|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2004-01-26                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than 13 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [LH&KE]
Jan. 26, 2004
New Rod-and-Reel Record Blue Catfish at TFFC
ATHENS, Texas – The 121-pound 'cat' is now out of the bag. Cody Mullennix of Howe caught a new rod and reel record blue catfish from Lake Texoma on Jan. 16. The leviathan weighed 121 pounds, 8 ounces, and was 58 inches in length, shattering the previous Texas rod and reel record of 100 pounds also caught from Lake Texoma in 2000. Mullennix was fishing from the bank with a surf rod and 20-pound test line using 3-inch shad for bait when he caught the giant fish.
"I've been waiting for this fish for a while. It was a total just excited, different state of mind when I saw it," said Mullennix, who's been fishing catfish for 10 years, (since he was 17). "There was something about the blue (catfish) that grabbed a hold of me and I stuck with it," (and he means that both figuratively and literally). How exactly did he "reel in" a fish that large? "I guess I gave it everything I could to get it over the ledge. I kept it out there in 10-12 inches of water and kept pouring water over it. I was too scared to put it on a stringer, or out in the water."
Mullennix donated the fish to the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens, where it is doing just fine, according to hatchery manager Jim Matthews. To be considered for a world record by the International Game Fish Association, a fish cannot contain any foreign objects that could alter its weight. X-rays taken at the TFFC gave the catfish a clean bill of health.
The catfish is acclimating to its new environment and is being treated for stress--standard procedure for new fish at TFFC. Currently the fish is isolated in its own tank and responding well to treatment. Visitors are able to view the catfish during the regularly scheduled tram tour Tuesday-Friday at 11:30 a.m., Saturday at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. and Sunday 2:30 p.m. Guided walking tours to see the fish before it is moved to a permanent display area are scheduled at 10 a.m., 1 and 3 p.m. TFFC exhibits coordinator Genie Hilton hopes to move the catfish to its permanent display quarters in about two weeks.
Mullennix has two sons, ages 3 and 6 who sometimes accompany him when he fishes.
"They were real excited. They've been out there with me. It gives you great enjoyment when you do catch these fish and its quality time being out there -- there's nothing bothering you. There's nothing in the world like it. It's something every kid should learn to enjoy."
The Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center is an innovative aquatic nature center and hatchery complex operated by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department located 75 miles SE of Dallas on FM 2495 four miles east of Athens.
Attractions include 300,000 gallons of aquariums, daily dive show and on-site fishing. Hours are Tues.-Sat. 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and Sunday 1-4 p.m. Admission is as follows: adults $5.50, seniors $4.50, children ages 4-12, $3.50. For information, visit the Web (http://tpwd.texas.gov/) and click on fishing or call the Center at (903) 676-2277.

