By John Johnson
BassFan Senior Editor
Brock Mosley had to endure some heartbreaks before achieving his first Bassmaster Elite Series win. It's appropriate that the Mississippian's initial victory occurred at a venue where a 10-pound daily average is worthy of high acclaim.
"I kind of grew up fishing those types of tournaments, so mentally, I'm used to it," said Mosley, who triumphed at recent Sabine River event in Texas after logging five 2nd-place finishes in 7-plus years on the trail. Ross Barnett (Reservoir) is like that at certain times of the year and the Tom Bigbee River is like that a lot of times.
"I never caught a 20-pound stringer by myself until I made the Elite Series. Where I grew up, usually 13 or 14 pounds a day was really strong."
Mosley's bags on both the opening and the closing day were an ounce short of the 10-pound mark. In between, he caught stringers that weighed 11-07 and 12-14 for a 44-03 total that eclipsed runner-up Clark Wendlandt by almost 3 pounds.
He was his third strong showing at the Sabine in as many outings – he placed 2nd in 2021 and 12th in 2018.
"Just putting my head down and fishing was the biggest key," he said. "There aren't many secrets on the Sabine and I knew I wasn't going to have much to myself.
"Every year somebody catches a 4 1/2-pounder or bigger that puts them in contention and any cast can be a game-changers. I just had to keep telling myself that."
Just such a fish anchored his Day-3 bag, which was his heaviest of the tournament. It was his fifth fish of the morning and inhaled an old Rebel Pop-R topwater offering that's been in his arsenal for many years.
He used that well-seasoned plug to start each day, working it around some cage-like structures not far from the takeoff that are used for barge maintenance.
"It's probably 300 yards long and it's got rails that run both vertical and horizontal," he said. "There was a ton of fish there – I was catching 30 a day for the first 3 days. There was a lot of mullet and crab in there and it was just a really healthy area."
He said the strikes were somewhat subdued compared to standard surface-bait action.
"They'd come up from 7 or 8 feet and just kind of suck it under," he said. "You wouldn't really see anything or even feel it. It was a very unique bite."
That tactic would peter out by about 7:30 a.m., so he'd switch to a 4-inch Senko on a powershot rig with a 6-inch leader.
He also had a "big fish" area in Taylor Bayou, which required a long run to the south. It gave him his two best fish on Day 1 and a couple of culls on Day 2. He caught half a dozen fish there on the third day, but none helped him, and he was able to avoid the trip on the final day by catching almost 10 pounds near the launch.
At that locale, he Texas-rigged the Senko and flipped it to vegetation (mostly lily pads).
"In 2018 I caught a 6-03 there and another one that was almost 5," he said. "It's my favorite area for just going fish on the Sabine system. I've caught a lot of good ones over there and I know what lives there."
The win moved him up 20 places (47th to 27th) on the Angler of the Year points list. He said it won't alter the way he approaches the final three events of the campaign.
Still to come are derbies at Lake St. Clair and the St. Lawrence River, which are venues where he's posted 2nd-place finishes.
"It's not like I'm comfortably in the Classic at this point (the Top 40 on the final points list are assured berths)," he said. "I didn't approach this one any different; I just did my normal thing and it just so happened that I came out on top.
"I just know that I'm looking forward to going up north and catching some smallmouth."
For the Pop-R, Mosley used a 6'8" medium-action Ark Invoker Series rod, an Ark Gravity 5 casting reel (7.3:1 ratio) and 50-pound P-Line braid.
The powershot setup featured a 7'6" medium-heavy rod from the same line, the same reel, 17-pound P-Line fluorocarbon, a 14-ounce weight and a 2/0 Trokar EWG worm hook.
For the Texas rig, he used a 7'3" medium-heavy Invoker rod, a Gravity 7 reel (8.3:1), a 2/0 Trokar EWG hook and a 1/4-ounce weight.