The Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest (TBTF) is heading back to Lake Fork for the second year in a row, bringing world class bass fishing, shopping, and a variety of outdoor activities to Texas’ most iconic bass fishing lake. The event is scheduled for Nov. 5-8 and benefits the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
The tournament was originally scheduled for June 5-9, but the ongoing public health situation forced the postponement of the spring competition. The TBTF is a Bassmaster Elite Series tournament, where 85 of the top bass anglers in the world will be competing for a total prize purse of $1 million.
This unique tournament showcases a “catch-weigh-immediate release” format that was designed to honor this lake’s special size limits and reduce handling stress on large bass. TPWD will be on site at the Sabine River Authority from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 7-8 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 Tom Lang, TPWD Inland Fisheries Division Outreach and Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center Director.
With proper public health protocols in place, visitors can mingle outdoors with fisheries biologists, state park rangers, outdoor educators and game wardens at more than nine outdoor booths, including:
- Texas State Fish Art: Get great tips for painting your favorite state fish and learn how you can enter the Texas State-Fish Art Contest.
- 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 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 three Toyota ShareLunker Legacy Anglers who caught and donated 13 pound or larger largemouth bass to support TPWD’s selective breeding program in 2020. 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 2020 inductee into the Texas Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame. During this presentation, Shane Wilson, of South Padre Island, will be honored for his efforts to engage people in fishing. Wilson is a retired public educator of 35 years and founder of the non-profit organization Fishing’s Future – which is devoted to strengthening family bonds through fishing.
Gulf States Toyota, a long-term supporter of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, will donate proceeds from the tournament to support TPWD’s youth fishing and urban outreach programs. Programs benefiting from this tournament include the Neighborhood Fishin’ Program, which brings fishing to families at 18 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, this tournament has raised more than $3.25 million for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s youth fishing and outreach programs in Texas,” Lang said. “These dollars have 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 second consecutive year,” Lang 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, the entire Lake Fork community, and the efforts our Inland Fisheries team to make the best angling opportunities possible.”
Admission to the event is free for the whole family. All attendees should maintain a safe physical distance in accordance with public health guidelines and follow local ordinances due to the ongoing public health situation. The Sabine River Authority is located at 353 PR 5183, Quitman, Texas. Learn more at https://www.bassmaster.com/news/lake-fork-announced-site-2020-toyota-bassmaster-texas-fest