January 10, 2018 by Robert Montgomery (BASS Staff Writer)
MCQUEENEY, Texas – For new B.A.S.S. Nation (BN) state conservation directors who worry about whether they can handle the job, long-time Texas Conservation Director Tim Cook has some reassuring advice: Relax and go with the flow.
“It takes several years of service to really get on your feet,” said the owner of Cook Industrial Tool Inc. and father of two. “Learning what your priorities are is the first step.”
For Cook, a member of the Canyon Bass Club of San Marcos since 1988, a top priority is fish care above and beyond catch-and-release.
“Educating anglers about ways they can prevent delayed mortality is important,” he explained. “Catch-and-release is for nothing if the fish later dies after the tournament, so teaching livewell management, weigh-in procedures and live release management are all important.”
Other priorities for the Texas angler who has been conservation director since 2003 include habitat, aquatic invasive species and management of aquatic vegetation and fisheries.
Aquatic invasive species is heating up as an issue, mostly because of concerns about the spread of zebra mussels and giant salvinia, recently discovered on Lake Fork and other fisheries.
“By far, this is the number one issue I deal with in Texas,” Cook said. “Some invasive species like hydrilla can be tremendously beneficial to habitat. But when there are conflicts with other users, such as shoreline property owners, it’s important for anglers to have a voice in how management is implemented.”
A state conservation director must have a good working relationship with his or her state fisheries agency to have a voice in how the government deals with invasives, he added.
“Overreaction, such as lake closures and burdensome over-regulation, is a real threat to access,” he said, adding that educating anglers about exotic threats and the importance of “clean, drain and dry” also are important.
The most beneficial thing that he has done for the Texas BN, Cook believes, is to team up with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). “Developing trust and personal relationships is critical to being effective,” he added.
Cook serves on the Inland Fisheries advisory board, which the agency uses to get public input on proposals and programs. He also in on the TPWD Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame selection committee.
“Beyond these appointments, I have working relationships with key TPWD personnel statewide,” Cook said. “They know they can depend on and come to me when they have needs, and I can depend on them for honesty and answers.”
In 2013, that teamwork resulted in the TPWD and the Seven Coves Bass Club (SCBC) receiving the Texas Environmental Excellence Award for habitat work on Lake Conroe.
“This prestigious award was the result of the collaboration of many different organizations and the accomplishments of the Lake Conroe Aquatic Habitat Partnership,” explained the conservation director.
Ron Gunter, an SCBC member and assistant state conservation director, played a key leadership role in the project. “Ron has been a huge asset and helps me represent the B.A.S.S. Nation,” Cook said.
In 2014, meanwhile, the U.S. Department of the Interior awarded the Partners in Conservation Award to the Texas BN for its contributions to drafting the Edwards Aquifer Habitat Conservation Plan. The aquifer is the primary source of drinking water for more than 2 million people, and the aquatic habitat associated with it is home for eight endangered species.
“In Texas, water is more valuable than gold,” Cook said. “We had to represent a very diverse group of people.”
Along with continued emphasis on habitat, fish care and preventing the spread of invasive species, Cook wants to develop a conservation team.
“Texas is a big state and we need each club to have a conservation director, as well as each region,” he said. “I also plan to increase the use of social media to raise awareness of issues in our states and recognize clubs and individuals who do outstanding work.”
B.A.S.S. leadership continues to be responsive to conservation and fish care practices. They are requesting all States Nation organizations to start transitioning to the use of non-penetrating cull rings (NPCR). B.A.S.S. is applying the rule effective this year to the events they host, including the pro and open events.
The Texas B.A.S.S. Nation rules for 2018 will “suggest” the use of NPCR’s with a note in 2019 that NPCR’s will be mandatory at all Youth tournaments, Region qualifying tournaments and State sanctioned tournaments.
Texas B.A.S.S. Nation
DATE LAKE LAUNCH/MARINA
Qualifier #1 February 18, 2018 (Sunday) Lake LBJ Bluebriar Park (Granite Shoals)
Qualifier #2 March 17, 2018 (Saturday) Possum Kingdom South D & D Boat Ramp
Qualifier #3 April 22, 2018 (Sunday) Lake Conroe Lakeview Marina
Qualifier #4 May 05, 2018 (Saturday) Coleto Creek Coleto Creek Park
Qualifier #5 Sept 22, 2018 (Saturday) Lake Cedar Creek Log Cabin Boat Ramp
CHAMPIONSHIP Oct 27 – Oct 28, 2018 Lake Belton Temples Lake Park
Guaranteed 1st Place – $1000 (with a minimum field of 30 teams)
Entry Fee: $120.00 per Team, which includes Big Bass entry. (1 place paid for each 5 team entered and $20 per team Big Bass payout) Membership Fee: $25.00 each team member per year (If you are already a TX BASS Nation member, its $10.00 for each team member per year)
Texas B.A.S.S. Nation is excited to offer its membership another path to qualify for the BASSMASTER CLASSIC. Texas Team Championship Qualification is simple:
- Register and participate in one (1) Qualifier event and finish in the top 10 teams of that event, and your team is qualified for the Championship. (based upon a minimum of 20 teams at each Qualifier, any event with less than 20 teams – only the top 50% of that Qualifier event will qualify for the Championship)
- Register and participate in two (2) Qualifier events, and you are automatically qualified.
