Hats Off To Orange County


Last updated 4/13/2021 at 11:46am

Last weekend’s Bassmaster Elite tournament held out of the Orange Public

Boat Ramp could best be described as a happening. Mother Nature did her

part, every volunteer did their part and record crowds packed the park

all four days! The competition itself was entertaining enough for most, but even those

afternoon crowds were dwarfed by the number of folks that wedged in to

enjoy the concerts Friday and Saturday night. One spectator that drove in

from Houston probably best summed it up with, “I bet ninety percent of

the people here don’t know a bass from a whooping crane, but they have

been inside long enough.” While the championship was still in doubt until the final Pro climbed

out of his boat and onto the stage, there were really very few surprises

as to how they got it done. Because Louisiana waters are deemed

off-limits, it was a case of hoping that you would arrive at your spot

first and that the fish you found would last four days. Winner, Jason Christie, and second place finisher, Brock Mosely, opted early on to avoid crowded water and it obviously paid off. Their gas

bills told the tale as Mosely ran west to fish canals just outside Clear Lake and Christie made a long treacherous run north on the Sabine to exploit a remote creek. While tide changes were more of a hindrance than an ally for the entire field, Christie and Mosely roared out of the launch each morning with concerns other than simply running out of gas or catching bass. Mosely

had to cross a wide open Galveston Bay each morning in a boat not built

for those kind of waves only to hope that his return trip would not be

delayed by a barge traffic problem on the Intracoastal. Christie, on the other hand, wove his way miles up the Sabine through waters more safely traveled in a fourteen foot John boat. Shifting

sandbars and downed timber due to the hurricanes and flooding render every turn a potential game- ender. Mosely indeed felt like he had run out of fish and opted to stay closer to home the final day while Christie found his chosen spot to be six feet deeper due to both generators running on Toledo Bend. When all was said and done, less than two pounds of bass separated them. While burning copious amounts of gas is an accepted part of tournament fishing, Seth Feilder earned $19,000 for his sixth place finish and he fished close enough to the launch to smell the funnel cakes. Mosely also

stayed closer to home day four and even Christie culled a couple of bass near the weigh-in site that made a difference. His four day winning total of 43-pounds 15 ounces not only meant a

$100,000 pay day, but guaranteed him yet another shot at a Classic title. Most of the competitors in the event were as concerned with earning points as earning money. Two weeks from now they will be on Fork and expectations will be a little different. As John Cox told the overflow crowd, “The bass pull

back on Fork!” The visiting pros were quick to praise the hospitality of Orange County

folks, but the feeling was reciprocal. Whether it was signing hats or standing shoulder to shoulder at one of the concerts after a long tough day, they bonded with folks that were thrilled just to shake hands.

One look at the number of cars and trucks parked within a mile of the park each day was the earliest indication that Orange had once again broken the all-time attendance record for a Bassmaster Elite event. Congratulations to the spectators, volunteers and officials that made this one of the largest entertainment events ever hosted in Orange! Congratulations to Alan Felter who missed the final weigh-in of the tournament in order to night fish on Toledo Bend.“I know one of the guys

that finished in the top ten so it made it hard to leave,” said Felter. He felt a little better, however, about one o’clock that morning when an 11-pound 3 ounce bass inhaled his plastic frog.“I knew that fish had a

bed under the neighbor’s dock, but I had no idea she was that big,”

added Alan. After weighing and releasing her immediately, he said he was pleased to see her back on her bed the following afternoon. “There was no doubt that she hadn’t spawned yet so I hope she can finish her business!”


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