Lake Fork Hosts B.A.S.S. Nation Clean-Up Challenge
23 Nov, 2020
Just hours before Semifinal Saturday kicked off at the Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest benefiting Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, volunteers from 13 high schools spread out along the shores of Lake Fork to collect trash as part of the B.A.S.S. Nation Clean-Up Challenge sponsored by AFTCO and Huk.
“It was important to me to be part of the clean-up efforts," said Jimmy Fisher, a sophomore from Wylie East High School. “I am fishing a tournament here next week and know we need to keep the lake and boat ramps clean for everyone.”
That sentiment was echoed by Grace Community School junior Caleb Carpenter, “Keeping the lake clean isn't just important for the environment, it is a way we can help the entire community.”
Volunteers from local high school teams and the Texas High School Bass Association collected bags of trash at the Sabine River Authority (SRA) — Lake Fork, site of daily takeoffs and weigh-ins for the Bassmaster Elite Series event. In addition to plastic bottles and other litter, the student anglers reported collecting a few unusual items from the lakeshore.
“Our team found a couch, tires and even plastic chairs,” said first-year angler Samantha Collins of Grand Saline High School.
High school teams from around the region were represented, including Royse City, Winnsboro, Whitehouse, Wylie East, Lindale, Van, Celeste, Rains, Grapevine, Van Alstyne, Grand Saline, McKinney Christian Academy and Grace Community School.
Conservation efforts are a cornerstone of the B.A.S.S. tradition, and leading efforts to collect litter can have a sizable impact on the waterways the organization and its fans frequent.
“B.A.S.S. was founded on three things: tournament fishing competition, youth participation and conservation,” B.A.S.S. Conservation Director Gene Gilliland said. “(B.A.S.S. Founder) Ray Scott used to always talk about the three-legged stool. This is one of the legs, and it doesn’t get talked about a lot.
“One of the things that we want to try to do is to improve the resource anytime we have a chance,” Gilliland said. “An event like this builds camaraderie between those participating. It builds goodwill with the communities that host our events.
“Most importantly, it helps us leave the venue better than we found it.”
And leaving a fishery cleaner than it started is particularly important to McKinney Christian Academy senior Matthew Free, who plans to pursue a degree in Marine Fisheries. “I'd like to join a fishing team in college and if we all want to keep fishing for years to come, keeping our lakes healthy and clean is essential.”
2020 Bassmaster Elite Series Platinum Sponsor: Toyota
2020 Bassmaster Elite Series Premier Sponsors: Abu Garcia, Berkley, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Power-Pole, Ranger Boats, Skeeter Boats, Talon, Yamaha
2020 Bassmaster Elite Series Supporting Sponsors: Bass Pro Shops, Carhartt, Garmin, Huk Performance Fishing, Mossy Oak Fishing, Rapala
2020 Bassmaster Elite Series Conservation Partners:AFTCO, Huk
B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport, providing cutting edge content on bass fishing whenever, wherever and however bass fishing fans want to use it. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 515,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (Bassmaster.com), television show (The Bassmasters on ESPN2 and The Pursuit Channel), radio show (Bassmaster Radio), social media programs and events. For more than 50 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.
The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, Basspro.com Bassmaster Opens Series, TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Series, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors, Bassmaster Team Championship, new Huk Bassmaster B.A.S.S. Nation Kayak Series powered by TourneyX presented by Abu Garcia and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Classic.