[ Note: This item is more than 13 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [SL]
Jan. 26, 2004
TPWD Preparing for Third Crab Trap Cleanup
AUSTIN, Texas – Hoping to add to the pile of almost 12,000 lost and abandoned crab traps hauled from Texas bays during the last two years, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials are gearing up for another round of cleanups, this time on Feb. 20-29.
Volunteers are needed to assist in the coast-wide effort to remove the many thousands of wire mesh cages used to catch crabs that have been lost or abandoned since last year's cleanup.
State game wardens pick up more than 2,500 traps annually, yet there are many more still in the water to foul shrimpers' nets, snag fishermen's lines and create an unsightly view of Texas shores. During the past two year's efforts, traps from Galveston Bay and San Antonio Bay accounted for almost 8,000 traps collected along the coast.
Prior to the 77th Legislature of Texas authorizing an abandoned crab trap removal program, only the trap's owner or a TPWD game warden could legally remove a crab trap. To address this again in 2004, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission voted last November to close crabbing with traps in Texas waters for 10 days beginning on the third Friday of February each year, which this year will be from Feb. 20-29, to remove abandoned crab traps.
"Hurricane Claudette caused some problems for crabbers along the middle coast last summer and there are a lot of traps that need to be removed. These traps can cause a host of problems from tangling shrimp trawls and propellers to creating simple marine debris," Art Morris, TPWD trap cleanup coordinator, explained. "Not to mention the loss of organisms wasted each year due to the ghost fishing effects of these traps."
Different from past cleanups, as a result of SB 607 passed last legislative session, on the first day of the closure any crab trap left in the water will be defined as litter and can be removed by anyone. All traps picked up as litter must be disposed of properly and cannot be reused.
TPWD will be facilitating volunteer trap removal efforts on Saturday, Feb. 21 at 14 locations coast-wide, weather permitting. In case of inclement weather, the event will be postponed until the next available weekend day, but cannot occur after Feb.29. Last year, 494 volunteers and 152 vessels participated in the cleanup along with numerous sponsors.
"This program is a strong indication of the wonderful resource conservation ethics that the public has about protecting Texas' bays and estuaries," said Morris. "This year's volunteer and sponsor participation is shaping up to be just as big as years past. We should have a great cleanup and a good time. But we still need all the volunteers we can get, especially in Galveston, Matagorda and San Antonio Bays."
The NOAA (National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration) Restoration Center and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Coastal Program are providing grants to the crab trap removal program. Additional help is coming from the Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program, Regional Steel, Best Manufacturing and numerous organizations and companies like CCA Texas, SCA Texas, SALT, ExxonMobil and others volunteering their services.
Morris noted that individuals who conduct cleanups on days other than TPWD facilitated cleanup dates will have to make their own arrangements for trap disposal but can contact a local coordinator for assistance.
Following is a site list of TPWD staffed locations where traps can be dropped off during the cleanup. Each site will be manned by TPWD staff from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Disposal facilities will be provided at each site on the day of the cleanup. For those who choose to work on their own, TPWD requests information about the number of traps that they collect.
To volunteer or for more information contact one of the regional coordinators Art Morris in Corpus Christi at (361) 825-3356 or Bobby Miller in Dickinson at (281) 534-0110.
Crab Trap Cleanup Collection Sites
Aransas Bay -- Local TPWD coordinator Karen Meador (361) 729-2328
--Goose Island State Park -- Rockport
Corpus Christi Bay -- Local TPWD coordinator Paul Choucair (361) 729-2328
--Conn Brown Harbor -- Aransas Pass
Galveston Bay -- Local TPWD coordinator Rebecca Hensley (281) 534-0108
--Trinity Bay -- Fort Anahuac Park
--Galveston Bay/Jones Lake -- Fat Boy's State Ramp off I-45
--Christmas Bay -- Ernie's II (Sy's) Ramp
Lower Laguna Madre -- Local TPWD coordinator Randy Blankinship (956) 350-4490
--Adolfe Tomae County Park-Arroyo Colorado
--Port Mansfield Navigation District Ramp-Port Mansfield.
Matagorda Bay -- Local TPWD coordinator Bill Balboa (361) 972-6253
--Matagorda Harbor Boat Ramp or Oil Well Cut (boat-to drop off site)
Sabine Lake -- Local TPWD coordinator Jerry Mambretti (409) 983-1104
--Walter Umphrey State Park (Mesquite Point) on Pleasure Island-Port Arthur
San Antonio Bay -- Local TPWD coordinator Norman Boyd (361) 983-4425
--Charlie's Bait Stand -- Seadrift
--Port O'Conner TPWD dock
--Carbide Ramp (DOW)
Upper Laguna Madre -- Local TPWD coordinator Kyle Spiller (361) 825-3353
--Bluff Landing Boat Ramp – Corpus Christi
--Kaufer Park Boat Ramp -- Baffin Bay -- Riviera Beach

[ Note: This item is more than 13 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
Jan. 26, 2004
Texas Big Game Awards Honor Lifetime License Winner
SAN ANTONIO -- For more than 12 years, the Texas Big Game Awards (TBGA), a partnership of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and the Texas Wildlife Association (TWA), have recognized the contributions that landowners, land managers and responsible hunters make to managing and conserving wildlife and wildlife habitat on Texas' private lands.
Although the TBGA program offers no prizes for entries other than recognition, this year the TBGA has again continued the "Early Entry Special" program which will allow hunters who mail in their completed entry form early and include a photo for promotional purposes with the TBGA and statewide media, to be automatically entered in monthly drawings for some great prizes.
The Grand Prize Early Entry Winner is Scott Feild of Kempner. He harvested a non-typical white-tailed deer, in Kenedy County. He will receive a Lifetime Texas Hunting License from the Texas Big Game Awards. Smith's Abrasives and Hunter's Specialties, both TBGA Texas Regional Sponsors, sponsored this lifetime license drawing for the second consecutive year.
There is still time to enter and receive early entry prize recognition. All entries in before Jan. 31 will be eligible for a one-year membership from the Texas Gun Dealers/Owners Association. Entries must include a quality field photo of the hunter and their trophy and entry forms must be complete.
For more information about the Texas Big Game Awards, entry information, or for a local certified TBGA scorer, please visit the Web (http://www.TexasBigGameAwards.com/ or http://www.tbga.org/) or call (800) 839-9453, Ext. 114, for more information. The final deadline to enter the Texas Big Game Awards for the 2003-04 season is Feb 15.

