New fishing tournament coming to Orange

Published 1:15 pm Wednesday, September 23, 2015

In 2016 the Classic Kick Off Event for The Elite Redfish Series, previously The Redfish Series with Pat Malone, will be in Orange.

“Big things are happening in Orange,” Dean Granger, co-owner of Granger Chevrolet said during a press conference at the Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday.

John Gothia made the official announcement the Yellowfin Redfish event is coming to Orange on April 7, 8, 9, and 10, 2016.

Gothia also announced Starks Cultural Venues will also sponsor the event along with the city of Orange, and Orange County.

“This is an opportunity to showcase what we have here,” Gothia said. “I know when I go fishing, my wife wants to see what other sights are available.”

Gothia said the organization for the tournament was approached two years ago and at the time was uninterested.

“After seeing what we did with the Basmaster tournament in 2013, and 2015, they called us,” Gothia said.

The two previous tournaments also helped create HB 1979 – Largemouth bass fishing:

Fishing tournaments have a significant impact on Southeast Texas by providing revenue and positive exposure to our area. However, due to the brackish nature of the Sabine River and Neches River systems it is a challenge for largemouth bass to reach the 14-inch legal size. This prevents tournament participants from being able to weigh in a full bag limit thus causing many organizers to look elsewhere to host an event. Southeast Texas has the largest high school team fishing trail in the nation. This bill was an attempt to allow those children the opportunity to fish in tournaments locally. Although HB 1979 did not become law it did prompt a vigorous and thorough study by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. They have already begun researching the waters of Southeast Texas to better understand our ecosystem. Should the data ultimately prove the lack of 14-inch bass in Southeast Texas, we could see a reduction of the slot limit for largemouth bass to 12 inches locally for everybody, not just high school and college tournaments participants. A final decision by TPWD is expected by spring 2016 according to Dade Phelan’s official website.

Phelan is Texas House Member Representative for District 21.

“This Bill could open the possibilities of a tournament every year,” Gothia said.

Part of the study for HB 1979 is a survey conducted at

“A study done in this area showed less than seven-percent of the fish were legal,” Phelan said. “The bill is in public comment now.”

The tournament will be held at the City of Orange Boat Ramp.

“It will be at the same place,” Gothia said. “Just different fish this time.”

The event will also be televised over two weekends on the Discovery Channel.

“It is a one hour long show,” Gothia said. “It will reach a different viewer audience.”