Archive for July 24th, 2015

TPW TV: A Fish Called Ethel

Friday, July 24th, 2015
The big girl who started it all: Ethel

The big girl who started it all: Ethel

This is Passport to Texas

Ethel was a big girl from Lake Fork, and the first largemouth bass entered into the Sharelunker program in 1986.

06— And if you’d ever seen a picture of Ethel, she was as big around as she was long.

The Sharelunker program works to improve and grow bigger largemouth bass. Ethel was a 17.67-pounder caught and donated by fishing guide, Marks Stevenson. She served the program well, and changed the face of bass fishing in Texas

Former Director of Inland Fisheries, Phil Durocher, says bass fishing in Texas was very different before Ethel.

17— Back before ’86, bass fishing was primarily fish caught for food. People kept the big fish, and released the little fish. And we realized the larger fish were so valuable that we had to change the direction from a consumptive sport to recreation.

They brought Ethel to the Tyler fish hatchery where her survival was touch and go, says David Campbell, who oversaw the Sharelunker program from the beginning until his retirement in 2012.

13— This fish did not eat for a long time. My concern was if this fish died, it may kill the whole program. And I spent hours at night with a sunfish or something on a string and dangling it in front of her and she just sort of was sitting there looking at it.

She eventually, and literally spawned the success of the Sharelunker program. Learn more about Ethel and her legacy in a segment next week on the PBS Texas Parks and Wildlife TV series. Check your local listings.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.