Elite Redfish’s Open Qualifier living up to name

Published 2:52 pm Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Anglers need not be professionals to compete in this week’s Elite Redfish Series’ Border Wars.

The tournament, held in conjunction with the Cajun Heritage Festival, is now open to fishermen who do not compete on a regular basis. Hence, the tournament is also called the Power Pole Open Qualifier for the Elite All-Star Tour, which will debut May 10 at a location to be announced.

Those interested are invited to register at the captain’s meeting and dinner from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Museum of the Gulf Coast, 700 Procter St., for the tournament that will launch each day Thursday-Saturday from 6-7 a.m. at Ancelet’s Marina, 7069 Rainbow Lane.

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Anyone interested in serving as a marshal for Saturday’s final weigh-in is asked to come to the dinner as well.

This is the seventh tournament in the Series (counting two kayak events) held in Port Arthur since April 2016 and the first to have weigh-ins at the Carl Parker Center at Lamar State College Port Arthur. Those will be held each day from 3-4 p.m. and are open to the public. The top five finishers will qualify for the Elite All-Star Tour, which will reveal its location April 9, so anglers can’t get any advance information on the site.

“As long as tourism [Port Arthur Convention and Visitors Bureau] sees value in having the tournament here and the amount of economic impact here, we’ll continue to fish here,” tournament organizer Pat Malone said.

This is the second Border Wars tournament in Port Arthur and the first since the June 29-July 1, 2017, event that conducted weigh-ins at the Bob Bowers Civic Center, two months after Tropical Storm Harvey impacted the facility and all of Southeast Texas.

The purse for each of the two stops on the Elite All-Star Tour is $145,000, with $60,000 and a Skeeter/Yamaha/McClain rig going to the winner. The top five anglers from Border Wars will qualify for the May tournament.

Another feature added to Border Wars is an open dice roll limited to 100 persons — anglers and fans included. During Saturday’s weigh-in, each person can roll six jumbo dice for $10, and if the Elite Redfish Series logo appears on the top of each die, that person will win a $40,000 vehicle (to be revealed later). If a person hits the logo on five dice, the prize is $5,000.

While forecasts call for rain Friday and Saturday, Malone is only concerned with the potential of heavy wind. Winds are expected to blow from the south at 8-13 mph, with gusts ranging from 14-18 mph.

“Our guys are used to inclement weather,” Malone said. “No way you’re getting two to three days of straight perfect weather. The big issue we have is wind.”

Last year’s Border Wars saw first-day action postponed for a few hours because of heavy rain in Port Arthur. Forecasts for Wednesday and Thursday call for partly cloudy skies with highs in the lower 70s.

Legal fishing areas for the tournament include Calcasieu Lake, Cameron Prairie Refuge, Sabine Wildlife Refuge, Intracoastal Waterways, and Gulf of Mexico and all Texas waters open and legal to boating and fishing. Public waters of Black Bayou/Louisiana Sabine River for navigational purposes only to the north end of the Sabine Refuge are allowed, but not for fishing.

Coverage of the 2018 Border Wars will air at a later date on Discovery Channel.

More tournament information: theredfishseries.com/wp/qualifier1

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.

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