- Five (5) additional teams will qualify for the Championship from the overall point’s standings, if a team is already qualified, TBN will move down the point’s standings to obtain the final five (5) qualifying teams. Must fish a minimum of two (2) Qualifier events.
- Team of the Year – The team with the most points from three (3) Qualifiers, plus the Championship (double points), will be the 2018 Team of the Year. TBN will utilize the highest points from three (3) events + Championship to determine Team of the Year standings. (must fish a minimum of three (3) events, and if additional qualifiers are achieved, drops are allowed)
- Team of the Year is awarded “Free Entry” to three (3) Qualifiers of their choice in 2019, plaques, and website publicity!
- The Texas BASS Nation Team Championship is a two-day event, where the highest finishing team will earn the berth to the BASSMASTER Team Championship Event, with a minimum of 25-team field. For each sequential 25 teams competing during the 2018 Season, 1 additional team will earn a berth as well. (25 teams = 1st Place to National, 50 teams = 2nd Place to National, 75 teams = 3rd Place to National)
- Teams will be allowed to substitute a partner for (1) one qualifier event, only. All points will remain with the stated Boat Captain.
The BASSMASTER Team Championship is an entry-fee based National two-day event, where the top three (3) teams advance to the BASSMASTER Team Classic Event, which will be held the same week, following the BASSMASTER Team Championship. BASSMASTER will provide six (6) boats, whereby each individual will then compete. There is no entry fee to the final Classic Event, and no Payouts. The Champion wins a 2017 BASSMASTER CLASSIC entry. The benefits of Texas BASS Nation Membership are listed on the website. For more information, including the rules and entry forms, go to Texas B.A.S.S Nation Site @ http://www.texasbass.org/
The weather could not have been better for the 2 day Texas B.A.S.S. Nation Individual State Championship on Lake Same Rayburn. Umphrey Pavilion in Jasper County was the host for this event. The food was great at The Stump restaurant. Mike Taylor is always supportive of the bass fishing community. Rayburn Country Lodge is a great place to get away and the Jasper Chamber of Commerce was a great source of information.
Some guys made long runs up the lake to their fish. Some guys fished close to the pavilion. And that is the basis for competitive bass fishing, Find fish on a 60,000 acre body of water that want to bite for the duration of the event under the given weather and water conditions. No matter how good their favorite spot might be, bass fishermen usually have more than one spot located. Sometimes the fish either didn’t get the agenda or decided to go elsewhere. Usually the later.
For the fishermen, the objective of this event was to WIN IT!! If not win it then move one step closer to the Bassmaster Classic by being in the top four Boaters or in the top four Co-Anglers. These eight anglers will join the Texas B.A.S.S. Nation State Team and compete in the Central Regional tournament in 2018.
And the winners are…Nick LeBrun with Waskom Bass Club brought two five fish limits to the scales for a total of 36.84# in the Boater Division. Mike Cassanova with Century Bass Club had two three fish limits for a total of 21.14# in the Co-Angler Division. Congratulations gentlemen!
Here are the tops four anglers in each Division.
1st: Nick LeBrun – Waskom Bass Club – 36.84#
2nd: Albert Collins – Nacogdoches Bass Club – 36.08#
3rd: Derrick Shoffitt – No Name Bass Club – 31.59#
4th: Justin Hallmark – Big Sandy Creek Bass Club – 30.26#
1st: Mike Casanova – Century Bass Club – 21.14#
2nd: Bert Petrie – Century Bass Club – 19.52#
3rd: Troy Reed – Nacogdoches Bass Club – 17.99#
4th: Charlie Barnes – Big Sandy Creek Bass Club – 16.04#
We’ve revised the B.A.S.S. Club Handbook to better serve you and the other club members as an informational tool. Please take the time to familiarize yourself with
this handbook as it will help your club become organized and run efficiently.
As you look through this edition you will notice that it is packed with useful information, including the duties of club officers, ideas for club events, information about Bassmaster High School and the Junior Bassmaster Club program. We’ve included pertinent information regarding your club’s insurance coverage and the procedures to follow when admitting junior members into adult clubs. As in the past, the handbook includes forms, sample press releases, etc., which should be useful to you. Also, you can go to Bassmaster.com for additional information.
This handbook should answer many of your questions as a club member; however, the B.A.S.S. Nation staff is here to assist you in any way possible. Please don’t hesitate to give us a call.
