ORANGE — Dean Rojas might have shattered expectations for the Bassmaster Elite Series Sabine River Challenge.
In a tournament many said would have record low weights, Rojas scored with an impressive bag of 15 pounds, 10-ounces.
To put that in perspective that weight would have been the fourth largest catch on day 3 at the 2013 Bassmaster Classic at Oklahoma’s Grand Lake of the Cherokees, a fishery known for producing large fish.
“Here, you have to find the right area. There is so much water, and it takes so much time. I was able to find an area that’s got them,” he said.
The multiple time Bassmaster winner was tight-lipped about his location and approach but did admit it involved a lengthy run into Louisiana.
Former Bassmaster Classic Champion and Angler of the Year Mark Davis currently stands in second place with 13-13 after a four pound first set the tone for the day.
“Things just kind of fell into place after that. I had nine keeper bites, and I did not anticipate that at all. I was pleasantly surprised. It had been a slow practice,” he said.
Rookie Hank Cherry who pulled an impressive third place at the Bassmaster Classic last month hauled in 12-11 to put him in fourth just behind Cliff Crochet who caught 13-0.
“I found some fish in the Sabine area pretty close to the ramp and was able to stick with them and put together a solid bag. I see no reason to change my game plan tomorrow,” he said.
Several anglers ran up the Neches River but found much murkier water conditions than in practice, as did some of the anglers who fished the Taylor Bayou system.
About 1/3 of the field ran the Intracoastal into Louisiana, another 1/3 were in the Taylor/Hillebrandt system, most of the rest went toward the Neches and a few stuck it out in the Sabine area.