Jasper bass pro wins Sabine River tournament

Bass pro Todd Faircloth of Jasper holds up the trophy.

The Sabine River on the Texas/Louisiana border was the scene of some serious bass fishing this past weekend, and in the end Jasper bass fishing pro Todd Faircloth won with a four-day total of 49 pounds, 6 ounces and took home a $100,000 check. He bested second-place finisher Dean Rojas by 6 pounds, 10 ounces.

The tournament was held out of Orange and a record BASS tournament crowd was on hand to see the pros bring in their best catches of bass from the Sabine River.

This was the first tournament of its kind to be held on the Sabine, which has excellent numbers of bass. In fact, it’s not unusual to catch upward of 50 or so bass a day on the stretch of the Sabine River that flows from the Toledo Bend dam and on down to Sabine Lake.

“It means a lot to me to win here,” said Faircloth. “I won one in Texas in Amistad, but that’s not real close to my home. Winning here in front of my home crowd is special. I’ve got a lot of family and friends here, and a lot of people I grew up fishing with and against.”

Faircloth’s win — his fourth Bassmaster Elite Series title and second in Texas — was a victory in a four-day tug-of-war with Rojas, according to Cara Clark with BASS.

“Rojas led the first day, then Faircloth took the lead away from him on day two,” said Clark. “The third day, Rojas got it back and led Faircloth by 3 pounds, 9 ounces. But Faircloth pulled away on day four by weighing a 14-9 limit, easily getting the best of Rojas, who had a single fish Sunday that weighed 4 pounds, 6 ounces.”

On day four, Rojas had problems putting keeper bass in the live well. He finished with 42-12, ahead of Terry Scroggins with 41-1. Ish Monroe was fourth with 40 pounds, and Bill Lowen was fifth with 38-3.

“With 3 pounds, 9 ounces to make up and overtake Rojas on Sunday, Faircloth made an important correction: He slowed down and focused on the areas that seemed to hold the better fish,” said Clark. “One advantage Faircloth had was that Rojas was sharing water with two other anglers, while he had an area to himself.”

Faircloth targeted fish in an area he described as a “bayou off a bayou” off the Taylor River.

“It was a flat, bay-like area 3/4-mile long and 400 to 500 yards wide,” said Dave Precht, with BASS. “ He worked that same area back and forth for four days. Most of the fish were probably on spawning beds, but he couldn’t actually see the beds.”

“It’s a vast, wide-open area, and the fish were scattered throughout it,” said Faircloth. “I marked my trails on my GPS, and if I didn’t get bit, I wouldn’t work that trail again.”

The top lures for Faircloth varied from a jerkbait to a stickworm. He said he caught most of his fish on a 5-inch Strike King Swim’n Caffeine Shad soft jerkbait. He alternated between pearl-blue/glimmer-back and watermelon-red color patterns. He used a 1/16-ounce weight to Texas rig the bait. But if he missed a hookup on a hit, he grabbed a rod rigged with a 5-inch Strike King Ocho stickworm in the double-header color, also Texas rigged but with a 1/8-ounce weight. He was able to keep the Ocho in the strike zone longer to get the missed fish, he said.

Big bass of the tourney weighed 6 pounds, 1 ounce. The best five bass limit was caught by Faircloth and weighed 16 pounds, 8 ounces.