PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

March 14, 2013

OUTDOORS COLUMN: Sabine River Challenge starts Thursday

Chester Moore, Jr.
The Port Arthur News

ORANGE — It starts today.



   The top competitive fishermen in the world compete in the Bassmaster Elite Series “Sabine River Challenge” out of the City of Orange Boat Ramp at Simmons Drive.



    And when I say the top anglers in the world I mean 2013 Bassmaster Classic Champion Cliff Pace, 2012 Champion Chris Lane, 4-time Classic Winner Kevin VanDam, 4-time Classic winner Rick Clunn, plus other Classic winners and popular anglers like Mike Iaconelli, Shaw Grigsby, Gerald Swindle, Skeet Reese, Alton Jones and Tommy Biffle as well as promising new blood like Brandon Palaniuk.



    Those guys will essentially have six-seven hours (depending on where they fish) to locate and execute a game plan to catch five of the best fish they can find. They do not necessarily have to be monster bass but legal-sized ones that are biggest they can catch.



    And the limits are anywhere on public water they can fish so the Sabine, Calcasieu and Neches River systems are open as well as gigantic stretches of marsh and the Taylor Bayou system.



    There are rumors of anglers making even longer runs and with the Intracoastal Canal in the mix, anything could happen when the prize is $100,000 and a guaranteed berth in the 2014 Bassmaster Classic. In the past anglers have run more than two hours one way to find fish.



    “We’re excited to compete here at the Sabine River Challenge. It’s going to be an interesting tournament since no one really has a home field advantage and we have a giant maze of water to fish. But that is what we do,” said Kevin VanDam.



    “This field of competitors is the best in the world and we will find the fish.”



    The event is put on by B.A.S.S. and the title sponsor is Stark Cultural Venues.



    “By partnering with B.A.S.S., we welcome the opportunity to not only showcase the scenic waterways around Orange, Texas, as a natural resource, but also the opportunity to highlight the educational and cultural resources provided by the Stark Foundation through its STARK Cultural Venues,” said Walter Riedel, president and CEO of the Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation.



    The mission of STARK Cultural Venues is to bring enriching and educational resources to southeastern Texas through four venues: Stark Museum of Art, Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center, The W.H. Stark House and Lutcher Theater.



    Several of the venues are planning special events during the tournament days including a laser light spectacle set to the music of Queen at the Lutcher Theater Friday evening.



     In addition, the City of Orange will present its annual Art in the Park on March 16 at Stark Park in downtown, just a few blocks from the Elite site.  



The Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce will sponsor live music on March 15 and March 16, as well as a festival and carnival, March 14-17, within the Bassmaster Elite Series Expo, which in and of itself is worth checking out due to the sponsor booths and opportunities to meet some of the pros.



     We will be there giving out free copies of the new Real Outdoors of Southeast Texas magazine and I will have a booth for a new project I am launching called “Local Lunker”.



    We are proud to have had the best coverage with exclusive interviews with the pros for the last six months and will continue to bring you coverage throughout and after the event.



    Check our website for special updates, tournament standings and other information on the biggest outdoors related event to ever hit Southeast Texas.



    See you at the weigh-in.



(To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at cmooreoutdoors@gmail.com. You can hear him on “Moore Outdoors” Fridays from 6-7 p.m. and listen online at www.klvi.com. Watch his F.L.E.X. Fishing WebTV series at www.Godsoutdoors.com.)