ATHENS – The Texas Freshwaters Fisheries Center (TFFC) will be the site of “The Sunfish Showdown” tournament slated for September 25. The event, held in conjunction with National Hunting and Fishing Day, will run from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and provide fun for the whole family.
“The sunfish showdown is our way of celebrating our states’ rich hunting and fishing heritage through teaching opportunities and fun bluegill fishing, which are many folk’s first fish,” said TFFC event coordinator Katelyn Barkalow. “This event is supported by several of our Texas Parks and Wildlife Department team members showcasing their hard work to protect our natural resources in different ways from fish hatcheries to law enforcement so that we may continue to pass down these Texas traditions.”
The Sunfish Showdown tournament is a mentor-based fishing tournament where a child is teamed up with an adult to participate in the event. Prizes for the biggest fish, most fish caught, and smallest fish caught will be awarded following the tournament. In addition, attendees will have an opportunity to win some hourly door prizes.
The TFFC will also celebrate hunting that day by hosting a hunters education class on site, which requires pre-registration to participate. Texas Game Wardens will be on hand to help and “Lone Star Law” will also be making an appearance at this year’s event.
“The Sunfish Showdown is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate our fishing and hunting traditions while openly welcoming all Texans to come enjoy, experience, and learn about fishing, aquatic outdoor recreation, and our state’s diverse aquatic resources available and on display throughout the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center,” said Tom Lang, Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center Director. “There’s nothing we love more at TFFC than connecting new people from all walks of life to the diversity of Texas’ fisheries resources and recreational opportunities.”
The TFFC is located in Athens and includes a working fish hatchery, numerous aquariums focusing on underwater wildlife in the state’s freshwaters and is home to the Toyota ShareLunker program, which invites anglers to donate thirteen-pound-plus-sized largemouth bass for research and breeding purposes. The TFFC also houses the Texas Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame which honors individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to freshwater fishing in Texas.
The Texas Game Warden museum, where visitors can learn about the history and current TPWD game warden operations, is also located at the TFFC. In addition, the TFFC also facilitates the annual Fish Art Contest in Texas which is part of a conservation education program designed to spark the imaginations of students while providing valuable lessons about fish and the importance of conserving Texas’ aquatic resources.
Current operating hours at the TFFC are Wednesday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Guests are encouraged to wear masks, maintain appropriate social distances from others outside their party, and use hand sanitizer and wash their hands regularly.