TPWD News Release — March 8, 2010
ATHENS — With the exception of Lake Austin, Colorado River lakes in the Texas Hill Country have never produced bass weighing 13 pounds.
That changed Sunday, when Lloyd Ward of Horseshoe Bay saw a huge bass cruising near the bank in three feet of water. "I pitched my jig in front of her, and she swam over and ate it," he said. The fish tipped the scale at 13.7 pounds when weighed at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens, headquarters for the Toyota ShareLunker program.
The previous record for Lake LBJ was a 12.55-pound fish caught in 1989.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) stocked northern largemouth bass into the lake in 1971. Florida largemouth bass were stocked in 1976, 2001 and 2002. "Those fish are now old enough to weigh 13 pounds," said ShareLunker program manager David Campbell.
Ward knows his big fish is not the only one in the lake. "I saw two others today that were just as big," he said.
Besides Lake Austin, O.H. Ivie and E.V. Spence reservoirs are the only other main-stem Colorado River reservoirs to have produced entries into the ShareLunker program. Both those lakes are located in West Texas far upstream of Lake LBJ.
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 http://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, are posted on http://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.