Todd Faircloth Wins at the Sabine River with 49-6

Orange, TX – It was a seesaw battle all week between Arizona’s Dean Rojas and Texas’ Todd Faircloth at the first stop of the 2013 Bassmaster Elite Series season on the Sabine River in Orange, Texas.

uRojas delivered the first blow, leading after day one with a 15-10 limit of Sabine River largemouth.   Faircloth responded on Friday, brining in a 16-8 limit to take the lead away from Rojas heading into the weekend.  Rojas took the lead back on Saturday, and entered championship Sunday with a lead of just over three-and-a-half pounds over Faircloth.

On Sunday, Rojas’ fish never fired while Faircloth methodically put together an impressive limit.  With a final day limit weighing 14-9 to boost his total weight to 49-6, the Texan claimed his fourth Elite Series title in convincing fashion, outdistancing 2nd place finisher, Dean Rojas, by 6 pounds, 10 ounces.

Despite weighing in only one five bass limit over the course of the four tournament days, Terry Scroggins finished in 3rd place after crossing the stage with three bass weighing 9-11 on Sunday for a total weight of 41-1.

Ish Monroe and Bill Lowen, the only two angers in the field to weigh-in a five bass limit all four days, finished in 4th and 5th place, respectively.

The 5 Final Day Facts from the Sabine River:
Tournament: Bassmaster Elite Series (March 14-17)
Location:  Sabine River – Orange, Texas
Winner:  Todd Faircloth (10-7, 16-8, 7-14, 14-9: 49-6)
12th place weight: Dennis Tietje (31-5)
Total weight separating 1st place from 12th place: (18-1)

1st Place: Todd Faircloth (10-7, 16-8, 7-14, 14-9: 49-6)
What were your expectations heading into the day?
“I had been watching the weights that all three of the guys (Dean Rojas, Jeff Kriet, and Alton Jones) were catching out of one area.  All three of those guys were catching around 9-pounds, and Dean (Rojas) had over 15-pounds one day.

“Normally when you’re splitting fish up like that out of one area, it will catch up to you sooner or later.   The one thing that I had going for me was that I had one area all to myself.”

Todd FairclothWhat was your primary pattern throughout the week?
“You couldn’t see the bottom or see the fish, but I’m pretty sure that they were spawning bass.  When they would hit that Caffeine shad, I don’t think that every one of them was on a bed, but I think that quite a few were.

“When I missed one on the Caffeine shad, I had the Ocho rigged and ready and I’d immediately pitch it right back in there.  I probably caught five or six fish that I weighed-in doing that over the course of the tournament.

“I was fishing a bayou off of Taylor’s that was off of a bayou that led into a big bay.  It flattened out and that’s where I was fishing.  It was probably about a ¾ mile long stretch that was 400 or 500 yards wide.  It was a vast, open stretch and the fish were scattered throughout.

“I paid really close attention to my GPS, and I would mark waypoints where I caught fish.  I used a different trail every day to expand my area, and I would also follow the trails where I had caught fish.”

What were your primary baits and tactics?
“I caught the majority of my fish this week on a Strike King KVD Perfect Plastic 5” Swim’n Caffeine Shad in Double Header Red and Watermelon Red Clear Sparkle. Today, I caught every one of my bass on the Swim’n Caffeine Shad.

“I Texas-rigged the Caffeine Shad with a 1/16-ounce weight with 30-pound-test Sunline braid and a Castaway 7’ Mag Heavy series rod and Shimano Chronarch reel.

“The only time that I’d put it down was if a fish would hit the bait and miss it.  Then I’d pick up a 5” Strike King Ocho in Double Header color Texas-rigged on a 1/8-ounce weight and pitch back in there.”

Todd Faircloth

Was there a key moment for you during the tournament?
“On the second day of the tournament when I caught the big sack, I went further back in my area than I had on the first day.  I caught a big one and I caught two more keepers back there.  There was a lot more water to fish back there, so yesterday I started where I had been starting but I sped through the area.