B.A.S.S. Nation Director
For the 2017 tournament trail, the North Central Region and the North East Region elected to conduct a joint Championship Tournament, held on Lake Richland Chambers on October 21 and 22, 2017, with tournament headquarters set up at Oak Cove Marina. By doing so, the Regions were able to increase the overall payouts to the tournament winners, paying Places 1-4 on both the Boater and Co-Angler side. Boaters were vying for 5 fish per day, and Co-Anglers were able to bring 3 fish per day to the scales. The weather set up nicely for Day 1, and the tournament was kicked off with playing and tribute to our National Anthem, and a prayer conducted by Jason Geesey, North East Region Director – 2015-2017. The weather was perfect on Day 1 with light winds, cool mornings, and warming trends towards the afternoon. Pairings were conducted and distributed by website postings, email communication, and text messaging. It was a bit more work on the Tournament Directors, but the effort paid off and really helped ease the normal necessity of a pairings meeting, which was appreciated by all.
As the anglers, all left the take off in numerical order and were off for Day 1 of the tournament action. Early reports had fish being targeted relatively shallow, around docks and submerged shoreline cover. At the weigh in – several large fish were brought to the scales, and several tournament limits as well, proving that Richland Chambers has definitely been on the rebound as a fishery. Dalton Pratt, NE Region Boater had the Day 1 lead with 19.66 pounds, with several 17 lbs + bags closely followed. Jason Geesey, NE Region Co-Angler brought a hefty 3-fish limit to the scales clearly topping all other co-anglers with a 16.84 total. Both Chandler Stewart and Joseph Hardy, NC Region Boaters were within 2 ounces of each other, and the battle was set for that State Team spot for the next day. Lewis Decker, NC Region Co-Angler brought in a 3-fish limit topping other NC Region Co-Anglers weighing 9.01. Todd Guernsey, NE Region Boater held the Big Bass with 8.32 lbs. Brian Beeson, NC Region Boater had the next largest Big Bass with 7.87 lbs.
Day 2 action saw a huge front, and storm roll into the area overnight and it was extremely windy, lightening, and thunder near just before daylight. By safe light, the wind, and bad weather had subsided and we were able to take off on time, and get the Day rolling. Day 2 was definitely affected by the weather storm, as the fish did not cooperate as much. The leader board got shook up a bit after the 3 pm weigh in, as Joseph Hardy, NC Region Boater brought in another solid limit of fish, bringing his 2-day total to 32.50 lbs, and claiming the NC Region Boater State Team position. Jon Harshbarger, NE Region Boater brought into the scales Day 2 heavy weight of 18.22 lbs., boosting his total tournament sack to 30.55 lbs, and claiming the NE Region Boater State Team position. Chris Brewton, NC Region Boater held firm and barely lost out his bid to claim a spot on the State Team, bringing in a tournament total of 30.55. Jason Geesey, NE Region Co-Angler brought a small limit to the scales on Day 2, which brought his tournament total to 22.69, just nudging out Jose Ramos, NE Region Co-Angler for the NE Region State Team Co-Angler position. Lewis Decker was successful in bringing another 3-fish limit to the scales, and brought his tournament total to 13.90, claiming the NC Region State Team Co-Angler position.
Overall, it was a great turnout – folks from both Regions were able to get to know each other a bit better, the payouts were increased by the dual participation, and the one venue allowed us to leverage the participation promise to the local Marina. We are looking forward to another successful Texas BASS Nation Tournament Trail season in 2018!
Congratulations to the State Team winners!
- Joseph Hardy – HOT BASS Assassins / North Central Region
- Jon Harshbarger – Century Bass Club / North East Region
- Jason Geesey – Red Oak Bass Club / North East Region
- Lewis Decker – Lucky Strike Bass Club / North Central Region
These folks move on to compete at the next level within BASSMASTER, with an opportunity to reach the BASSMASTER Classic! State Team incentives from the BASSMASTER sponsors are also very beneficial to the winners. Read more here in order for you to reach high: http://www.texasbassonline.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/2016_10_6_BassNationPathToClassic.pdf
If you are interested in competing for your shot at the BASSMASTER Classic, just contact your local Regional Director http://www.texasbassonline.com/directors and the tournament season will get started again in early 2018. There are many opportunities to reach this within Texas BASS Nation, whether you compete at the Region level, the Club level, or the Team Trail – they all are designed to move anglers to the path of success. Boaters are welcome and Co-Anglers are welcomed. Come and enjoy competing in a friendly, but competitive culture.
Elton D. Brock
Director – North Central Region
Texas BASS Nation
To all competitors –
Please have a completed Tournament Form, provide a physical copy of boat insurance, and your current BASS Membership Card (if not a lifetime member). This is for state team compliance.
1 Chris Brewton Lee McDowell
2 Chandler Stewart Cecil Tubb
3 Jon Harshbarger Dan Watson
4 Dalton Pratt Richie Slack
5 Byron Albrecht Hershel Smith
6 Keith Carney Lewis Decker
7 Dale Jackson Jose Ramos
8 Terry Windham Jason Geesey
9 Chris Beeson David Porter
10 Chance Woodard Jim Justus
11 George Bryan Stephen Farrar
12 Jason Windham John Walker
13 Derick Maschmeier George Kovach
14 Joseph Hardy Stan Goff
15 Kenneth Moore Randy Kvpil
16 Charles Dodd Bruce Maschmeier
17 Charles Harkless Duane Crenshaw
18 Mark Wendler Elton Brock
19 Brian Beeson Chris McLemore
20 Todd Guernsey