Lakecaster Online

Wade Middleton

It's that busy time of the year if you're a freshwater tournament angler. All the major circuits that dot the great lonestar state are now in full swing with the Texas Tournament Trail, Everstarts, Bass Champs, Bass N Bucks and Sealy Outdoors events popping up on a lake somewhere every weekend. That's not to forget the BFL, Media Bass, Anglers Quest, bass clubs and other smaller events that fish during the spring, summer and fall for fun and prizes. When you look at all those events we're talking about some serious prize money on the line along with season long bragging rights in many situations. On any give weekend there is now between 2 and 5 boats being given away for first prize on every major lake in Texas between now and the end of May and untold thousands of dollars in other prizes . That's a serious progression of the sport of Bass Fishing no question about it so get out there and go fishing! .

This brings me to my next thought of what type of an effect does a Bass Tournament have on a fishery. In a recent study on bass mortality rates it showed that more bass are being caught and eaten than are being lost to tournament mortality or delayed tournament mortality. This is a great testament to the success of catch and release and the efforts of tournament anglers to keep their catch alive and hearty when they are hauling fish around the lake or arriving for a weigh in. For a tournament angler there are and should be serious penalties in place when an angler brings in a deceased bass to the scales. That fish loss costs many an angler at the end of the day far more than bragging rights and I can personally attest to that. In over 15 years of fishing tournaments I've only weighed in three dead fish and can remember every one of them, however one really stands out in my mind as it cost me first place in an event due to the penalty so I learned at an early age that taking care of your catch is important from not only a moral standpoint but a financial one.

However we can all do better and we all must pay attention as all it takes is one mishap, one moment that you forget to switch on that pump or something similar to lose your catch. . Recently several of my fishing buddies told me of an event that they fished that didn't take care of the resource. Now holding tanks, no aeration at another event and just a general lack of respect for the health of the fish. Well my comments were simple why fish that trail? If you as an angler see this step up and take charge to help our resource as we've only got what we have and without all of us helping we won't have a chance to get it back. There are too many good trails out there that care to fish with and around somebody who doesn't care!

Enough on fishing side for a bit! For you quail hunters this was one of the most successful quail seasons in recent memory! I heard great reports from all over the state this past year on the number of covey rises and successful hunts. That just goes to show you that great conditions and taking care of your land will pay off when preparation meets with good conditions. I've had a chance to hunt several times now with Dr Dale Rollins of Texas A&M and his information on quail has left me with a new appreciation of just how fragile the situation can become without proper planning and preparation for the future. If you'd like more information about Quail hunting and what to do to have better quail hunting land I suggest you drop him an e-mail at d-rollins@tamu.edu. He can help provide insight and information on how you can make your land better for quail hunting for future generations.

Wade Middleton is the host of Fishing and Hunting Texas and a longtime fishing and hunting guide and tournament angler. You can reach Wade at WadeMiddleton@aol.com or catch Fishing and Hunting Texas every Sunday morning on FOX Sports Southwest at 8:00 AM. You can also watch Fishing and Hunting Texas and other outdoors shows online 24 hours a day at www.outdooraction.com For more information go to www.carecomultimedia.com or contact Wade at his e-mail address.

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