Citing recent heavy rains and high water in the Sabine River watershed, B.A.S.S. has decided to postpone the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Elite presented by Econo Lodge that had been scheduled to begin in Orange, Texas, next week.
“The safety of our anglers and others on the waters of the Sabine River system are our primary concern,” said B.A.S.S. Tournament Director Trip Weldon. “Weather and water conditions are expected to create potentially hazardous boating conditions, and we feel compelled to postpone the event until conditions are more favorable.”
The tournament originally was to begin Friday, April 6, and conclude Monday, April 9. As conditions began to deteriorate, Weldon told Elite Series anglers Thursday the tournament would be delayed at least one day. “We became convinced today that conditions would not improve in time for the tournament to be held in the coming days.”
The tournament will be rescheduled for another time during the 2018 Elite Series season, which concludes with the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship in September. Officials from B.A.S.S. and local host organizations in Orange will be meeting in the coming days to select a suitable date to reschedule the event.
B.A.S.S. has conducted Elite Series tournament at Orange twice before, in 2013 and 2015. Both generated tremendous crowds of spectators, including some of the best attendance figures in tournament history.
Local organizers were hoping to set new records next week and had planned concerts following the afternoon weigh-ins to further entertain bass fishing fans.
The Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce (GOACC) said in a statement it has been made aware of B.A.S.S.’s decision to postpone the Bassmaster Elite Tournament on the Sabine River, based on the safety of the anglers. “As a result of this decision the Orange County River Festival will also be cancelled,” it said.
Tad McKee, Chairman of the GOACC Board, stated, “This was a hard decision, but we support B.A.S.S.’s commitment to the safety of the anglers and participants. We look forward to a rescheduled tournament in the near future."