“I got to the back and all I caught were little ones.  I realized that I really needed to slow down, and that’s what I did today.  That was a big deal, and I was able to focus on the areas that held the bigger fish.”

How would you assess your decision making and execution on the water?
“I won this tournament on the third day of practice when I decided to go back through the area that I ended up winning in.  I fished through the area on the first day of practice and it was muddy and cold.  I only caught three or four little ones, but I went back in there on the last practice day because it looked so good.

“The water had cleared up and I had eight bites in a couple of hours.  My confidence level skyrocketed after that.”

2nd Place: Dean Rojas (15-10, 10-14, 11-14, 4-6: 42-12)
What was the biggest key to success this week on the Sabine River?
“I thought that this weather was going to really help me out and key me in on what I needed to do, but they just didn’t bite today.  I really don’t know what happened.  It could have been the fishing pressure and the result of unsportsmanlike conduct by one other angler.

“That one area was all that I had going, so I did the best that I could do to manage the area.  I did the right thing; I just didn’t get the bites today.”

What was your primary pattern throughout the week?
“I had a 50/50 deal going on all week.  I was catching some fish pitching a Big Bite Baits Fighting Frog in and around the wood, and I was also catching them on a squarebill crankbait.

“I got the quality bites on the squarebill.  That’s one thing that the other guys weren’t throwing in the area, and that was what separated me.  The fish that I caught on that bait were good ones.  You could catch a lot of 14-inchers on a worm or soft plastic, but I wanted to win, so I thought that the crankbait was what I needed to be throwing.”

What were your primary baits and tactics?
“I was using a Big Bite Baits Fighting Frog in Sapphire Blue. I Texas-rigged the Fighting Frog on a 4/0 Gamakatsu SuperLine hook, 20-pound-test Sunline, and a medium/heavy Quantum Exo rod and Quantum Exo reel. I also caught some of my better ones on a squarebill crankbait.”

3rd Place: Terry Scroggins (9-11, 14-10, 7-1, 9-11: 41-1)
What was the biggest key to success this week on the Sabine River?
“It would have to be just being persistent.  I went up in the Calcasieu River and it was muddy and a grind.  I just put my head down and kept going and going.  When you launch from the Sabine, it’s a 140 mile round trip and time is against you.  When you’re not getting as many bites, you just had to keep moving forward.

“I was also fortunate to catch a big fish three out of the four days and that goes a long way in a tournament like this.”

What was your primary pattern throughout the week?
“I was flipping whatever was available and whatever I saw along the bank.”

What were your primary baits and tactics? 
“I was flipping a YUM Wooly Bug with a 5/16-ounce weight.  I dropped down to a Duckett 7’3” Heavy Action rod this week.  Most of the fish would really hammer the bait when they hit, but a few hit it really light and I didn’t want to pull it away from them so I downsized just a little bit.”

4th Place: Ish Monroe (11-3, 10-9, 9-15, 8-5: 40-0)
What was the biggest key to success this week on the Sabine River?
“I found a wad of fish.  I literally found a bayou that nobody touched and I never burned a full tank of gas all week.  Never saw another person except for five minutes the first day and five minutes the second day.  I just had a little area that was holding a ton of bass. I averaged between 12 to 15 keepers each day.”

What was your primary pattern throughout the week?
“I stayed in one area and caught them a bunch of different ways.  I was flipping a lot of alligator grass and whatever I came across on the bank.  I also caught some on a spinnerbait and a frog.”

What were your primary baits and tactics? 
“I caught some fish on Ish’s Phat Frog and a River2Sea Bling spinnerbait.  When I was flipping, I Texas-rigged either a Missile Baits D Bomb with a ¼-ounce River2Sea tungsten weight or a Missile Baits Missile Craw with a 1-ounce River2Sea Trash Bomb.”

