A fisheries pioneer will be inducted into the Texas Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame

A fisheries pioneer will be inducted into the Texas Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame

“Pond Boss” Bob Lusk of Granbury will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2024. (Courtesy Photo)

Athens “Pond Boss” Bob Lusk of Granbury will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2024, the Texas Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame Committee announced.

Lusk has helped build the private fisheries industry in Texas and throughout the United States and is widely considered one of the nation’s top pond management experts, generously sharing knowledge and advice through the Pond Boss website, magazine, Facebook page, and online forum.

“Bob is a great asset to the state of Texas and has contributed greatly to the world of freshwater fishing and fisheries management,” Kelly Gordon, chair of the Texas Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame selection committee, said in a news release. “Bob is a leader in this industry and has selflessly given his time and expertise. His enthusiasm for being a good steward of resources, whether private or public, is extremely admirable. Bob has been resoundingly selected as a 2024 inductee and the Hall of Fame is proud to induct him.”

Lusk was born in Fort Worth, and at the age of 14, his family acquired land on the Brazos River between Granbury and Glen Rose. He found his passion for the water and the aquatic species that live there on this property and from then on Lusk knew he wanted to make a living working with fish. Lusk graduated from Texas A&M University in 1979 with a degree in aquaculture and fisheries management. Shortly after graduation, he rented a fish farm in Wichita Falls and started his own business.

Knowledge, strategies and protocols for fisheries were not yet in place when Lusk launched his project. He faced challenges head-on, accepted risks and forged the path forward. In 1981, Lusk began supplying fish to private pond owners through Soil Conservation Service districts, led by SCS (now NRCS) government biologist Gary Valentine. The program and business growth have enabled Lusk and many other companies to increase the availability of fish statewide. It also allowed Lusk to develop real-world management strategies that pond owners can use to maximize the potential of their fisheries.

Lusk fine-tuned pond storage and management over the next decade through trial, error and collaboration. Lusk helped launch Pond Boss magazine with founding editor Mark McDonald in 1992, a magazine that today has more than 3,500 subscribers in 42 states and six countries.

Lusk set out to convert many bodies of water from stock ponds to trophy fisheries. His innovations led to the development of fish foods with Purina Mills, giving pond owners options for feeding multiple sizes of fish and species beyond catfish. New feeding trends have created the fish feed industry.

He became editor of Pond Boss magazine in 2004, and under his guidance, the publication expanded beyond print to an online forum. Lusk facilitates conferences nationally and hosts a weekly live Q&A on the Pond Boss Facebook page. The Pond Boss community consists of tens of thousands of pond owners across the country, sharing knowledge and experience that improves all aspects of private water.

Lusk’s Texas firm conducts consulting projects for private fishery owners from New York to California. He has employed dozens of biologists, some of whom have set up their own lake management projects.

In addition to being the nation’s leading fisheries biologist and consultant, Lusk is an award-winning writer, author, and photographer. He served as president of the Texas Outdoor Writers Association (TOWA) and received the organization’s L.A. Wilke Award, TOWA’s most prestigious award.

Lusk freely gives his time and knowledge through multiple platforms, including a free discussion forum, where users from around the world ask questions and discuss pond management topics. He also hosts a free live podcast on the Pond Boss Facebook page and viewers can access a wealth of knowledge through videos on the Pond Boss YouTube channel.

Lusk gives back through the Bus Brigade Youth Leadership Camp every summer. He provides a copy of Pond Boss magazine to every student who attends, inspiring the next generation of fisheries biologists.

Lusk has received numerous honors and has had multiple publications throughout his career:

  • 2020 American Fisheries Society (AFS) Award for Excellence in Public Outreach
  • 2020 AFS Fisheries Management Division Hall of Distinction (first ever private pond manager inducted)
  • 2014 Best Outdoor Magazine with Circulation Under 25,000 by Texas Outdoor Writers Association
  • Bond Boss Magazine (over 3,500 subscribers)
  • Pond Boss online forum (over 16,500 registered users)
  • Bond Boss Resource Guide
  • Books: Basic Basin Management; Raise the cup bass. The perfect pond…want one? Beyond the Basics: Pond Management Basics
  • Texas Welk Award of the Outdoor Writers Association

“When I started working in private fisheries management 45 years ago, this tremendous honor never occurred to me,” Lusk said. “In fact, I’m still digesting and digesting it. It’s humbling to know, especially in a profession like this, that others recognize the work enough to nominate and then vote for it. It’s a wonderful and humbling experience that he will be honored in the Hall of Fame.”

The Texas Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame is located at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens. Its mission is “to recognize and honor those who have made a lasting contribution to Texas freshwater fishing, and to promote a sense of appreciation, awareness and participation in the sport of fishing.”

Since 1997, the Hall of Fame has inducted 38 individuals and organizations, including Wally “Mr. “Crabbie” Marshall in 2023. Lusk will be inducted as the 39th member during a ceremony at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in October.

Nominations are accepted throughout the year, and forms and instructions are available online or by calling (903) 676-2277.

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