|  TPWD News Releases Dated 2011-03-14                                    |
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[ Note: This item is more than six years old. Please take the publication date into consideration for any date references. ]
[ Media Contact: TPWD News, news@tpwd.texas.gov, 512-389-8030 ]
[ Additional Contacts: Joedy Gray, (512) 389-8037; Joedy.gray@tpwd.texas.gov ]
March 14, 2011
Texas Fish Records Program Sets Its Own Records
ATHENS--For many people, second only to the thrill of landing a trophy fish is seeing one's name go into the record book for the catch.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's Joedy Gray is the person in charge of making that happen, and with the cooperation and enthusiasm of Texas anglers, he was very busy in 2010.
"My number one goal when I took over the Angler Recognition Program in 2002 was to increase angler participation, especially among youth, and it looks as if that is being accomplished," Gray said.
Gray cites the following facts to support his claim.
In calendar year 2010,
--1,223 catches of fish were submitted for awards, the most ever, beating the previous high of 913 in 2009;
--1,731 awards were issued for these catches, beating the previous high of 1,383 in 2009;
--64 Outstanding Angler awards were presented, topping the previous high of 51 in 2003 and 2004.
--36 Junior Angler water body catch-and-release awards beat the 2009 high of 15;
--16 Junior Angler state catch and release records beat the 2008 high of 10;
--93 water body catch-and-release records topped 2009's 57;
--and 394 Big Fish awards for the year was just shy of the high of 400 set in 1994 and the second most ever.
Gray is especially proud of the fact that the 356 First Fish awards was extremely high. The previous record was 73 in 2003. First Fish awards go to anglers who report catching their first fish ever, and more than a few go to adults.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department recognizes not just catches of big fish but also fishing excellence through its Angler Recognition Program. The program maintains state record lists for public and private waters and water body records for all public lakes, rivers, and bays. The program also issues certificates for other types of angler achievements such as first fish, big fish, elite angler and outstanding angler. Information on awards categories and current records can be found on the TPWD web site at http://tpwd.texas.gov/fishboat/fish/programs/fishrecords/.
For state and water body records, junior anglers (under 17 years of age) compete in a separate division. If a junior angler's catch beats an all-ages record, the young angler receives recognition in both divisions.
The catch-and-release division is relatively new and is one of Gray's innovations. "It's often difficult or impossible to find a certified scale to get a weight on a fish, and sometimes fish die while the angler is looking for a place to weigh it," Gray said. "That's why we started awarding catch-and-release records, which require only a photo of the fish with a measuring device." Catch-and-release allows anglers to take an active part in conserving fish by releasing them immediately after catching and photographing them.
Gray is also working to increase awareness of the program among youth, especially those who fish in salt water. "If anglers have their own certified scale, each bay system in the state has a number of youth records available," Gray points out. And a catch does not have to be Texas-sized to qualify in a category with no existing record. "There is a minimum weight requirement of two ounces or 0.125 pounds for youth and an eight-ounce or 0.5-pound minimum for adults," Gray said.
In all, 14,179 catches have been awarded 21,095 awards. Gray would love to make your name the next to go into the record book.

[ Note: This item is more than six 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]
March 14, 2011
Lake Fork Kicks off March Madness with Toyota ShareLunker 518
Falcon scores with number 519; O.H. Ivie is ready to come off the bench
ATHENS--While fans of college basketball are glued to television sets watching that manifestation of March madness, bass anglers are enjoying a fishy form of the mayhem.
Sunday afternoon saw two anglers boat Toyota ShareLunkers. Number 518 bit a black lizard on Lake Fork about 3:00 p.m. Ed Carter of Broken Bow, Oklahoma, was the lucky angler who pulled in the 14.25-pounder. The fish was held for pickup at the Minnow Bucket, an official Toyota ShareLunker weigh and holding station.
Before the Toyota ShareLunker Tundra made it back to Athens with that fish, Robert Amaya of Robert's Fish 'n Tackle in Zapata called to report Toyota ShareLunker 519, a 13.37-pounder from Falcon International Reservoir. That fish was caught by David Cosner of Austin and was held for pickup at Robert's Fish 'n Tackle.
Unseasonably cold weather in February held water temperatures down and slowed the bite, but recent sunny days have warmed the shallows and encouraged spawning fish to move up. "Anglers tell me they are seeing lots of big fish cruising in shallow water," said Jerry Hunter, manager of Elm Creek Village on O.H. Ivie. "The water has just hit 60 degrees, there will be a full moon this weekend--everything is lined up just right, and we just need somebody to get a hook in one."
Last season O.H. Ivie produced 11 Toyota ShareLunkers, and seven of those fish were caught when the water temperature was 60 degrees or above. The current lake record, a 16.08-pounder, was caught the last day of the season from 69-degree water.
March is traditionally the peak month for ShareLunker entries. The game is on.
Anyone legally catching a 13-pound or bigger largemouth bass from Texas waters, public or private, between October 1 and April 30 may submit the fish to the Toyota ShareLunker program by calling program manager David Campbell at (903) 681-0550 or paging him at (888) 784-0600 and leaving a phone number including area code. Fish will be picked up by TPWD personnel within 12 hours.
Anglers entering fish into the Toyota ShareLunker program receive a free replica of their fish, a certificate and ShareLunker clothing and are recognized at a banquet at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens.
For complete information and rules of the ShareLunker program, tips on caring for big bass, a list of official Toyota ShareLunker weigh and holding stations and a recap of last year's season, see tpwd.texas.gov/sharelunker. The site also includes a searchable database of all fish entered into the program along with pictures where available.
Information on current catches, including short videos of interviews with anglers when available, is posted on www.facebook.com/sharelunkerprogram.
The Toyota ShareLunker Program is made possible by a grant to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation from Gulf States Toyota. Toyota is a long-time supporter of the Foundation and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, providing major funding for a wide variety of education, fish, parks and wildlife projects.