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Lake Casa Blanca Toyota ShareLunker Ignites Race to 500
Entry 490 begins countdown to fish worth $500 per pound
ATHENS — It’s a done deal that the Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation will pay $500 per pound to the lucky angler who wins the race to Toyota ShareLunker 500.
With only 10 fish to go to get to the checkered flag, two big questions remain: Who will catch it? Where will they catch it?
Speculation about where ShareLunker 500 will come from is sure to be a topic at lakeside restaurants all over the state in the coming weeks, although all anglers will be certain they will be the one to cross the finish line with it. Will fish 500 come from Lake Fork, The Bassyard? Or Amistad, The Jewel of the Desert? Or Falcon, bass fishing’s Thunder Valley?
The latest entry into the program, No. 490, came from Lake Casa Blanca, near Laredo, on March 24. Jesse Garcia-Perez of Laredo caught a new lake record 14.79-pound bass from eight to 10 feet of water using a seven-inch junebug PowerBait worm.
"Previous stockings of Florida largemouth bass, rapid growth because of a year-round growing season, plentiful forage and minimal bass fishing effort are responsible for Lake Casa Blanca producing a relatively high number of ShareLunkers," said Randy Myers, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Inland Fisheries biologist in charge of managing the lake’s fishery. Casa Blanca, a 1,680-acre impoundment on the edge of Laredo, has now produced six ShareLunkers averaging 13.66 pounds. Only 12 other lakes have produced six or more ShareLunkers.
Toyota ShareLunker 490 is the fifth lake record entered into the ShareLunker program during the current season. Three of those fish came from public lakes that had never produced a ShareLunker before: Lake O’ the Pines, Livingston and Lyndon B. Johnson.
Two private lakes also produced first-time entries, and two fish made the Top 50 list of big bass caught in Texas: a 16.17-pounder from Caddo Lake and a 15.61-pounder from Lake Fork.
Lakes that have produced ShareLunkers so far this season include Fork (2), Lake O’ the Pines (1), Caddo (1), Purtis Creek State Park Lake (1), Lyndon B. Johnson (1), O.H. Ivie (3), Amistad (2), Austin (1), Livingston (1), Choke Canyon (1), Falcon (2) and two private lakes.
Chances are ShareLunker 500 will come from none of those, and it could well come from a lake that has never produced a 13-pound bass before. ShareLunkers have now come from 60 public lakes and more than a dozen private ones, and more are added every year.
All this prompts ShareLunker Program manager David Campbell to observe, "I believe ShareLunker 500-and the new state record, for that matter-could come from any lake in Texas."
What’s your guess?
And why are you sitting there reading this when you could be out fishing?
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.
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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