TPWD’s Youngest Elite Angler

Keatyn Eitelman of Pottsboro became Texas’ 25th Elite Freshwater Angler—and the state’s youngest—on August 2, 2013, less than two weeks before his eleventh birthday. He finished this task when he caught a 21.25-inch, 5.5-pound largemouth bass from Lake Texoma on July 23 and submitted it for a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Big Fish Award.

11-year-old Keatyn Eitelman is Texas's youngest elite angler. (Photo by TPWD)

11-year-old Keatyn Eitelman is Texas’s youngest elite angler. (Photo by TPWD)

An Elite Angler is a one-time achievement award for an angler who catches trophy-class fish of five different species, and it’s the perfect pursuit for those who enjoy RV camping in Texas State Parks. There are freshwater and saltwater categories. To be eligible, an angler must earn five freshwater or five saltwater Big Fish Awards. A Big Fish Award is given for a fish meeting or exceeding a minimum length for each species.

Keatyn began his quest on November 28, 2012, when he caught a blue catfish measuring 39.25 inches from Lake Texoma.  Encouraged by his father, Nailen, Keatyn proceeded to collect Big Fish Awards from Lake Texoma for white bass (16.5 inches, December 2, 2012), smallmouth bass (18.5 inches, December 11, 2012), and his largemouth bass.  He also caught a white crappie (18.25 inches) from Lake Fork on March 10, 2013.

The fishing can be good at South Padre. And the sunrise isn't bad either. Photo by Earl Nottingham, TPWD

The fishing can be good at South Padre. And the sunrise isn’t bad either. Photo by Earl Nottingham, TPWD

TPWD offers plenty of prime RV camping spots statewide, and many ways to be recognized as an angler: state and water body records by weight, catch and release records by length, First Fish Awards, Outstanding Angler, Big Fish Awards, and Elite Angler. Visit http://tpwd.texas.gov/fishrecords for all the listings and an application.

 

If you catch a fish you think qualifies, remember to take good pictures of the fish to aid in identification. If the award is based on length, one of the pictures must show the fish on a ruler. Don’t forget to take pictures of yourself holding the fish, too. You’ll want them for TPWD, and it would be fun to post them for your RV friends on Camper Clinic’s Facebook page too!

Your local TPWD fisheries biologist will be happy to help you obtain forms, identify your catch and weigh it on a certified scale. Search for the biologist nearest you at http://tpwd.texas.gov/fishboat/fish/management/biologist/.

Some grocery stores will weigh fish for you, and bait shops or feed stores may have certified scales. Locations of certified scales can be found at https://tpwd.texas.gov/fishboat/fish/programs/fishrecords/scales.phtml.

Official Toyota ShareLunker Program Weigh and Holding Stations also have certified scales; locations are listed at http://tpwd.texas.gov/spdest/visitorcenters/tffc/sharelunker/holding/. The fish must be weighed within 3 days of the catch. However, weigh the fish as soon as possible to prevent any weight loss due to regurgitation or dehydration.

If you’re working on your saltwater categories, be sure to visit Camper Clinic in Rockport for all your RV needs. Or if you’re fishing the Hill Country lakes, drop by Camper Clinic II in Buda. We’re here to help you with all your RV needs so you can stay focused on the fish!

RV Camping at your Favorite Swimming Hole

Take your RV to your favorite Swimming Hole!

Tubing on the Blanco River. (Photo: Texas Parks and Wildlife)

Tubing on the Blanco River. (Photo: Texas Parks and Wildlife)

With temperatures around the state hitting the 90’s and 100’s, our friends at Texas Parks and Wildlife just reminded us that there are lots of great swimming opportunities while you’re RV camping in Texas State Parks.

From spring-fed rivers, to Hill Country lakes (near our Camper Clinic II store in Buda), to the Gulf (don’t forget to visit Camper Clinic RV Super Center in Rockport!), you can play in the water and keep cool while getting back to nature.

In the Austin area, state parks such as McKinney Falls, Inks Lake and Pedernales Falls offer an array of rivers and lakes in the heart of the Hill Country.

Swimming at Garner State Park

Fun times at Garner State Park! (Photo: TPWD)

In East Texas near Houston, Huntsville State Park and Lake Livingston State Park are ideal destinations for river and lake swimming. If wading close to shore on the open ocean seems more ideal, Galveston Island State Park offers beach access to the Gulf of Mexico.

