Faron McCain of Sweetwater, Texas caught a 14.94 pound largemouth bass on April 14, 2011 at Lake O.H. Ivie. The Texas Parks and Wildlife ShareLunker Program was dispatched to the Concho Park Marina to document and transport the bass to their hatchery in Athens, Tx.
McCain’s fish was the third largest ShareLunker Program fish of the year, which runs from October 1 through April 30. Sean Swank of De Berry, Tx has the largest bass, weighing in at 16.07 pounds, caught in Caddo Lake.
As of April 15, seven largemouth bass have been caught at O.H. Ivie. Following 2010 when eight were entered in for last year's contest.
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 by calling program manager David Campbell at (903) 681-0550 or paging him at (888) 784-0600 and leaving a phone number including area code. Fish will be picked up by TPWD personnel within 12 hours.
ShareLunker entries are used in a selective breeding program at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center (TFFC) in Athens. Some of the offspring from these fish are stocked back into the water body from which they were caught. Other ShareLunker offspring are stocked in public waters around the state in an attempt to increase the overall size and growth rate of largemouth bass in Texas.
McCain will receive a fiberglass replica of the catch made by Lake Fork Taxidermy, ShareLunker clothing, and recognition at an annual awards banquet held at Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center.
The person who catches the season’s largest entry will be named Angler of the Year and will receive a prize package from G. Loomis valued at $818. The package includes a G. Loomis NRX854C jig and worm rod, a Shimano ChronarchD1007 casting reel and 150 yards of moss green Power Pro super-braid fishing line. If a Texas angler catches the largest entry of the season, that person also receives a lifetime fishing license.
For complete information and rules of the ShareLunker program, tips on caring for big bass, a list of official Toyota ShareLunker weigh and holding stations and a recap of last year’s season, see www.tpwd.state.tx.us/sharelunker . The site also includes a searchable database of all fish entered into the program along with pictures where available.
Information on current catches, including short videos of interviews with anglers when available, is posted on www.facebook.com/sharelunkerprogram .
The Toyota ShareLunker Program is made possible by a grant to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation from Gulf States Toyota. Toyota is a long-time supporter of the Foundation and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, providing major funding for a wide variety of education, fish, parks and wildlife projects.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife ShareLunker Program was established in 1986 to promote catch-and-release of large fish and to selectively breed trophy largemouth bass to stock Texas lakes.