[ Note: This item is more than 13 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
Jan. 26, 2004
TPWD Calendar
The following meetings may be of interest to the public. Check the master calendar for all TPWD events.
--White-tailed Deer Advisory Committee, Feb. 5, Commission Hearing Room, TPWD HQ, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin. Time TBA.
--Game Bird Advisory Board, Feb. 9, 10 a.m.- 3 p.m., Commission Hearing Room, TPWD HQ, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin.
--Wildlife Diversity Policy Advisory Committee, Feb. 13, 10, a.m., Commission Hearing Room, TPWD HQ, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin.
--Education and Outreach Advisory Committee, Feb. 18, 10 a.m.- 3 p.m., Commission Hearing Room, TPWD HQ, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin.
--Feb. 20 -- Artificial Reef Advisory Committee, 10 a.m. -- 3 p.m., Sea Center at 300 Medical Drive in Lake Jackson, Texas.

[ Note: This item is more than 13 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
Jan. 26, 2004
TPWD Game Warden Field Notes
The following are excerpts from recent Texas Parks and Wildlife Department law enforcement reports.
Boat Theft Ring Busted Up -- A Guadalupe County Game Warden has investigated a case that involved the theft of five boats and the attempted theft of 14 other boats on Lake McQueeney. The warden recovered three stolen boats floating on the lake. That investigation led to other boats that had been damaged or vandalized. At 9 p.m. the same day, the warden received a call about a boat wreck on the lake. Within minutes he was at the scene. The search and immediate investigation revealed no boat operator, passengers or injuries. The following day other wardens assisted the first warden with the boat accident investigation. It appeared that someone had released the boat at full throttle from the shore with no one on board. It made a u-turn and returned back to shore, causing extensive damage to a boat dock and boat. Around noon, the warden was interviewed by a San Antonio TV station about the incident, and the news was aired at 6 p.m. With no suspects in the case, TPWD solicited the assistance of the viewing public and gave phone numbers where people could call with any information about the incident. Another stolen boat was recovered as well. By about 7 p.m., a call with information came in. With the assistance of the Guadalupe County S.O., three suspects were arrested by 8 p.m., and two other suspects were arrested later. A total of five suspects were arrested (one adult and four juveniles). To date, a total of 19 boats were reported stolen or damaged.
Enforcement of New Law in Motion -- One set of game wardens held a work detail to enforce the new law (SB155), which prohibits vehicles in riverbeds and they focused on the Nueces and Frio Rivers. The Nueces and Frio Rivers are in Dimmit, Edwards, Frio, Uvalde and Zavala counties. The wardens filed a total of 15 cases: five for operating a vehicle in a riverbed, two water safety violations, no life jackets, one for no fishing license, and seven hunting violations. They also incarcerated a violator for operating and possession of a stolen ATV.
Top Dog -- Recently, a Palo Pinto County Game Warden and his drug detecting dog responded to a call for assistance by Department of Public Safety officers who had an 18-wheeler stopped on Interstate 20. Upon arrival, the warden found that DPS had placed a suspicious bag on the ground for investigation. The warden parked his vehicle about 30 feet from the truck and let the dog out of his kennel. The dog went straight for the bag. It took some time to count, but money found inside it ended up totaling $570,230. The driver admitted it was drug money. Charges are pending.

[ Note: This item is more than 13 years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ] [KE]
Jan. 26, 2004
Stay Tuned
Information from Texas Parks and Wildlife is available on radio and television, as well as the newsstand.
Passport to Texas, TPWD's radio series of weekday, 90-second stories is broadcast on about 100 Texas stations. Airing the week of Jan. 26-30, Insomniacs anglers fish 24 hours a day at one state park, and we tell you how the snow goose season looks.
For more information, visit the Web (http://www.passporttotexas.org/).
Video News
TPWD provides video news reports that run in newscasts on numerous Texas stations, as well as on cable and satellite outlets around the nation. This month's stories include: a look at man's best friend when it comes to hunting; the annual winter trout stocking program brings fishing to new anglers and veterans like 3-year-old Zachary; biologists head out to catch fish to make even more fish; and a profile on one of the newest state parks near Dallas.
"Texas Parks & Wildlife" is a weekly half-hour television series seen on PBS affiliates around the state. Stories airing the week of Jan. 25-31 are: Learning the value of bottomland hardwoods; two sides to Galveston Island State Park; squawk of the hawk; hall of fame boats; and Caddo Lake swamps.
For more information about this week's programs and where they can be viewed, visit the Web (http://tpwd.texas.gov/tv).
The January issue of Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine takes readers rainbow trout fishing in the cold, reservoir-fed waters of the Guadalupe River. Also in the January issue, hunt blue quail in West Texas, learn to take care of your hunting dog, read about Texas' wintering sparrows and take a wild bike ride through San Angelo State Park.
Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine is always available on newsstands throughout the state and by subscription for $19.95 a year. To subscribe, call (800) 937-9393 or order online at (http://www.tpwmagazine.com/).