San Marcos, Texas — Longtime Texas B.A.S.S. Nation member Bobby Whiteside has been acknowledged for his academic work in fisheries by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD).
The retired university professor and fisheries biologist was inducted into the TWPD Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame during an induction ceremony on June 3 at the Texas Freshwater Fishing Center (TFFC). The Hall of Fame honors Texas individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to freshwater fishing in Texas. Whiteside has the distinction of being the first academic educator to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
“Before he retired he used to run one of the best aquatic biology programs in Texas, and the list of his students is extensive with many, many of whom have been in (the TWPD) in various capacities,” said Tim Cook, Texas Nation conservation director and TWPD Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame committee member. “So he has had a tremendous impact not only on the fishing world but in the education realm and how it has affected different state agencies and their staffing.” Cook said he has known Whiteside for 30 years as fellow members of the Canyon Bass Club.
Whiteside was a professor at Texas State University in the aquatic biology program and taught the fisheries segment of the program for 18 years until he retired in 2000. He is the author of numerous journal articles about Texas fish and the coauthor of the Freshwater Fishes of Texas book. The 76-year-old Whiteside has served on various committees of fisheries organizations, such as the Texas Chapter American Fisheries Society (AFS) and Southern Division/AFS, and done aquatic-related consulting for environmental consulting firms, the City of San Marcos, state agencies, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and private organizations.
His long list of academic achievements made him worthy of the Hall of Fame status, but Whiteside credits the accomplishments of his students and fellow faculty members he has worked with over the years for his Hall of Fame induction. “They have done a lot in this state as far as cleaning up the water,” Whiteside said. “If you don’t have good fish habitat you are not going to have much fish anyway.” Whiteside noted many of his students have worked for the TWPD, various river authorities, the TFFC and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Whiteside is also an accomplished bass angler who has qualified for four B.A.S.S. Nation divisionals since he joined the Canyon Bass Club in 1969. “I joined the club because I was always interested in fishing,” he said. “I loved to fish and happened to get into the (fisheries) field. I don't think there are too many biologists who really love fishing that much.”
The retired fisheries biologist has also been an active participant in his club’s conservation projects and has helped the club secure grants for habitat enhancement projects at LBJ and Canyon lakes.