The program, launched in 2005, is designed to recruit experienced anglers to assist TPWD with collecting brood stock for hatchery programs. The anglers receive t-shirts and fishing lures — and the chance to win hand-held GPS units, rods and reels and BOGA-Grip handheld scales — all while promoting conservation.
The two South Padre Island events will target spotted seatrout for production of fingerlings that will go right back into the Lower Laguna Madre. Four additional tournaments in the fall will target southern flounder.
“This all ties in to genetic diversity—the more fish we have for hatchery broodstock, the better it will be for the millions of fish we stock in Texas public waters to improve fishing each year,” said Robert Adami, TPWD coastal fisheries biologist in Corpus Christi.
A coastwide spotted seatrout stock assessment last year showed a downward trend in the species’ spawning stock biomass in the Lower Laguna Madre, prompting concern that in the event of a catastrophic freeze or red tide event, the fishery could take longer to recover.
Because spotted seatrout move relatively short distances during their lives and typically spawn close to where they were born, trout from different bay systems are genetically distinct. TPWD stocks fingerlings in the bays where their parents were caught.
“Avoiding inbreeding is an essential component of any hatchery breeding program. You don’t want the same fish siblings year after year after year,” Adami said. “You want at least 25 percent of your brood stock to be new fish each year, and this program is helping us do that.”
Each Coastal Fisheries Bay Team tournament is open to 30 two-person teams, 60 people total, on a first-come, first-serve basis. Registration takes place on-site the day of each tournament. There is no entry fee, but all entrants must be 21 years old or older. Participants may turn in three fish per tournament. For tournaments focusing on spotted seatrout, only one fish more than 25 inches may be turned in per angler.
“People are under the misconception that we need big trout. What we need is any trout they can bring us,” Adami said. “I provide livewells and aerators. You can do this anywhere, from a pier or from a jetty. You don’t even need a boat.”
Everyone who brings in at least one fish is eligible for a drawing to win a Garmin eTrex GPS, a BOGA-Grip handheld scale or a Shimano Calcutta 200B baitcasting reel mounted on a Texas Tackle Factory rod.
Anglers who register for the event but do not bring in a fish are eligible for a drawing for a Shimano Cruxis reel. All registered participants receive a Coastal Fisheries Bay Team t-shirt and a gold spoon with the Coastal Fisheries Bay Team logo embedded in the lure.
The prizes, equipment, and program are made possible through support from Anheuser-Busch, Inc. Since 1991, Anheuser-Busch, in partnership with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation, has contributed millions of dollars in funding to support conservation causes and fishing, hunting, and outdoor recreation programs in Texas.
All of the tournaments listed below will take place from 6 a.m.-12 p.m:
- Spotted Seatrout: South Padre Island, April 7, 2007, Sea Ranch Marina
- Spotted Seatrout: South Padre Island, April 21, 2007, Sea Ranch Marina
- Southern Flounder: Pleasure Island, October 20, 2007, S.A.L.T. Club
- Southern Flounder: Aransas Pass, October 27, 2007, Conn Brown Harbor
- Southern Flounder: Port O’Connor, November 3, 2007, Froggies Bait Doc
- Southern Flounder: Texas City, November 10, 2007, Boyd’s One Stop
Anglers interested in participating should call Robert Adami at (361) 215-7340 or e-mail him at email@example.com.
– Texas Saltwater Fishing Guide