5th Place: Bill Lowen (9-0, 9-4, 9-1, 10-14: 38-3)  
What was the biggest key to success this week on the Sabine River?
“The key for me was staying close.  I never do well when I have to run far and fish fast, so I practiced where I could stay l close during the tournament.  I don’t think that I burned an entire tank of gas during practice and the tournament.  You can see the entrance to the area where I fished from the launch ramp.

“I just got in an area and ground it out.  Every hour I’d just try to figure out what the deal was.”

What was your primary pattern throughout the week?
“I was flipping the bank, but the area where I was fishing had scattered milfoil and hydrilla.  I was catching my fish between the shore and the edge of the grass line depending on what the tide was doing.  The tide got really low today and I was fortunate enough to catch three off of beds.”

What were your primary baits and tactics? 
“The key baits for me this week were a TightLines UV Tube in green pumpkin and a 4” Power Hawg in green pumpkin.  In practice, the key colors were black/blue and black neon.  My water cleared up tremendously during the tournament and they started eating the green pumpkin color really well.”

6th Place: Bobby Lane (9-15, 7-0, 9-13, 8-7: 35-3)
What was the biggest key to success this week on the Sabine River?
“The tide started playing a factor on the second and third day.  The first day was easy because I went to my area where I got bites in practice and caught them quickly.  When the tide started coming in, I’d catch them late.  You had to run to find the clearer water, and that was also the key to my success.”

What was your primary pattern throughout the week?
“A lot of areas were dirty where I was fishing, but if you ran all the way to the back you started to get into some cleaner water. There was hyacinth mats and logs and I think that the fish were spawning.  A lot of the fish were on the backside of the mats sitting on a piece of cane or a log.”

What were your primary baits and tactics? 
“I used three different baits this week.  When I’d come to a decent sized laydown, I’d flip a Berkley HAVOC Craw Fatty in either black/blue or green pumpkin.  When I was fishing a thick mat, I’d flip a Berkley HAVOC Rocket Craw in Bama Bug.  When I was just covering water, I flipped a 3” Berkley Chigger Craw in Green Pumpkin Blue, green pumpkin, or sapphire.”

7th Place: Jeff Kriet  (10-13, 10-9, 9-0, 4-10: 35-0)
What was the biggest key to success this week on the Sabine River?
“The biggest thing for me this week was location, location, location. The key was water clarity, and finding that little bit cleaner water was the deal here for me this week on the Sabine.  The tides were really a big deal as well, getting enough time to fish the right tide was crucial and I didn’t get that opportunity today.”

What was your primary pattern throughout the week?
“I was fishing a natural bayou off of the main river, just basically fishing shallow and targeting anything that looked good.”

What were your primary baits and tactics?
Big Bite Baits YoMoma (Green Pumpkin), Soft Plastic Craw (Green Pumpkin)

8th Place: Alton Jones  (7-10, 10-0, 11-9, 3-6: 32-9)
What was the biggest key to success this week on the Sabine River?
“The key to my week was my timing on day one.  On day one I decided to start in a different area and didn’t make the decision to make a move to my key spot until later in the day.  I really would have liked to have had that first few hours on day one,  the morning was really critical in that area because of the tide. But moving to that area was the reason I was able to do well in this event.”

What was your primary pattern throughout the week?
“I was flipping a YUM Wooly Bug, and casting a YUM Dinger weightless all week to anything that looked good in that backwater area.”

What were your primary baits and tactics?
YUM DInger (Watermelon Candy), YUM Wooly Bug (Green Pumpkin-Purple Fleck)

9th Place: Mark Davis  (13-13, 8-6, 8-0, 2-3: 32-6)
What was the biggest key to success this week on the Sabine River?
“I just put my head down and fished this week.  Instead of wasting a bunch of time running around I just decided to stick to my little area close and make the best of it.  I knew that I probably couldn’t win in this area, but that I could do pretty good and that is what happened.”

What was your primary pattern throughout the week?
“I was targeting any wood or grass in the area, and trying to adjust my baits and presentations each day to make the most of the fish that I had found during practice.”

