The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) Angler Recognition Program recognizes fishing excellence by maintaining the fish record lists for all public and private water bodies across the state.
Launched in 1971, the program has continued to grow every year. 2019 was no exception with anglers receiving more than 638 official awards for their big fish.
“With 47 new state fishing records and 434 new waterbody records set at lakes, rivers and bays across the state, it’s clear that 2019 was a great year for fishing in Texas,” said Ron Smith, TPWD Angler Recognition Program director.
Anglers can submit their water body or state record-setting fish in a variety of categories, including freshwater and saltwater; all ages and junior; weight and length; and the method of catch, including rod and reel, fly rod, bow fishing, other methods, and catch and release.
Junior anglers under 17 set 14 state records and 108 water body records in 2019. A few notable junior records include the junior state freshwater rod and reel record largemouth bass caught by Gavin Mikeska at Oak Creek Lake and the junior state freshwater rod and reel record blue catfish caught by Brayden Rogers at Lake Tawakoni.
All-ages anglers set 33 state records and 326 water body records in 2019. Some notable all-ages records set in 2019 include the state freshwater fly fishing record Alabama bass caught by Smith Swinburn at Lake Alan Henry and the state freshwater fly fishing record bowfin caught by Stavros Cotsoradis at Lake Conroe.
Even though not every fish qualifies as a waterbody or state record, anglers can still submit and receive special recognition for their catches.
In 2019, 48 anglers submitted their first catch to the program for the First Fish Award; 57 received the Outstanding Angler Award for their special catch; and 261 received a Big Fish Award for catching a fish that met the minimum length requirement for the species.
To participate in the program, anglers should become familiar with the rules to ensure they submit a complete application. In addition to locating a certified scale, anglers should learn to properly measure a fish and take a camera along to snap the required photos.
Anglers should also keep in mind that all fish need to be legally caught in Texas waters and only one person may catch the fish (except for netting or gaffing the fish to bring it into the boat or onto shore).
To search current records, review the types of awards available and learn how to submit your catch, visit the Angler Recognition Program online at www.tpwd.texas.gov/fishawards.
To view and download photos of some of the record-setting fish caught in 2019, visit the TPWD Flickr page at (https://flic.kr/s/aHsmK5Engw)
source: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department