Big Bass anglers return to the Sabine in 2023
Last updated 9/6/2022 at 4:20pm
The professionals are returning to Orange to show us their big basses.
The Bassmaster Elite schedule for 2023 has the anglers returning to the Orange Boat Ramp June 1-4 to fish the Sabine River. It will be the fifth time in 10 years the professional tour has come to Orange.
In April 2021, the tournament and Sabine River Festival here drew 41,000 during four days. Orange has set Bassmaster attendance records, or come close to breaking other ones, ever since the first one was held here in March 2013.
The professional anglers come to Orange in their bright-colored boats and pickup trucks covered in sponsorship logos. The anglers vie for tens of thousands of dollars in prize money.
The Bassmasters organization said about Orange, "Anglers's skills will be on display for enthusiastic fans as they weigh-in among a festival-like atmosphere featuring some of the largest crowds the Elite Series has ever seen."
Orange County and the city of Orange have used hotel occupancy tax money to help pay to attract the tournament here. The Stark Foundation and local businesses have also helped. According to Bassmaster, the 2021 tournament generated $2.5 million for local businesses.
The city and the county have not announced their allocations for the 2022-23 hotel occupancy tax funds to know how much will be invested this year.
The tournament brings the Bassmaster organization's personnel, along with the professional anglers with their crews and families, to stay in local hotels. They also buy gas and fuel, plus eat in restaurants and shop.
The Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce, which also sponsors the tournaments, holds a festival at the Boat Ramp. The festival usually includes carnival rides, food trucks, beverage booths, games, and family-oriented activities. Live entertainers perform concerts after the daily weigh-ins for the anglers.
The city of Orange built a covered pavilion with stage for events at the Sabine River and it was used at the 2021 Bassmaster Elite.
More information about the local event will be released later.
Bassmasters Elite in 2023 will have nine events in seven states. The tournament circuit year will begin February 16 at Lake Okeechobee in Florida. The nine-event circuit will end with on the St. Lawrence River in Clayton, New York, on August 24-27.