SABINE COUNTY, Texas (KTRE) - Two fishing tournaments are scheduled on lakes with ties to East Texas this weekend.
On Lake Sam Rayburn, the FLW Toyota Series kicks off at Sam Rayburn Thursday. Starting Wednesday, Louisiana hosts the BASS Nation Central Regional Tournament on Toledo Bend, but across the river in Texas, many businesses are seeing a boost.
Professional angler and Bassmasters Classic Champion Tommy Martin is scheduled to fish on Lake Sam Rayburn starting Thursday, but he says even tournaments like the one this weekend on Toledo Bend hosted by Louisiana can have an effect across the river like in Sabine County.
“Any kind of tournament is good for the economy because those people come and spend money with us,” Martin said.
Keith Nabours owns Keith’s Toledo Bend Tackle right off State Highway 21 near the Toledo Bend Reservoir. He says 80% of his business this week is because of the fishing tournament on Toledo Bend.
Martin says with tournaments he enters, it could encompass four or five days of practices and three days for the tournament.
“In eight days, a person is going to spend three or four hundred dollars apiece," Martin explained. "Say you get 350 to 450 people in the area, that’s quite a bit of money for the hotels, gas stations, and grocery stores. Everybody benefits from it.”
“But this year has been different,” Ronnie Greer said.
Greer owns and operates Holly Park Marina in northeast Sabine County. She says several tournaments were either canceled or postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“But then a lot of people, when they couldn’t do anything else, so they just came fishing," Greer said. "But the tournaments have been really good for us.”
She says with more people fishing and shopping local like at Holly Park Marina, they’ve been selling out of gear.
“We sold more tackle than we ever have," Greer said. "We couldn’t keep supplied, and it was hard to get it. We’re still having trouble with bait, rods and reel and everything is low right now because when we order, they’re out of it.” (Greer)
“Sabine County is one of the poorest counties in the whole state," Martin said. "There isn’t a lot of jobs around here. These tournaments come in and bring a lot of people. So, we get these people to come in, I think it’ll be good for the economy.”