What were your primary baits and tactics?
Strike King Sexy Frog (Black), Strike King Ocho (Junebug),  Strike King Gamehog (Junebug), Strike King Tube, Strike King Bitsy Flip Jig

10th Place: Brandon Card  (8-6, 9-1, 9-10, 4-19: 31-10)
What was the biggest key to success this week on the Sabine River?
“Finding the backwater pond that I ended up having to myself this week was my key to success.  Being able to fish slow and pick the entire area apart each day was a big deal.”

What was your primary pattern throughout the week?
“I was just basically flipping and pitching to every little piece of cover that looked good.  The water was actually really muddy, so being able to fish slow and make several presentations was key.  I did have several big ones on a buzzbait this week as well, so I was able to cover some water with that”

What were your primary baits and tactics?
Berkley Chigger Craw (Green Pumpkin), Zoom Baby Brush Hog (Junebug), Unnamed Buzzbait

11th Place: Mike McClelland  (9-6, 8-14, 9-11, 3-9: 31-8)
What was the biggest key to success this week on the Sabine River?
“The key for me this week was taking a gamble, and putting in the hard work that was necessary.  Jeff Kriet and I drove for 2 1/2 hours to put in at the back end of the creek I ended up fishing, and it gave me an alternative to fishing some of the other areas that were getting more pressure.”

What was your primary pattern throughout the week?
“I was just flipping everything in the little creek I was fishing, keying in on primarily stuff along the bank.  I had one key little canal that didn’t have to much cover, but a lot of dead palm leaves had blown down in the water and that is where I caught most of my fish.”

What were your primary baits and tactics?
War Eagle Finesse Spinnerbait (Chartreuse/White),  Bass-X Flipping Jig,  Zoom Super Speed Craw, Zoom Z Hawg

12th Place: Dennis Tietje  (2-14, 13-5, 11-8, 3-10: 31-5)
What was the biggest key to success this week on the Sabine River?
“My attitude and keeping an open mind was the key to my success this week.  Knowing that the weights would be low, I knew that even though I had a bad first day that I could overcome it if I just kept my head in the game.  Having that confidence with the local knowledge and experience also helped a bunch.”

What was your primary pattern throughout the week?
“I was flipping soft plastics most of the time, but I did throw that crankbait out on the main river some and was able to catch that five pounder, which was a gift.”

What were your primary baits and tactics?
Strike King KVD 1.5, Various Soft Plastics, Spinnerbait

 

FINAL STANDINGS

 

Place Pro Angler Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Total Fish Total Weight
Fish Weight Fish Weight Fish Weight Fish Weight
1 Todd Faircloth 5 10- 7 5 16- 8 4 7-14 5 14- 9 19 49- 6
2 Dean Rojas 5 15-10 5 10-14 5 11-14 1 4- 6 16 42-12
3 Terry Scroggins 3 9-11 5 14-10 3 7- 1 3 9-11 14 41- 1
4 Ishama Monroe 5 11- 3 5 10- 9 5 9-15 5 8- 5 20 40- 0
5 Bill Lowen 5 9- 0 5 9- 4 5 9- 1 5 10-14 20 38- 3
6 Bobby Lane 5 9-15 4 7- 0 5 9-13 5 8- 7 19 35- 3
7 Jeff Kriet 5 10-13 5 10- 9 5 9- 0 2 4-10 17 35- 0
8 Alton Jones 5 7-10 5 10- 0 5 11- 9 2 3- 6 17 32- 9
9 Mark Davis 5 13-13 4 8- 6 5 8- 0 1 2- 3 15 32- 6
10 Brandon Card 5 8- 6 5 9- 1 5 9-10 1 4- 9 16 31-10
11 Mike McClelland 5 9- 6 4 8-14 4 9-11 2 3- 9 15 31- 8
12 Dennis Tietje 1 2-14 5 13- 5 5 11- 8 2 3-10 13 31- 5