We’re guessing Google maps saw a rush after the Elite Series put the Sabine River on the schedule. I know I had to look it up.
Making things more interesting is the fact that there has never been a Major event held there … or a Minor event … or even a Regional event that we have in our system.
Considering our series “Data Overload” relies on us using our database of stats to figure out who really are the favorites at any given event, you might think we’re S.O.L. for this event. And you’d be wrong. We have a few tricks up our sleeve.
Are you ready? Then let’s start crunching.
First, a quick geography lesson. The Sabine River’s lower end (where the tournament will be held) forms the border between Texas and Louisiana. You know what else is on that border? Toledo Bend Reservoir. The Sabine is that fishery’s major river system. Of course, that does little good for picking favorites as the river and the reservoir are almost entirely different. So it’s more just a cool fact. More relevant, there’s another river system not too far away. Maybe you’ve heard of it. The Red River. The Sabine also has an influx of saltwater just like another well-known fishery nearby — the Louisiana Delta.
Obviously, the Sabine River will produce its own unique set of circumstances, but seeing who has done well at the 10 combined events since the year 2000 at the Red River and Louisiana Delta sure is a good place to start looking for favorites.
And wouldn’t you know it, an Oklahoma angler known for his skills with a flipping stick and fishing rivers leads the way. Tommy Biffle has an 827.444 average on the two fisheries, which is not surprising considering he lives right near the Arkansas River.
Next up is a local Texas angler, Todd Faircloth with a 790.572. Faircloth’s last three river events — he won at the Mississippi River, finished second at the St. Johns River and finished ninth at the Red River. Me thinks there is a pattern there with him, rivers and top 10s.
Pretty sure most people didn’t need us to tell them two of the next four anglers with good averages are favorites in nearly any tournament, but Kevin VanDam (750.190) and Edwin Evers (702.213) both have excelled on the two fisheries. Sandwiched between them is Kenyon Hill and Scott Rook, who are probably not on as many fantasy fishermen’s radars, but their 729.697 and 710.085 averages says they should be.
Some other pros you may want to consider for your lineup include Davy Hite (691.921), Skeet Reese (687.951), Mike McClelland (686.105), Paul Elias (683.059), Michael Iaconelli (658.486), David Walker (652.670) and Gerald Swindle (651.703).
Meanwhile, many may be tempted to pick Ish Monroe for this event, but he has struggled mightily at the Red River and Louisiana Delta, only posting a 295.597 average. May also want to steer clear of Kotaro Kiriyama (316.925) and Denny Brauer (391.868).