It’s time for another edition of Short Casts, taking a look at a collection of outdoors news items from around the Red River Valley.
Free Fishing Days: This weekend marks the beginning of the annual National Fishing and Boating Week celebration across the country. That June 2-10, 2018 event includes a number of states offering free fishing days to resident and non-resident anglers.
In Oklahoma, which became the first state in the nation to offer such free fishing days some 35 years ago, the Sooner State’s Free Fishing Weekend is Saturday, June 2 and Sunday, June 3.
South of the Red River in Texas, the Lone Star State will hold its annual Free Fishing Day on Saturday, June 2.
For information on free fishing days, visit the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation website at www.wildlifedepartment.com, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website at www.tpwd.texas.gov or the National Fishing and Boating Week website at www.takemefishing.org .
TPW Commission Moves: At its regular May meeting last Thursday, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission finalized hunting dates for the 2018-19 seasons along with adopting a number of new hunting regulations.
One move that drew a lot of attention involved rules that the Commission had originally approved back in March, the use of air guns and air bows to take certain game animals, game birds, alligators, and furbearers.
After a few weeks of reevaluation, the Commission rescinded its earlier approval, asking TPWD staff to modify their recommendations on air gun and air bow hunting, coming up with new potential rules by the Commission meeting in August.
The Commission also approved shortening the Eastern spring turkey season by one week next year, running from April 22-May 14, 2019. That will take place in all counties remaining open for hunting under the Eastern turkey regulations package, including Grayson, Fannin and Lamar counties.
Finally, the Commission also moved to simplify archery hunting regulations by removing requirements for broadhead hunting points to have two cutting edges and a cutting width of 7/8 of an inch. The Commission also simplified crossbow hunting regulations by removing a minimum pull requirement of 125 pounds and the minimum stock length of 25 inches.
3-D Archery in Denison: Dakota Stowers reports that the weekly 3-D Archery Shoots at the Rockin’ S Archery Range are in full swing for the summer months.
The 3-D shoots are held every Tuesday evening at 42 Stowers Lane in Denison and are scheduled this month for June 5, 12, 19, and 26. For info, visit the Rockin’ S Archery Range Facebook page or call 903-815-2867.
Bassmaster Elite Series in Texas: As the Bassmaster Elite Series tour prepares to wrap up its 2018 tournament schedule in southern states, the latest winner on the Elite Series is Drew Benton, a 30-year old B.A.S.S. pro from Panama City, Fla.
Benton used a Bagley Knocker B walking topwater bait to claim the recent 2018 Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest tournament on Lake Travis near Austin. In topping runner-up angler Jason Wheeler, Benton used a final day limit of five bass weighing 16 pounds, 15 ounces to post a four-day tally of 67 pounds, 15 ounces.
That was good enough for Benton to claim his first Elite Series title, an automatic berth in the 2019 Bassmaster Classic, and the $100,000 top prize.
During the Texas Fest event, Mississippi B.A.S.S. pro Cliff Pace landed the derby’s heavyweight bass, a 10.5-pound first-day Lake Travis lunker. That was good enough for the 2013 Classic champ to earn a brand new Toyota Tundra pick-up truck.
Finally, before the Elite Series pros head up north for this summer’s remaining schedule in smallmouth bass country, they will visit Texas one final time for a June 7-10 derby at the Sabine River next week near Orange, Texas.
That event was originally scheduled for April 6-9, but heavy rains, high water, and unsafe boating conditions in the Sabine River watershed forced B.A.S.S. officials to postpone the event.
Big Bass News: ODWC has announced that Jonathan Bowling recently caught the 13th biggest largemouth bass in Oklahoma angling history at Broken Bow Lake. The big largemouth weighed 13 pounds, 11.2 ounces., was 27 inches long, and had a girth of 21 inches. Incidentally, the bass is the second Top 20 largemouth caught at Broken Bow this year.
Finally, veteran Lake Fork guide Randy Oldfield continued his big fish mastery a couple of weeks ago on the first night fishing trip that he took out this year.
Oldfield, who has seen double digit numbers of ShareLunker sized bass come into his boat from his own catches and those of clients, reported on Facebook last month that he notched another 13-pound plus bass.
Oldfield landed the 13.25-pound Lake Fork largemouth on a Santone Rattling Jig. The big bass guide then weighed and photographed the ShareLunker sized fish before releasing it back into Fork.