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Real Anglers Catch Real Wild Bass

January 15, 2015
Chase Clark

I’m a Dad of two young daughters.  I’m doing my best to bring them up right and enjoy the outdoors.  One of the things we enjoy doing the most together is bass fishing.  I intend to share with them my fishing heritage I’ve learned and appreciated from past generations.

Lately I’ve noticed some things happening in the ponds of Texas, which really bother me.  The phenomenon of fish stocking has gotten out of hand.  Texas landowners are stocking their ponds with bass in order to grow bigger fish, just so that their families and guests can catch fish.  Some are even charging trespass fees to their properties when their bass fishing attracts anglers looking for bigger fish.

This fish stocking is endangering our bass fishing heritage.  These fish stockers are trying to grow fish, which are unnaturally large.  These fish are too…how should I put it…FAT!  It’s unnatural and abnormal for fish to look that way.  Clearly these landowners must be utilizing steroids to make fish grow that big.  Real fishermen catch slender fish that have had to survive on what Mother Nature provides for them.

The size of these stocked ponds is a real concern for the future of our bass fishing heritage.  Did you know that some of these waters are only a few acres in size?  A bass could swim across something that small in only a few minutes.   As unnatural as it is, these waters are not required by strict regulations to be connected to a stream or waterway that connects to the ocean to allow these bass to escape the anglers hook.

I support Texas Parks and Wildlife implementing a strict stocking policy for all ponds in Texas.  No more “unnatural” fish numbers in small ponds on private property should be allowed.  These landowners are even bringing in something called “bait fish” to provide supplemental feeding for these monster fish.  Texas Parks and Wildlife biologists should immediately require a geospatial component for all stocked ponds in Texas, so that the number of bass should not exceed the recommended cubic feet of water per fish for that ecoregion.

Did you know that fishermen are allowed to bass fish these stocked ponds only days after these fish are released?  There is no way these fish have had time to acclimate to the habitat of their pond.  Clearly, we need the Texas Legislature to regulate a spring release only of fish into these stocked ponds and establish a fall only fishing season to allow these poor bass time to acclimate to the waters of Texas.

I’m also extremely concerned that unsuspecting anglers will be caught unaware of these unnatural stocking procedures.  How is a Texas fisherman to know the difference between a real, wild, Texas bass and one of these unnatural, genetically enhanced versions?  Clearly, we need to be externally marking all released fish in order to protect the integrity of Texas fishing.  All released bass should have external, luminescent fin tags to assure that anglers can tell which of these ponds have stocked fish.  “If the pond glows, then I won’t go.”

Perhaps the most dangerous aspect of these stocked ponds is the common practice of controlling overgrowth of aquatic vegetation with dangerous chemicals.  I don’t want my daughters consuming any fish filets that could have been adulterated by these dangerous practices.  This human health concern, even though there are no studies to confirm that harmful levels exist, should take priority over any landowner private property right to control aquatic vegetation. 

Bass fishing is part of the fabric of Texas.  I call on Texans and Texas anglers to unite in opposition to these practices that threaten the future of our bass fishing heritage.  Who cares if it’s legal and brings joy to tens of thousands of anglers and Texas families annually across the state of Texas?  I don’t want my daughters caught up in it and it’s time to stop the practice altogether.

It’s time to rein in these fish stockers.

Fish Real.  Fish Wild.  Fish Texas Proud.

Chase Clark

Texas Deer Association President

*** My point in writing this satirical piece is to illustrate the lack of consistency some groups have in their criticism of common management practices of wildlife in the state of Texas.  As landowners and sportsmen, we need to work together to defend threats against both our right to hunt and our freedom to manage our land in the best way we see fit… whether it be for fish, deer, quail or any other managed species.  — WCC