World class bass fishing, shopping, live music and a variety of outdoor activities are coming to Texas’ most iconic bass fishing lake for the third annual Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest (TBTF) benefitting Texas Parks and Wildlife Department May 2-6.
Lake Fork near Emory, Texas, is hosting the Bassmaster Elite Series tournament, where the top bass anglers in the world will be competing for a total prize purse of $1 million. While the 75-angler field battles on the water for four days during the “catch, weigh and immediate release” style fishing tournament, TPWD will be on site at the Sabine River Authority from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 4-5 to highlight family-friendly fishing, hunting and camping opportunities in the state.
“On top of showcasing Texas’ world class bass fisheries and promoting the conservation-minded ‘catch, weigh, and immediate release’ tournament format; Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest provides TPWD with an exciting opportunity to engage directly with Texans to highlight all of the outdoor opportunities available in our state,” said Dave Terre, TPWD Chief of Inland Fisheries Management and Research.
Visitors can mingle with fisheries biologists, state park rangers, outdoor educators and game wardens at more than 15 interactive outdoor booths, including:
- Catch a Catfish: Catch a Texas-size catfish with the help of TPWD fisheries biologists and volunteers from the Texas High School Bass Association.
- Fly Casting and Tying: Learn how to tie flies and cast using a fly rod with volunteers from the Texas Council of Fly Fishers International.
- Texas State Fish Art: Paint your favorite fish and learn how you can enter the Texas State-Fish Art Contest.
- Fish FUNdamentals Aquarium: Learn about native fish from a TPWD biologist and find out where fish are biting.
- Rivers & Streams/ Texas Paddling Trails: Explore the living world of rivers and streams on Texas Paddling Trails.
- Toyota ShareLunker Trailer: Stop by the Toyota ShareLunker trailer to see how you can partner with TPWD to make BIGGER BETTER BASS in Texas.
- Making Fishing Better: Have a question about your favorite lake? Enjoy a meet and greet opportunity with Texas fisheries biologists in the “Making Fishing Better” area.
- Aquatic Invaders: Discover how invasive species impact aquatic environments, where they hide and how we can control their spread across Texas.
Other weekend activities at TBTF include various vendor booths with the latest fishing merchandise, seminars taught by Bassmaster Elite Series pros, the annual Bassmaster High School All-American Fishing Team Tournament and more.
Saturday’s entertainment lineup includes a live concert as part of the Mercury Concert Series, Elite angler “meet and greets,” and several special TPWD ceremonies to honor anglers who have made an impact on fishing this year.
During the first special ceremony, TPWD will be honoring the five Toyota ShareLunker Legacy Anglers who caught and donated 13 pound or larger largemouth bass to support TPWD’s selective breeding program in 2019. This presentation will include an official announcement of the winner of the Legacy Class Prize Drawing for a $5,000 Bass Pro Shops shopping spree and an annual fishing license.
TPWD will also recognize the 2019 inductee into the Texas Freshwater Fishing Hall Of Fame. During this presentation, Alan Haynes of Tyler, the former C.E.O and President of The Sportster Inc. retail sporting goods chain and lifelong sportsman, will be honored for his efforts to engage people in fishing.
Proceeds from the tournament, donated by Gulf States Toyota, will benefit the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s youth fishing and urban outreach programs, including the Neighborhood Fishin’ Program, which brings fishing to families at 19 community park lakes in 10 urban areas, and the Texas Division of the Wildlife Forever State-Fish Art Contest, which seeks to interest youth in grades K-12 in fishing.
“Since 2007, Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest and the previous version of the tournament have raised more than $3 million for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s youth fishing and outreach programs in Texas,” Terre said. “This has made a direct impact on increasing fishing participation in Texas – particularly in urban and suburban areas where access to fishing is limited. We are grateful for this support and look forward to continuing this work to bring fishing closer to Texans in the years ahead.”
Local hosts of Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest include the Lake Fork Chamber of Commerce, the Wood County Industrial Commission, the Sabine River Authority, Quitman EDC and Emory Tourism.
“These local organizations deserve special thanks for helping us bring a Bassmaster Elite Series event to Lake Fork for the first time ever,” Terre said. “Without the Sabine River Authority and others, Lake Fork would not be the top trophy bass lake in Texas. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see four-day catch records broken at TBTF this year, and that success would be a direct reflection of the hard work and support of these organizations and the entire Lake Fork community.”
Admission to the event is free for the whole family. The Sabine River Authority is located at 353 PR 5183, Quitman, Texas. Learn more at https://www.bassmaster.com/tournaments/2019-toyota-bassmaster-texas-fest-benefiting-texas-parks-wildlife-department.