Low weights and high hopes

ORANGE, Texas — Despite 13 Elite Series anglers failing to catch a single 14-inch bass and another 27 boating only one, everybody expects he's still got a shot at the Sabine River Challenge $100,000 first-place check.

Sure, Dean Rojas seems like a favorite after Thursday since he managed a five-bass limit weighing 15 pounds, 10 ounces. Mark Davis (13-13) and Cliff Crochet (13-0) are in great shape too.

But no one is confident about repeating anything on this river system.

“I just need catch five [Friday],” said Rojas, who had the day's big bass weighing 5-15. “That big one was a gift. It's hard to say what it's going to take to win this tournament.”

Davis knew he'd found some good fish during the three practice days on the Sabine, but he didn't expect 13 pounds on Day One, and he doesn't think it will take that to make the 12-man cut for Sunday's final.

“I think an average of 12 pounds a day is going to be a pretty tall order,” Davis said. “It could take less than that.”

The story on the Sabine so far this week has been: So many options, so few 14-inch bass, so many short fish and a maze of shallow obstacles in the way.