Sun after the rain: Christian rises before sun sets at Border Wars

Published 8:33 pm Thursday, June 29, 2017

Thursday was hardly a dog day of summer.

The dogs, though, came out along with their owners and other Elite Redfish Series fans to the Bob Bowers Civic Center parking lot as the sun started its descent. It shone on The Woodlands’ David Christian, who along with wife Susan is the proud owner of Gizmo, a Shih Tzu.

Hours after it rained cats and dogs in the area, Christian hauled in a three-fish bag of 27.05 to take over the first-day lead of Border Wars. He’s 3.08 ahead of Travis Land of Seguin.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Christian was second to Victoria’s Mark Robinson in February’s Elite Redfish Series Classic in Port Arthur. He averaged better than 9 pounds per fish in his return.

“Number one, a 9-pound fish is an incredible get,” Christian said. “The just don’t come often. It’s been an incredible year for fishing. The fish are real fat.”

(Watch an interview of Christian here.)

But hours after catching his first 9-pounder, he caught two more similar to that as the deadline approached.

“Conditions just improved, and I shifted to spot I had known about for years with about 7 minutes left to see what could happen, and it did,” he said.

Still, he thinks he could have had his bag by 10 a.m. had the heavy rain not come, adding that sight fishing was hard to do Thursday.

Early-morning rain in Port Arthur pushed the launching of the boats from Ancelet’s Marina from 6 to 10:30 a.m. and moved the weigh-ins 3 hours behind into the early evening. The second and third days of the tournament are still scheduled for a 6 a.m. launch from Ancelet’s with the weigh-ins set for 3 p.m., as a forecast calls for partly cloudy skies and a 20 percent chance of rain with a high of 88 degrees.

“The storms changed my game plan a little bit because the storms were still around and I couldn’t see in the small ponds that I was in,” Land said. “A later start actually helped me because once the sun got higher in the sky, I could see a little better.”

But only 13 of the 20 anglers weighed in Thursday, as many didn’t catch their desired big bags.

“We went through thunderstorms and couldn’t launch, blowing 30 and 40 miles,” Christian said. “It started getting better. … It was a bunch of casting in areas that had some good fish but just not lots of big fish. You just had to set there and grind them out. They weren’t feeding.”

Border Wars is different from most tournaments because no boundaries exist for the event. Anglers can fish anywhere in Texas or Louisiana waters, but any redfish brought for weigh-ins must be within 20 to 28 inches in length, per Texas law and tournament regulations.

Land was the third angler to weigh in Thursday and held the lead for just a few minutes. Kevin Broussard was right after Land and nearly overtook him, coming in at 23.54.

Christian did warn Friday and Saturday could be a completely different day for all fishermen.

“You just have to grind all the way until the last minute,” he said. “You have to use every minute to get it done because you don’t know when it’s going to go off. I went from one fish to three fish in 7 minutes.”

I.C. Murrell: 721-2435. Twitter: @ICMurrellPANews

About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

email author More by I.C.