Who Will Catch a 13-Pound+ ShareLunker Bass This Year?
SAN ANGELO, TX — The 32th season of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) Toyota ShareLunker program will begin October 1.
Anyone legally catching a 13-pound or bigger largemouth bass from Texas waters, public or private, between October 1 and April 30 may submit the fish to the Toyota ShareLunker program.
There are several reservoirs in West Texas and near San Angelo that have that yielded ShareLunker bass over the past few years. O.H. Ivie, near Ballinger and Amistad in Val Verde County north of Del Rio have produced good numbers of the record setting fish. Even San Angelo’s Twin Buttes reservoir has produced a ShareLunker.
Large fish production has recently fallen at both reservoirs, but biologists are confident that the big bass run could continue at any time.
WATCH - In pursuit of a ShareLunker Bass in Texas:
ShareLunker entries that genetic testing shows are pure Florida largemouth bass are used in a selective breeding program at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center (TFFC) in Athens. Offspring from ShareLunker that spawn are stocked into each waterbody that produces and entry during the season. Some offspring may be used for research, while others may be retained by the hatchery system for use as future brooders, says the TPWD.
The angler catching each fish decides what will happen to it following its use by TPWD. Most anglers choose to return the fish to the waterbody where it was caught. Some donate the fish to TPWD for display at TFFC.
Fish that are intergrades, or hybrids of Florida and northern largemouth bass, are not used for spawning and are returned to the waterbody where caught as soon as possible. Genetic testing of ShareLunker entries shows that pure Florida largemouth bass have as much as 18 times greater chance of producing a 13-pound offspring as intergrades do. Limited capacity at TPWD hatcheries requires using all available pond space for the offspring of pure Florida fish.
Anglers entering fish into the Toyota ShareLunker program receive a free replica of their fish, a certificate and ShareLunker clothing and are recognized at a banquet at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens. The person who catches the season’s largest entry will be named Angler of the Year and will receive a G. Loomis rod, Shimano reel and PowerPro line combination. If the Angler of the Year is a Texas resident, that person also receives a lifetime Texas fishing license.
Prizes and funding for the banquet are provided by Toyota, which also provides a Tundra pickup truck for use in picking up and returning the majority of lunkers and their offspring.
ShareLunker catches can be reported 24 hours a day, seven days a week during the season, by calling (903) 681-0550. If poor cellphone service prevents use of the voice number, anglers can leave a phone number (including area code) at (888) 784-0600. That number is also monitored 24/7 during the season.