ATHENS, TX – Anglers added two more Legacy Lunkers to the 2021 Toyota ShareLunker season totals over the weekend. The run at O.H. Ivie powered on, reaching double digits with 10 Legacy Lunkers this year courtesy of ShareLunker 603 Friday. On Saturday, Lake Tyler made a huge splash with ShareLunker 604, recording the first ever entry for the lake in the ShareLunker program.
Jimmy Faulkner of Carlsbad, New Mexico logged the 10th Legacy Lunker at O.H. Ivie when he reeled in ShareLunker 603 Friday evening. Once on the scales, the fish registered at 13.06 pounds, a new personal record for Faulkner in terms of largemouth bass. It was Faulkner’s first-time fishing at O.H. Ivie in about six years and his return trip this past weekend paid off.
“My uncle and I came down to fish the Sun Country Tournament and on the practice day, were trying to figure out fish locations,” said Faulkner. “We landed two smaller fish and then I took a swimbait, pitched it up into a tree, swam it out, and she hit it. Initially I thought I was snagged in a tree with the way the pole bent. The fish fought so hard I had to use my thumb on the spool because the drag wasn’t enough. I was trying to keep her from going down in the trees, but when we finally got her to the boat it was awesome. I’ve been fishing for a double digit for many years, and this catch was an amazing one to accomplish that goal. The ShareLunker program is outstanding, and it was great to be a part of it as well. It’s something every state needs to do with their fisheries.”
Angler James Crawford of Whitehouse, Texas put Lake Tyler on the board in a big way on Saturday with ShareLunker 604. The Legacy Lunker weighed in at 15.44-pounds, the second largest of the season behind only Joe McKay’s 16.40-pound ShareLunker 590 from O.H. Ivie back in February. Crawford’s Lunker was the fourth to register at over 15 pounds for the 2021 season. In addition, it shattered the previous Lake Tyler record by over 2.5 pounds and became Crawford’s personal best. His previous one weighed 10.73-pounds.
“We were fishing a tournament and got the first cast out around 7 a.m. that morning,” said Crawford. “Due to the fog, I wasn’t able to get up to my normal spot at the north end of the lake but stopped at a spot I had fished in the past. However, I had done well at this spot before and on the third cast I landed this Legacy Lunker on a jig. I immediately knew it was a giant fish, just didn’t know initially if it was a largemouth bass or catfish. Once it came up and stuck its head out of the water, that’s when things got nerve racking as the fight was on at that point. I’ve caught fish before that just gave up once the hook was set and came right to the boat, but that wasn’t the case with this one. It took a bit to land her, but once I got her in the boat, I knew it was likely the lake record, but had no idea it was going to be in the 15-pound range. It was certainly an exciting day.”
After being notified by the anglers, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) Inland Fisheries biologists quickly obtained and transported the ShareLunkers to the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens, Texas. This spring, TPWD biologists will attempt to spawn it in an effort to make bigger, better bass that will enhance fishing in Texas lakes for years to come.
“The 2021 season continues to break new ground for the ShareLunker Program,” said Kyle Brookshear, Toyota ShareLunker program coordinator. “One more fish was added from O.H. Ivie and Lake Tyler made its way into the program with its first ever Legacy Class entry, shattering the previous lake record by over 2.5 pounds this past weekend. With still one week left in the collection season, we are eager to see what the final number of Legacy Lunkers will be.”
During the first three months of the season (Jan. 1 through March 31), anglers who reel in a 13+ pound bass can loan it to TPWD for the ShareLunker selective breeding and stocking program. These anglers can call the ShareLunker hotline at (903) 681-0550 to report their catch 24/7 until April 1, 2021.
Anglers who catch and donate one of these 13+ lunkers earn Legacy Class status, receive a catch kit filled with merchandise, a 13lb+ Legacy decal for their vehicle or boat, VIP access to the Toyota ShareLunker Annual Awards event and a high-quality replica of their lunker fish. These anglers will also receive entries into two separate drawings; a Legacy Class Drawing and the year-end Grand Prize Drawing. Both drawings will award the winner a $5,000 Bass Pro Shops shopping spree and an annual fishing license.
Anglers who enter data for any lunker they catch greater than 8 lbs. or 24 inches during the calendar year 2021 also receive a catch kit, a decal for their vehicle or boat and an entry into the year-end Grand Prize Drawing to win a $5,000 Bass Pro Shops shopping spree and annual fishing license. ShareLunker entry classes include the Lunker Class (8lb+), Elite Class (10lb+), and Legend Class (13lb+).
Once a lunker is reeled in, anglers need to enter the catch data on the Toyota ShareLunker mobile app – available for free from the Apple App Store and Google Play – or on the Toyota ShareLunker online app at TexasSharelunker.com. In addition to providing basic catch information, anglers can also provide a DNA scale sample from their lunker bass to TPWD researchers for genetic analysis.
The Toyota ShareLunker Program is made possible in part by the generous sponsorship of Toyota. Toyota is a longtime supporter of Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation and TPWD, providing major funding for a wide variety of fisheries, state parks and wildlife projects.
Prize donors Bass Pro Shops, Lake Fork Taxidermy, American Fishing Tackle Co. and Stanley Jigs also provide additional support for this program. For updates on the Toyota ShareLunker Program, visit facebook.com/sharelunkerprogram/ or TexasSharelunker.com .
For pictures of all of the Legacy Class ShareLunkers caught during the 2021 season, visit the TPWD Flickr album here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmTzg7fF.