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Two Lake Record Toyota ShareLunkers Caught March 20
ATHENS, Texas — A snowy blast chilled Spring’s debut in North Texas, but northeast Texas lakes were smokin’. Both Caddo Lake and Lake O’ the Pines produced new lake records.
Keith Burns of Jefferson caught Toyota ShareLunker 487 from Caddo Lake, a 16.17-pound brute that ranks 16 on the list of the 50 largest bass ever caught in Texas. The previous record weighed 16.01. The fish bit a Senko in five feet of water.
The fish also vaulted Burns into the lead for Angler of the Year honors. The Texas resident who catches the biggest fish of the season receives a lifetime fishing license from the Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation in addition to other prizes awarded to all the anglers.
James E. Hollis of Longview caught the new record for Lake O’ the Pines-13.2 pounds-while fishing in a tournament. That fish was not only the new lake record but also the first ShareLunker from the lake. The former lake record was 12.74 pounds. Hollis caught the fish on a lizard in five feet of water. "I’m not saying what color lizard," he said.
The two-fish weekend coming in the midst of rain and snow driven by fierce north winds increased the possibility the current season will see the 500th fish entered into the Toyota ShareLunker program. The angler who catches that fish will receive $500 per pound for his or her catch-a minimum of $6,500.
The two catches also illustrated the importance of weighing big fish as soon as possible after the catch and calling ShareLunker program manager David Campell to report 13-pound or larger fish immediately. Hollis caught his fish at 7:15 a.m. but did not report it until after the tournament weigh-in that afternoon. Burns caught the Caddo fish at 11:30 a.m. and called it in shortly thereafter, so became entry No. 487, while Hollis’s fish became No. 488.
"Fish that meet all the entry qualifications are numbered in the order we receive the calls from the anglers," Campbell explained. "The ShareLunker program rules require that fish be turned over to TPWD within 12 hours after the catch, since the sooner we begin caring for them the better chance they have of survival. We encourage anglers who catch a fish they think might weigh 13 pounds to have it weighed and put into a minnow tank at a marina or official ShareLunker weigh and holding station as soon as possible."
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.
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 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.
For complete information and rules of the ShareLunker program, tips on caring for big bass 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, 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.
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