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
Texas Bass Nation announces a December 2017 date for the State Championship to qualify for the 2018 B.A.S.S. Nation Central Region (Regional) tournament.
Texas Bass Nation will host the state championship Dec. 1-2, 2017 on Sam Rayburn Reservoir. The tournament will launch from Umphrey Pavilion on the south end of the lake. There are no off-limits and the two days immediately preceding the event are the official practice days.
Four boaters and four co-anglers will earn entries on the 2018 Texas Bass Nation State Team. Anglers will compete in either a boater or co-angler division with separate fees and prize money available in each division. This is an individual draw tournament. The boater entry fee is $125 and the co-angler fee is $75.
The Texas Bass Nation tournament format and date are designed to meet changes implemented by B.A.S.S. Nation’s qualifying path to the Geico Bassmaster Classic.
In order to compete in the Texas Bass Nation Championship, one must qualify through a Texas Bass Nation affiliated club or Texas Bass Nation Region tournament trail. Bass clubs may send up to 60% and regions up to 50% of their Texas Bass Nation members. The roster must be equally comprised of boaters/co-anglers.
Each club or region will submit one packet to the Texas Bass Nation president. The packet must include one check for all of the entry fees, anglers’ signed application forms, proof of insurance from each boater, and an IRS form W9 from each angler.
Texas Bass Nation will hold a separate club team tournament at a later date where clubs will compete against each other for bragging rights and team prize money.
For more information:
Required application forms:
Kelley Hudson won this past weekends West Region Trail tournament on Possum Kingdom. Kelley had a five fish string that weighed 19.52 anchored by the Big Bass of the tournament, a 6.82lb Bass. Finishing in second place was Everett Moore with a five fish string weighing 15.79 and claiming the the final spot was Bobby Maynard with his five fish weighing 15.55lbs. A variety of methods were used by the winning anglers. Carolina rigged plastics on points, flipping cover, and swimbaits in cuts and coves proved to be productive ways of catching Bass. Congratulations to the winners. Next stop will be Lake Buchanan on April 22nd. We hope to see you there.