Near Dallas, Eisenhower State Park, Fairfield Lake State Park and Lake Mineral Wells State Park and Trailway offer park visitors a chance to swim in the soothing waters of those lakes, cool off and enjoy a break from the bustle of the city.

In the San Antonio area, Guadalupe River State Park and Palmetto State Park give park visitors a chance to go for a dip and beat the south Texas heat.

In West Texas, Balmorhea State Park is the home of one of the world’s largest spring-fed pools, with water so clear that many people bring their snorkel gear to experience the underwater world first hand.

For a whole list of State Park RV camping facilities, swimming holes and swimming safety tips, visit the Texas Parks and Wildlife website.

Happy splashing!

RV Camping at Goose Island State Park

Enjoy RV Camping in Texas at Goose Island State Park

Deer at entrance at Goose Island State ParkFor the past four days, I’ve spent my evenings enjoying Gulf breezes in the shade of oaks, and waking up to the sounds of cicadas in Goose Island State Park.

Located on Aransas Bay just 15 minutes east of Rockport, the park offers hiking trails that wind through oak groves, RV camping in woodland or bayside campsites, fishing from the park’s piers (or even from your campsite!), and extraordinary bird watching opportunities in the marsh areas.

Pelicans at Goose Island state park

Goose Island State Park Fishing Pier

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fishing from RV campsite at Goose Island State Park

 

While you’re in the area, be sure to visit Rockport. You’ll find great places to eat, like Charlotte Plummers, Moondog Seaside Eatery, or  The Daily Grind, which is the best place for a coffee or lunch break when you’re exploring the art galleries in the Historic District. (Hint: the quiches get rave reviews!) For more ideas on places to go and things to do, visit the Rockport-Fulton website!

Rockport may be best known for its annual HummerBird Celebration. This year, the event celebrates its 25th Anniversary, and is scheduled for September 12-15.

Here are a few tips for RV camping at Goose Island State Park:

1. The oaks grow close to the road and close tightly around many of the campsites. (You’ll see lots of reflectors marking the branches that are likely to nip your RV.) Call the park in advance and make sure you’re comfortable that your rig will fit.

The Big Tree at Goose Island State Park2. Take a bicycle. Goose Island State Park is large, and it’s fun to cycle along Lantana Loop, Warbler Way, or Redfish Road.

3. Don’t miss the “Big Tree.” It’s located about a mile east of Goose Island State Park. It’s the State Champion Coastal Live Oak, and it’s more than 1,000 years old.

Whatever your favorite coastal activity may be, Goose Island State Park is a great home base for RV camping. Be sure to stop by and say hello to to the team at Camper Clinic if you need any supplies for your trip!

~ G. Elaine Acker

 

Sunset Resort RV Park Review, Lake Tawakoni, TX

Lakefront RV sites at Sunset Resort.

Lakefront RV sites at Sunset Resort.

Sunset Resort opened in 2012 and is situated on 15 acres on the southwestern side of Lake Tawakoni in East Texas (about 50 miles east of Dallas near Quinlan). RV sites here range from shady, interior sites in a woodland setting, to waterfront sites that offer expansive lake views.

Cabins are available for those not traveling in RVs.

Cabins are available for those not traveling in RVs.

The resort is located adjacent to a public boat ramp, and its facilities include gated access, laundry facilities, bath houses, and wi-fi. There are also nice cabins for any non-camping family members or friends.

Pavilion at Sunset ResortTheir brand new Pavilion (below) is perfect for family reunions or other events. The Acker family was lucky enough to be the first guests at the Pavilion, which offers a combination of fully air-conditioned as well as outdoor spaces. The kitchen is well organized, and although we spent a lot of time under the shade at picnic tables outside, it was great to be able to sit down together inside and have a meal without sweating and swatting flies.

Sunset view at Sunset Resort

Although you probably can’t tell from the sunset photo, the drought has left the lake about 8-10 feet low. But, there’s still plenty of deep water for fishing and water sports. Just make sure you stay in the deeper water and avoid the sandbars near shore.

My family and I loved the park and would definitely visit again. It’s peaceful, the people are friendly, and you get to enjoy gorgeous sunrises as well as sunsets.

~ G. Elaine Acker

Sunset Resort is just one of the many RV parks you can enjoy when you buy a travel trailer from Camper Clinic in Rockport, Texas, or Camper Clinic 2 in Buda, Texas. Go see what’s on the lot, and the friendly sales staff will help you find the right travel trailer, toy hauler, or fifth wheel for you!