ATHENS, TX – Anglers delivered three more Legacy Lunkers last Tuesday followed by a fourth Sunday during the final weekend of the 2021 Toyota ShareLunker season. Tuesday marked the second triple Lunker day of the season, with O.H. Ivie producing the first two Lunkers of the day, extending an incredible run that has bumped the season total for that lake to 12.
Tuesday was capped by another lake record and first-time entry into the ShareLunker program for Eagle Mountain Lake. It was also the fifth Lunker this season to set a new water body record. Then on Sunday, Lake Fork notched its second Legacy Lunker of the 2021 campaign and boasted the fifth fish to weigh over 15 pounds in this historic season.
Angler Jeff Windham of Brownwood, Texas got the day rolling with Legacy ShareLunker 605 at O.H. Ivie. The fish weighed in at 13.65 pounds when Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) personnel placed it on the scales.
“My fishing partner, David Duncan and I were pre-fishing Ivie for an upcoming Media team tournament,” said Windham. “On the way over there, he said we should probably get the dip net out of the rod box- “just in case”. Of course, we forgot to. I pitched a strike king rage bug into a tree in about 6 to 8 feet of water. She grabbed it and swam off with it. When I set the hook, she headed straight back for the tree, but luckily, I was able to keep her out. After what seemed like five minutes of trying, David finally got her lipped and into the boat. The owners of Concho marina and the TPWD guys were all great. Thanks for a great program!”
Later that day, O.H. Ivie was back on the board when angler Greg Denison of Brownwood, Texas landed Legacy ShareLunker 606. The Legacy Lunker had a recorded weight of 13.21 pounds, making it the 12th Legacy Lunker of the year for the lake. It matched a record season high for O.H. Ivie, which also had 12 entries back in 2010.
“My son and I headed out on Tuesday after seeing a favorable weather forecast for that day,” said Denison. “Early on, I saw a big fish swirl at the lure, but didn’t get a bite on it. After a few more tries and no luck, we decided to move on to a different spot and return later. We came back and I saw the male that was around her earlier swim off while the big female I saw swirl earlier was on the bed. I tried different baits and hooks and still couldn’t bring her in. I eventually went to a 6/0 Ownerbeast hook and put on a 4.5 inch shadalicious shad color swimbait. I flipped it past her so I wouldn’t alarm her since she was facing straight at me. As the lure got closer, she turned right, and I put the lure in front of her face. I set the hook as hard as I could, and the fight began. She tried to wrap me up in salt cedar trees in the water, but I managed to keep her out of them, and the fish fought like nothing I’d ever seen. Finally, I got her to the boat and my son netted her, and we knew she would be close to being a ShareLunker. It was one of the best days of fishing in my whole life and a once in a lifetime experience that I will never forget.”
Due to the 10 ShareLunker’s already donated by anglers from O.H. Ivie for selective spawning and broodstock development along with limited space in the Lunker Bunker, the decision was made to not transport these fish from O.H. Ivie to the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center. TPWD biologists certified and collected catch and genetic information on these fish to help further evaluate and direct future stocking and management efforts. Because of the angler’s willingness to donate and coordinate with TPWD to provide this valuable data, they will receive all prizes and accolades associated with the Legacy Class, including a fiberglass replica of their Lunkers.
Angler Donald Moore capped the day by reeling in the Eagle Mountain Lake record Legacy ShareLunker 607. The fish weighed 13.08 pounds, became the fifth Lunker to break a waterbody record this season, and was the 22nd overall ShareLunker for the 2021 campaign.
“I was fishing a Tuesday night tournament on Eagle Mountain lake,” said Moore. “Since the tournament is only a three-hour event, sight fishing is not really the ideal technique in such a short tournament due to the time it can take to get a big female to bite. Therefore, I decided to go to a spot I knew would have several males searching for bedding areas and easier to catch. I was shocked to see a six-pounder on a bed immediately and I flipped on her and caught her. I went down the bank about 100 feet and saw a fish that I thought was about 9 or 10 pounds. As soon as I saw how she was positioned, I knew immediately that she was catchable. I flipped on her three times with a white Zoom Speed Craw and she smoked it. A 13-pound class female is a battle in two feet of water, but fortunately for me, my good friend Tanner Worley netted her, and we realized she was a lot bigger than 10 pounds. My hat is off to this program made possible by the Inland Fisheries personnel at TPWD.”
Tanner Spurgin of McKinney, Texas reeled in Sunday’s Legacy Lunker at Lake Fork, catapulting him to a Bass Champs Inc Mega Bass Tournament Championship. ShareLunker 608 tipped the scales at 15.27-pounds and in addition to being the fifth fish over 15 pounds this year, became the 23rd overall in the 2021 season. It was also a personal best for Spurgin in terms of largemouth bass.
“Things happen for a reason as I was wanting to fish the first cut that I had found the other day,” said Spurgin. “It didn’t work out to be in that location, so I moved on to a second cut and worked the banks looking for fish on beds. I actually passed the spot twice where the fish ended up being caught, before seeing the fish pull up high in the water column. I could tell it was a bigger fish but wasn’t sure what size it really was. I could tell it was on a bed and locked down but couldn’t see which way the fish was facing. I finally hit it with my bait, saw it turn, gills flash, and it hit my bait. I set the hook and unfortunately it came out at the top of the water. I reeled in and flipped right back in there at the same spot and when she hit the bait, I set the hook again. The battle began and she fought hard, shooting under the boat. It was all I could do to hang on to my rod and about the time my rod and reel were about to break, it turned and came back to the other side of the boat. Somehow the line cleared the trolling motor, the fish came up to the side of the boat, did a couple head shakes and my buddy netted it. I was shocked at how big it was when we got it on the boat and back to the scales. It also was great to see the fish care and be a part of the outstanding ShareLunker program. This was certainly an experience of a lifetime.”
After being notified by Moore and Spurgin, TPWD Inland Fisheries biologists quickly obtained and transported the ShareLunker 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 collection season has been phenomenal!,” said Kyle Brookshear, Toyota ShareLunker program coordinator. “Not only has the overall size of these Lunkers been above average but the number of them being collected has made this the best spring collection season since 1995! We are thankful for the support and partnership from Texas anglers. This strong partnership between anglers and the agency is paramount to the success of the ShareLunker Program. Because of this we are able to continue improving our stocking and management efforts to make bass fishing in Texas bigger and better for generation to come.”
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 .