AUSTIN (KXAN) — If you catch a bass stricken with Blotchy Bass Syndrome, you might be able to win Bass Pro Shops gift card because of it.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is encouraging anglers to take photos of their fish that show signs of BBS and submit them through the end of the year to be eligible for prizes from Bass Pro Shops.

The outdoor sporting goods company is partnering with West Virginia University and the U.S. Geological Survey to encourage anglers across the country to report BBS to help support their research.

BBS is linked to a virus and produces black, ink-like spots on the skin of freshwater bass species. It’s been documented in 18 states, including Texas, according to TPWD. Although it’s associated with a virus, TPWD said the fish appear to be OK and actively feed. They are also safe to eat, when properly cooked, the department said.

Gift cards for weekly drawings are up for grabs if you participate, and $3,000 alone in gift cards has been set aside specifically for anglers in Texas.

Anglers should use the MyCatch app to report BBS, but to be eligible for Texas-specific prizes, anglers must email the following to

  • Photos of their fish with BBS symptoms
  • Name of the body of water where the fish was caught
  • Date of the catch

Each fish submitted equals one entry for the prize drawings, so if you submit more than one fish, you are eligible for multiple prizes.

You can continue submitting photos through Dec. 31. Prize drawings will happen during three weeks: Jan. 9 -13, 16-20, 23-27.