Toyota Texas Bass Classic Comes to Lake Conroe Next Month
Angling Competition Benefits Texas Parks & Wildlife; Kids 17 & Under Free
LAKE CONROE, Texas — The Toyota Texas Bass Classic, a Professional Anglers Association (PAA) sanctioned event, is only one month away from its debut on Lake Conroe. The October 16 — 18 competition benefits Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) efforts to introduce young people and urban families to fishing and the outdoors.
Lake Conroe is a showcase for TPWD’s fisheries and habitat management efforts. Native vegetation is being planted in the lake to improve water quality, prevent erosion and provide high quality habitat for fish and other wildlife. This habitat-food and shelter-for young bass is the cornerstone of largemouth bass production, increasing the survival and growth of fish that have the potential to become Toyota ShareLunkers, bass that weigh 13 pounds or more. During last year’s ShareLunker season, Lake Conroe produced four such fish, one a new lake record 15.93-pounder that was also the biggest bass caught in Texas last year.
“Our long-standing stocking, research and management programs, along with Florida largemouth bass, have been a huge success and have totally changed the landscape of bass fishing in Texas,” said Dave Terre, TPWD’s chief of management and research for inland fisheries. “At one time a 13-pound bass was a rare occurrence. To get in the Texas top 50 now takes better than a 15-pounder. That’s simply amazing.”
Terre continued, “I look at Texas as a crossroads where the science of fisheries management intersects with the needs and desires of anglers-and the Toyota ShareLunker program and the quality of fishing on Lake Conroe are great examples of that.”
One of the most important factors in developing a trophy bass fishery like Lake Conroe is letting bass grow to the age at which they can achieve maximum size. Anglers have almost complete control over this factor by proper handling of fish and by releasing them after the catch. The format of the Toyota Texas Bass Classic promotes bass survival by having all fish weighed in the boat as soon as they are caught, then immediately released. The only exception to this is that each angler may retain one fish 21 inches or longer to be brought to the weigh-in each day for a special big bass contest. These fish will be cared for by TPWD biologists and released following the weigh-in.
Daily weigh-ins at the tournament venue, Buffalo Springs Development in Montgomery, at the Toyota Texas Bass Classic will have special significance, because for the first time the tournament will produce a true world champion bass angler. The field will consist of 60 anglers. Twenty of the anglers qualified for the event by being a top 20 angler in the FLW Tour, FLW Series or BASS Elite. The other 40 anglers qualified by being in the top 40 of all three PAA Carrot Stix Tournament Series events in 2009. The field will compete head-to-head for the title of world champion as well as $500,000 in cash and prizes with the first-place winner getting cash and prizes worth $250,000.
“This is a very exciting development, as it positions the TTBC as the world championship of the newly-created PAA Tournament Series,” said TTBC co-founders Dan Friedkin and Donato Ramos. “These modifications make the TTBC one of the most prestigious titles in the world of professional bass fishing.”
In addition to featuring the biggest names in professional angling, the Toyota Texas Bass Classic will also offer a full slate of family-oriented outdoor activities and entertainment. The Outdoor Adventure Area will feature an archery range, fishing activities, touch tank, ShareLunker display and other exhibits. There will be a variety of food and beverages available at the onsite concession stands, and the City of Montgomery will present a fireworks display and concert by the Kyle Hunt Band on the evening of Friday, October 16.
Activities at the Outdoor Adventure Area will continue all day both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday night’s concert will feature Texas country music legend Pat Green and rising star Zona Jones. Sunday’s weigh-in and crowning of the new world champion will take place between performances by Julianne Hough and Josh Turner.
CBS Sports will broadcast a one-hour special reprising the Toyota Texas Bass Classic on Saturday, November 21. It will feature highlights from the three tournament days with a focus on the crowning of the 2009 TTBC world champion.
Advance daily tickets are available for $10 each through the tournament web site, www.toyotatexasbassclassic.com. Onsite tickets purchased at the gate will be $10 for Friday and $20 each day Saturday and Sunday. Youth ages 17 and under will be admitted free with a ticketed adult.
A minimum of $250,000 from the event will go towards a donation to benefit Texas Parks and Wildlife Department programs. “Our primary goal with this tournament is to raise funds and awareness for TPWD’s educational and conservation activities,” said Dan Friedkin, TTBC co-founder and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department commissioner. In the past two years the Toyota Texas Bass Classic has provided $500,000 to help fund TPWD programs like the Neighborhood Fishin’ Program, the Texas State-Fish Art Contest and other youth and urban fishing and outreach efforts.
Title sponsor for the event is Toyota. Tournament partners include Dick’s Sporting Goods, Audiovox, Evan Williams, MillerCoors, 100.3 KILT, SportsRadio 610, Phoenix Boats, Waste Management and the City of Montgomery. The tournament will be held on Buffalo Springs, a planned development in the City of Montgomery.
For additional information, please visit the official Toyota Texas Bass Classic Web site.