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Full Moon Brings Flood of Toyota ShareLunkers
ATHENS — Three lakes-Austin, Amistad and O.H. Ivie-spit out Toyota ShareLunkers February 27, the day before the full moon.
Carl Adkins of San Marcos led off the action with Toyota ShareLunker 481, a 13.1-pounder from Lake Austin. Adkins was fishing near the Loop 360 bridge in seven to 12 feet of 51-degree water with a soft plastic lure. The catch came at 6:45 a.m.
ShareLunker program manager and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department information specialist Larry Hodge were on their way to pick up the fish when the phone rang at mid-morning with news of the Lake Amistad catch. Teddy Silcox of Del Rio landed a 13.02-pounder, Toyota ShareLunker 482, from 28 feet of 52-degree water. He was using a Boudreaux bait.
Fish lightning struck a third time while Campbell was charging the hauling tank with water from Lake Austin. Randy Jackson of Mineral Wells caught a 13.03-pound ShareLunker, No. 483, from O.H. Ivie Reservoir. He was fishing in three feet of 43-degree water with a black and blue Easy Jig.
"At that point David Campbell and I were hoping the phone would ring again and hoping it wouldn’t," Hodge said. Three fish to be picked up hundreds of miles apart presented a problem, but other TPWD staff from the A.E. Wood Fish Hatchery and the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center volunteered to help. By the time the day ended at midnight, the three crews had logged about 1,200 miles.
And no matter what your opinion is on the influence of moon phases on fish catches, ShareLunker records clearly show that the biggest factor in when fish are caught is not the moon phase. Most fish are caught on weekends, because that’s when most people go fishing.
Three or more ShareLunker catches on the same day have come in February only once before, in 1995. All three fish came from Lake Fork. From three to five fish have been caught on the same day seven other times, all in March.
The catches bring the number of entries into the Toyota ShareLunker program for the current season to 12. Since the program’s inception, Lake Austin and O.H. Ivie have produced eight lunkers each. Amistad has now gone double-digit with 10 entries.
Because of the number of entries expected in the coming years from Amistad and O.H. Ivie, official ShareLunker weigh and receiving stations have been set up at those lakes. Angler’s Lodge serves Lake Amistad, and Elm Creek Village serves O.H. Ivie. Additional stations are being sought; interested parties should contact David Campbell for details. A list of the current stations is at http://tpwd.texas.gov/spdest/visitorcenters/tffc/sharelunker/holding/.
Videos of selected ShareLunker anglers talking about their catches can be seen at www.facebook.com/sharelunkerprogram/.
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.
Anglers entering fish into the Toyota ShareLunker program will receive a free replica of their fish, a certificate and ShareLunker clothing and be recognized at a banquet at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens on June 5, 2010. In addition, if a Texas angler catches the largest entry of the year, that person will receive a lifetime fishing license.
For complete information and rules of the ShareLunker program, tips on caring for big bass and a recap of last year’s season, see tpwd.texas.gov/sharelunker. The site also includes a searchable database of all fish entered into the program along with pictures where available.
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.
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