The cold temperatures were biting, but so were the fish in Luminant’s recent Veterans Bass Classic appreciation event. Held at Big Brown Mine’s reclaimed B Area, which boasts a 112 surface-acre research lake, the event lured in more than just fish, but also camaraderie for nearly 25 veterans from across Texas.
“Luminant is a proud military supporter and when Jim Dixon, retired vice president of gas plant operations, suggested we open our lake to veterans for a day of fishing, we jumped at the idea,” said Gerry Pearson, Luminant southern region vice president of mining. “We were honored to welcome the veterans to our site and show them just how much we care and thank them for their service. Seeing their genuine excitement to catch fish and build relationships was truly special.”
Hosted in partnership with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, along with Veteran Xtreme Adventures and the Crocket Retreat Center, the day provided a rare opportunity for attendees to catch and release bass at the research lake. Veterans were split into 10 different boats and in a span of eight hours caught more than 1,000 largemouth bass and crappie.
More important than the actual fishing was the friendship according to Andy Boyd, Veteran Xtreme Adventures chaplain. “Today is an awesome opportunity for guys to just get away for a while and spend some time together,” Boyd said. “To have an organization that actually supports, encourages and thanks the veterans for what they have done, it’s huge. It’s more than just lip service.”
Following the event, it was determined that the largest bass weighed 10.8 pounds, which is also the largest bass caught to date at the lake.
“Our lake is used as a genetic field testing site for largemouth bass research as a part of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s ShareLunker program,” said Sid Stroud, Luminant environmental mining director. “The lake is ideal for research because it’s a relatively new body of water without a lot of vegetation and other fish species. TPWD is attempting to grow larger bass through their testing and it’s exciting to know that one of these veterans could catch a record-breaking fish.”
Big Brown Mine’s B Area was mined from 1996 to 2001 and a post-mine land-use plan was developed based on pre-mine and post-mine factors, including vegetation, region, topography, soil type and local economic trends. Today, more than 15,000 acres that have been reclaimed at the mine support a diverse mix of vegetation types and water resources.