 2018 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods.

No way he’s missing the final Central Open, he said.

“I’m fishing the Bassmaster Classic,” he marveled aloud to the large crowd who greeted him offstage. “Can you believe it?”

To get there, Svebek fished the marshes just on the Louisiana side of the Sabine River, which was about a 20-minute run downriver. He eased into an extremely dense area crowded with “just about every kind of grass you can imagine,” he said.

“There were a lot of lily pads, especially on the shorelines,” he said. “There was milfoil and hydrilla. I was in about a foot and a half of water, and it was clear. That was key; getting the clean water. There was very little tidal movement in there, and that kind of helped me.”

Svebek said his key bait for the week was a Zoom Super Fluke (bluegill color) rigged Texas-style with a Bass Pro Shops XPS EWG hook. He also put a swivel about 1 foot up the line to help keep his line from twisting on long casts he was making to open pockets inside the foliage.

“I really liked the way the bait worked with the swivel,” he said. “It sounds ridiculous, but it was just enough weight that when it hit, if I paused for a minute, it would give it time to go down. I know I caught two 4-pounders this week on the initial fall. After 12 noon, I would put on a Bass Pro Shops frog. I wouldn’t get many bites doing that, but when I got one, it was a game-changer. The 4-pounder I had today was on that frog.”

That kicker may have been the bass that pushed Svebek to the Central Open win. As he held the championship trophy aloft on Saturday, he realized just how far he had come since his return to professional angling.

“To be honest, I didn’t know where I was going a year and a half ago,” he said. “I was struggling. I was having a hard time finding a job in the oil business. And then my good friend David Jones (whose Orange-based Gopher Industrial sponsored the Central Open) called me up and offered me a job. And he gave me a chance to go fishing again. I missed it, and I’m eternally grateful for him for letting me do this again.”

Svebek won a Skeeter ZX200/Yamaha SHO200 boat and motor package worth approximately $45,000, as well as $7,893 in cash. He picked up an additional $500 by winning the Power-Pole Captains Cash Award.

Broussard seemed destined to win the Central Open after his strong start, but he finished a hard-luck second. He weighed a respectable bag on Saturday (the fifth heaviest of the 12 anglers,) but it wasn’t enough to hold off Svebek’s hard charge. Broussard did split the $750 Phoenix Boats Big Bass Award with Johnny Nguyen. Both anglers weighed a 5-5 bass, which tied for the heaviest in the tournament. Broussard also won the Livingston Lures Leader Award of $250 for holding the Day 2 lead.

The remaining pros in the Top 12 were third, Chad Morgenthaler, 34-10; fourth, Jeff Avery, 34; fifth, Shane Cormier, 33-12; sixth, Randy Sullivan, 33-10; seventh, Josh Bertrand, 29-14; eighth, Matthew Delaney, 29-9; ninth, Trey Smith, 29-8; 10th, John Garrett, 29-2; 11th, Jonathan Simon, 28-6; and 12th, Terry Luedtke, 26-8.

Michael Soliz of Orange won the co-angler division with a three-day total of 19-2. Soliz actually tied with Jordan Burks of Joplin, Mo., for first place, but Soliz won the tiebreaker as he had a higher single-day total than Burks. Soliz won a Triton 179 TrX Mercury 115 ELPT four-stroke boat and motor package with his victory.

In the nonboater division, Burks received the Phoenix Boats Big Bass award of $250 with a 5-15 bass. Mark Powers of Platteville, Colo., received the Livingston Lures Leader Award of $250 in merchandise for being the Day 2 leader in the co-angler division.

Thursday
Jun082017

‘Swamp People’ Star to Compete In Bassmaster Open on Sabine River

T-Roy Broussard got his first taste of professional bass fishing when the Bassmaster Elite Series made a stop in Orange, Texas, back in 2013.

Broussard, who hails from nearby Port Arthur, grew up hunting and fishing in the Sabine River Delta, and he spent the better part of that tournament shadowing eventual champion Todd Faircloth through the same marshes. He also met anglers Shaw Grigsby, Cliff Crochet and Mark Davis, among others that week, and he was impressed by the ease with which pros often hooked big bass.

