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      Panhandle Spirit: State fishing records still up for grabs at Lake Meredith

      An angler showing off a catch. There are still some state records up for grabs.

      In its heyday, Lake Meredith had three times as much water and untold scores of fish, many of which are listed as state records with the Texas Wildlife and Parks Department.

      But did you know some of those records can still be had? Only about half the junior angler records have ever been recorded, and all categories are open under certain conditions.

      Fishing has long been one of the top ways to waste away a couple days, wetting your line, baiting a hook, and teaching kids the fine art of angling.

      But, did you also know that each lake or body of water in the state has its own set of records?

      For example, Lake Meredith has an even dozen records with the latest one being set in 2008 ranging from bass and trout to perch and walleye....but that's for all anglers. If you go to their website, and scroll down to the youth anglers under 17, only half of the species have been recorded, which means that six different fish records have never even been recorded, according to Ron Smith, a program specialist with the TPWD.

      "If no prior record exists, or someone doesn't turn in a bigger fish that record stands."

      Granted, some fish may no longer call the lake home like Rainbow trout which were introduced intermittingly over the years, but the yellow perch and sunfish has never been recorded by a young angler and when it comes to weight and records, size barely matters, according to Smith.

      "The only requirement is that for young anglers, it must be over 2 ounces and for adults, it must be over 8 ounces, or half a pound."

      But wait there's more to this story than just a half a dozen records for anglers under 17.

      For the most part, the records are by weight, but you can also have a new and seperate record if you measure by length and employ the catch and release method. So any fish caught under these circumstances and never recorded can also get you listed as a state record fisher-person.

      And each year at Lake Meredith, there's a Small Fry fishing tournament where a parent or guardian accompanies a young angler and owning a state record may only be a cast away. Win Bishop, a former game warden, is one of the major organizers of the tournament and thinks it's the perfect opportunity to haul in some record catches.

      "That would be tremendous! Parks and Wildlife will be at the weight in at our tournament and if it were to occur, the record would be recorded in the books.

      Depending on which age group you belong to and which method of measurement used, there are more than a few record fish waiting to add your name as a record angler to the Texas Parks and Wildlife ledger.

      "And these days, when both parents are working and it's difficult for the kids to have quality time with their parents or guardians, and this is one of those times we hope we can get them together for that action or memories I have and I feel the best memories they would have," added Bishop.

      So, it's never too late to wet your line and see if you can't catch that record perch or sunfish and hopefully the memories you create will last even longer than your record catch.