TPWD News Release — March 1, 2006
ATHENS, Texas — And the winner is ... Jason Baird of Gypsum, Kansas.
Fishing the Castle Canyon area of Lake Amistad about noon Tuesday, Baird and guide Ray Hanselman, Jr., spotted a big bass on her bed. After 45 tension-filled minutes during which the big bass darted at the Smallie Beaver creature bait in the White Trash pattern at least 15 times without taking it, she finally bit.
Thinking the bass weighed perhaps 8 or 9 pounds, Baird was going to lip it until it came to the boat and they realized it was much bigger. Hanselman then handed Baird a net so he could land the fish, which was 26 inches long and 21 inches around.
“This was my second time to fish Lake Amistad, and I’d never sight fished before,” Baird said. “Amistad is awesome. There were so many big fish on beds in there.”
The 34-year-old Baird and three friends drove all Monday night to get to the lake to fish. “I had seen on Bass Center on ESPN that Budweiser ShareLunker 398 had been caught, but I did not know my fish might be eligible for the prize for number 400 until we called another guide after I caught it and he started screaming to get the fish weighed and call the ShareLunker hotline,” Baird said. Baird, who is Parks and Recreation Director for Herington, Kansas, was using a Falcon rod with a Quantum spinning reel spooled with 30-pound-test braided line.
In addition to the usual prizes of a Budweiser ShareLunker jacket and a fiberglass replica of the fish, Baird will receive a cash award of $400 per pound of fish and a G.Loomis rod with Shimano reel valued at a total of $600. Prizes will be funded by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation, Anheuser-Busch and G.Loomis.
What does an angler do after catching the probable fish of a lifetime and gaining an unexpected windfall in the process?
Go fishing again. What else?
Baird and friends and Hanselman were back on the water at daybreak Wednesday, just as Budweiser ShareLunker program manager David Campbell was pulling into the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center after an 895-mile, 16-hour round trip.
Following a quick examination and measuring session, the fish forever after to be known as Budweiser ShareLunker No. 400 was swimming circles in her new home, peering at curious photographers through the picture window in her personal tank. If all goes as planned in the coming weeks, she will mate with a male descendant of an earlier ShareLunker to produce several thousand offspring that will be stocked into Lake Amistad and perhaps other public lakes in Texas.
And in 8 or 9 years, another lucky angler may find himself enjoying a very personal connection to the present drama in the form of another, perhaps even bigger fish on the end of his or her line. Making that happen as often as possible is the ultimate goal of the Budweiser ShareLunker program.
Anglers legally catching a 13-pound or bigger largemouth bass in Texas waters may enter it into the ShareLunker program by calling David Campbell at (903) 681-0550 or by paging him at (888) 784-0600.
For information on the Budweiser ShareLunker program, including current and previous season records, go to the TPWD Web site.
The Budweiser ShareLunker program is made possible through support from Anheuser-Busch, Inc. Since 1991, Anheuser-Busch, in partnership with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation, has contributed millions of dollars in funding to support conservation causes and fishing, hunting and outdoor recreation programs in Texas.
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