Broussard, who gained national renown of his own as an alligator hunter on the television program Swamp People, was so taken by watching the pros in their element that he decided to try his own luck in professional bass fishing. He had some success on several circuits he tried, and when Opens anglers were permitted to compete in the 2015 BASSfest on Kentucky Lake, he signed up.

Broussard since has scaled back his pro fishing schedule, and this year he’s entered in only the three 2017 Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Opens tournaments. The second of that trio will be held June 15-17 on the Sabine River and its tributaries, and it puts Broussard back on the water, where he both grew up and fell in love with professional bass fishing.

The 47-year-old Broussard is fishing this year’s Central Opens while his stepson, Donovan Henderson, competes as a co-angler. Broussard finished 84th at the Central Open on Table Rock Lake, Missouri, back in March. He’s hoping to markedly improve on that finish when he competes on the Sabine and its vast network of surrounding bayous, sloughs and backwaters.

But to hear Broussard tell it, he’s not sure he’ll be able to fare much better than he did on Table Rock, even though he knows southeast Texas waterways as well as anyone.

“We’ve had so much rain and all that freshwater really flushes the river out,” Broussard said. “So I’ve been spending a lot of time in the marshes as far south toward the river as I can. I think the key for me is to get away from the crowd as much as possible. But I’m not going to lie. I think this could be a tough tournament.”

Broussard said a combination of factors could make finding heavy bites difficult for the approximately 350 pro and co-anglers fishing the Central Open. Besides the heavy amount of rain seen along the Texas/Louisiana border the past few months, temperatures also have been cooler than usual. High water has prevented saltwater from pushing northward into the estuary as it routinely does in late spring and summer along the Gulf Coast.

That saltwater pushes bass into the back ends of canals and into smaller cuts, which makes them easier to pinpoint. Without those conditions, however, establishing a pattern can be difficult.

“Donovan and I spent 15 days or so poking around, looking for the right things,” Broussard said. “We haven’t found it yet. The best we could do was combine for 13 pounds one day. I honestly think 10 pounds a day could make the Top 12 cut, and 13 or 14 pounds a day could win it.”

Broussard said he’s learned that professional fishing is much harder than he imagined. When he watched Faircloth catch a four-day total of 49 pounds, 6 ounces, to win an Elite Series tournament back in March 2013, he figured it would be easier.

“There’s so much pressure to do well when you’re at home,” Broussard said. “That first year, I saw them on all these bayous I know so well, and I thought this would be like taking candy from a baby. It’s not. It’s hard. All these guys are good — in the Elite Series and the Opens.”

No matter the conditions, Broussard and Henderson will swing for the fences on the Sabine.

“The last Central Open of the year is in Oklahoma in October, and that’s right after alligator season, so we won’t have much time to practice for that tournament,” Broussard said. “This is our chance to do something. I’m not predicting too much from us, but we’re going to work at it and have fun no matter what.”

Takeoff for all three days of the Bass Pro Shops Central Open No. 2 will begin at 6 a.m. CT at the City of Orange (Texas) Boat Ramp, 1000 Simmons Drive. Weigh-in will begin at 3 p.m. each day at the same location. Pros can weigh five bass and co-anglers weigh three. Each must measure at least 12 inches. The field will be cut to the Top 12 pros and an additional 12 co-anglers after the second day of competition is complete.

The winning pro will earn entry into the 2018 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods, assuming he or she competes in all three Central Opens, as well as a Skeeter boat/Yamaha motor package and cash worth approximately $50,000. The top co-angler will win a Triton boat/Mercury motor package.

Thursday
Mar242011

Texas, Louisiana Simplifying Rules for Shared Fisheries

Texas and Louisiana are about to standardize regulations for shared fisheries, including Toledo Bend, Caddo Lake, and a portion of the Sabine River.

Here’s the latest from Texas Parks and Wildlife:

ATHENS—A cooperative effort between the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF) to standardize fishing regulations on waters shared by the two states is nearing fruition.

Waters affected by the proposed agreement include Toledo Bend Reservoir, Caddo Lake and the Sabine River from Toledo Bend dam downstream to the Interstate 10 bridge. The proposal would also redefine the Toledo Bend Reservoir boundary from the U.S. Highway 84 bridge upstream to where the river and the state line diverge.

Continued