BROOKELAND, Texas – As the Bass Pro Tour season began with B&W Trailer Hitches Stage One Presented by Power-Pole on Toledo Bend on Jan. 30, MLF pros Greg Vinson and Brent Chapman joined Texas Parks and Wildlife biologists and Tackle Warehouse Invitationals pro Kyle Cortiana to complete the first MLF Fisheries Management Division Minn Kota Habitat Restoration Project of 2024 on Sam Rayburn Reservoir. The project was supported by Kubota Tractor Corporation and featured MossBack Fish Habitat.
The volunteers constructed eight 60-inch Conservation Cubes, a dozen 60-inch Safe Haven XL’s and four John Godwin Crappie Towers. They were deployed in four areas using TPWD’s state-of-the-art habitat barge to create Bass Recovery Zones. Hammer Equipment of Jasper, Texas, supplied a B3350HSD Kubota tractor to aid the volunteers in loading the habitat onto the barge, while Lowe’s Home Improvement of Jasper (Store #1769) provided cinder blocks to weigh down each of the MossBack Habitats.
“We’re excited to partner with MLF and TPWD on the Sam Rayburn Reservoir project,” said Jim Jorgensen, Kubota Senior Advertising and Marketing Manager. “With ‘For Earth, For Life’ as Kubota’s concept for environmental stewardship, this habitat project leans into our core values as we aim to contribute to the realization of a sustainable society. It is a fitting example of the pride Kubota takes in having its equipment play a key role in contributing to a thriving global ecosystem – ultimately, helping to create a lasting positive impact on communities nationwide.”
Sam Rayburn is one of the world’s most popular bass fisheries. It has been estimated that there are more than 200 tournaments on the reservoir each year — roughly one tournament every four days. A high percentage of these tournaments take off from Umphrey Family Pavilion and boat ramps near the dam. Such tournaments result in fish being released from one of the two floating docks or just inside the island from a live release boat. These fish will likely stay within a couple miles of their release site for a full year. The Bass Recovery Zones created during the Minn Kota project will provide these fish with an immediate place to recover and feed.
“This project with Minn Kota and Kubota’s support is an excellent example of how we can support the bass-fishing community and improve reservoirs,” Chapman said. “While aging reservoirs continue to lose the original standing timber and aquatic vegetation varies year to year, MossBack artificial habitat provides a solution that will be in place for generations.”
Sam Rayburn and Umphrey Park will be home to the first stop of the 2024 Tackle Warehouse Invitationals starting Feb. 9. Thanks to the work of Minn Kota, Kubota, TPWD and the MLF angler volunteers, anglers will immediately get to see the habitat in use. This project was a great way to immediately improve Sam Rayburn Reservoir and highlight how important the fishing community is to Minn Kota, Kubota, MossBack Fish Habitat, Lowe’s and Major League Fishing.
Throughout 2024, Minn Kota and the Major League Fishing Fisheries Management Division will continue to improve habitat on fisheries using the Bass Recovery Zone model near popular tournament destinations.
The next Minn Kota Habitat Restoration Project – supported by the Kevin VanDam Foundation and MossBack Fish Habitat – will be March 18 on Alabama’s Lay Lake during REDCREST 2024.
For complete details and updated information on Major League Fishing and the MLF Fisheries Management Division, visit MajorLeagueFishing.com/fisheries-management. For regular updates, photos, tournament news and more, follow MLF’s social media outlets at Facebook, X, Instagram and YouTube.