The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is looking for some skilled anglers to help catch spotted sea trout and flounder for its hatchery breeding program. Rough work, but someone’s got to do it, and TPWD is dangling some nice bait—one angler at each of four special tournaments coming up on the Texas coast will win a lifetime fishing license.
With the new Coastal Fisheries Bay Team program, TPWD is working with coastal conservation groups to recruit experienced folks who have the skill to handle fish so they arrive alive and well at the hatcheries.
“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.
“Avoiding inbreeding is an essential component of any hatchery breeding program. You don’t want the same fish siblings year after year after year. You want at least 25 percent of your brood stock to be new fish each year, and this program is helping us do that.”
Two of the four tournaments will focus on catching spotted seatrout, and the other two will focus on southern flounder for this year. For tournaments focusing on spotted seatrout, only one fish more than 25 inches may be turned in per angler.
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.
At each tournament, anglers who bring in fish will be entered in a drawing for a chance to win a lifetime fishing license worth $600. Participants who do not bring in fish will be entered into a drawing at each tournament for a fishing gear prize package—a Texas Tackle Factory rod and Shimano Curado reel combo, Boga grip and a Garmin GPS unit. Every participant will receive a shirt and cap.
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.
Since TPWD began enlisting anglers to help catch fish for hatcheries at special tournaments eight years ago, more than 1,200 people have helped catch more than 1,500 fish.
All of the tournaments listed below will take place from 6 a.m.-12 p.m.
- April 9 — South Padre Island, Sea Ranch Marina — Spotted Seatrout
- April 23 — Corpus Christi, Marker 37 — Spotted Seatrout
- Oct. 29 — Sabine Lake, S.A.L.T. Club — Southern Flounder
- Nov. 12 — Texas City, Texas City Dike — Southern Flounder
Anglers interested in becoming a member of the Coastal Fisheries Bay Team can contact Adami at the CCA/CPL Marine Development Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or (361) 939-7784.