Outstanding Budweiser Sharelunker Season Closes

Larry Hodge, 903-676-2277, larry.hodge@tpwd.texas.gov

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ATHENS, Texas — The 2005–2006 Budweiser ShareLunker season ended April 30 with 32 entries, the most 13-pound-plus fish since 33 were entered in 1991-92 and the third-highest total ever.

Lake Alan Henry led with nine fish weighing a total of 124.23 pounds for an average of 13.80 pounds. Lake Fork’s six fish totaled 85.04 pounds and averaged 14.173 pounds. Lake Amistad produced four fish weighing 55.54 pounds, an average of 13.885 pounds each. One of those fish weighed 15.68 pounds and was a new lake record. Amistad also produced Budweiser ShareLunker No. 400. Lake Conroe took the crown for highest average weight with three fish that weighed 43.5 pounds in the aggregate and averaged 14.5 pounds.

The average weight of the 32 entries was 13.77 pounds, just 0.08 of a pound less than the 20-year average of 13.85 pounds.

In addition to Amistad, four other lakes saw new water body records set. Lake Lewisville contributed only one fish to the program, but it was a 13.63-pound lake record, the fourth such since June 2005. Lake Ratcliff, in the Davy Crockett National Forest, has new record of 13.65 pounds. San Augustine City Lake’s new record fish weighed 13.13 pounds. Lake Alan Henry’s new record was also the third-largest entry of the year, an even 15 pounds.

Two of the fish made the list of the 50 biggest largemouth bass ever caught in Texas. Sutherland’s new Lake Amistad record vaulted to the number 27 spot on the all-time list. Billy Pfeil’s 15.5-pound Lake Fork lunker took over the number 36 spot.

Three new public lakes were added to the list of those producing ShareLunkers, bringing the total to 54.

The spawning season at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens went very well, with 11 ShareLunker spawns producing 159,800 fry so far. Jason Baird’s Budweiser ShareLunker No. 400 produced a record 46,678 eggs.

Most of the fry will be raised to fingerling size (about 1.5-inches) and then stocked into public waters. As part of Operation World Record, 26,000 fish will be raised to 6-inch size, tagged and stocked into research lakes so their growth rates can be monitored.

ShareLunker program manager David Campbell will be putting a lot of miles on the Budweiser ShareLunker truck in the next few weeks as he returns ShareLunkers to the lakes where they were caught. Anglers catching ShareLunkers may request the fish be returned and may personally release the fish if they choose.

Below in chronological order are the details on Budweiser ShareLunker entries for the 2005-2006 season.

November 28, 2005. Jon Babich of Lewisville became the fourth angler in five months to set a new largemouth bass water body record on Lake Lewisville with a 13.63-pound fish. Babich’s fish, which became Budweiser ShareLunker No. 392, was caught on a 3/25-inch Fin-S-Shad. It was 24.25 inches long and 21 inches in girth and was the first ShareLunker recorded from Lake Lewisville.

December 11, 2005. Frank Brown of Houston was crappie fishing with minnows on Lake Conroe when a 14.22-pound bass took his bait. The fish was 25 inches long and 23 inches in girth.

December 28, 2005. Tom Sutherland of Del Rio posted a new lake record with a 15.68-pound largemouth that was 28.3 inches long and 21.75 inches in girth. It was caught on a Norman DD-22. Sutherland’s fish was the second-longest ever entered into the Budweiser ShareLunker program. A Lake Fork fish caught in 1988 by Jeff Neighbors was 28.5 inches long. Only those two entries exceeded 28 inches; five others have measured 28 inches even.

Sutherland will be honored as Angler of the Year at the annual Budweiser ShareLunker banquet in Athens on June 3. In addition to the usual prizes of a replica of his fish and ShareLunker clothing, Sutherland will receive a lifetime fishing license. Prizes are paid for by Anheuser-Busch and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation.

January 23, 2006. Jim Lee of Winnsboro caught the season’s only entry from a private lake while fishing in Wood County. The 13.07-pound fish was 25.75 inches long and 21 inches in girth. Lee was using a 1/8-ounce jig with a 4-inch white Zoom fluke.

February 5, 2006. Lake Conroe produced again, giving up a 14.8-pound fish to Harry Durham of Houston. The fish was 25 inches long and 22.75 inches around. Durham caught the big-bellied brute on a crankbait.

February 14, 2006. Jay Stevens of Abilene caught a Valentine’s Day present for himself from Lake Casa Blanca, a 13.2-pound bass. The 26-inch-long, 20-inch-around fish took a Bitsy flip jig with a pork trailer.

February 21, 2006. Lake Fork waited until it could produce a real whopper for its first entry of the season, a 15.5-pound fish caught by Billy Pfeil of Alba. The fish was 25.25 inches long and 23.5 inches in girth. It took a black-and-blue 5-inch Senko.

February 23, 2006. Kurt Wade Melville of Arlington caught Budweiser ShareLunker No. 399 from Mill Creek Lake using a Yum Zellamander. The 13.1-pound fish was 25.5 inches long and 20.5 inches in girth.

February 28, 2006. Budweiser ShareLunker No. 400. Jason Baird’s decision to hire guide Ray Hanselman, Jr., to take him bass fishing on Lake Amistad paid off handsomely. Baird caught Budweiser ShareLunker No. 400 and will receive a check for $5,240 and a G.Loomis rod and Shimano reel package valued at $600 at the ShareLunker banquet in Athens June 3. Baird used a Smallie Beaver creature bait to entice the bedded bass to bite. She was 26 inches long and 21 inches around. In April that fish produced the biggest single spawn in the history of the ShareLunker program, 46,678 eggs.

March 2, 2006. March is big bass month in Texas. Appropriately, two fish came on the second day of the month. Patrick Starnes of Laredo caught a 13.06-pound fish from Lake Casa Blanca. The fish was 25.75 inches long and 20.25 inches in girth. It took a Yum Wooly Hawg.

Also on March 2, David Utz of Lovelady began a remarkable two days of fishing with a 13.65-pound fish from tiny Lake Ratcliff, in Davy Crockett National Forest. A new lake record, the fish was 26.75 inches long and 20.5 inches around.

March 3, 2006. Utz continued his run with a 13.03-pound fish measuring 25.25 inches long and 20.75 inches around. He caught both fish on a jig and pig.

March 4, 2006. This proved to be another two-fish day. Lake Fork was heard from for the second time this season when Mark Smith of Allen pulled a 14.09-pounder from the lake. The fish was 24.75 inches long and 21 inches in girth. No bait type was recorded for Budweiser ShareLunker No. 404.

Tanya Sorter of Hemphill proved equal to the task of landing a 14.25-pound Toledo Bend monster on a Rattlin’ Rapala. The fish was 25.75 inches long and 22 inches around.

March 5, 2006. A new water body record for San Augustine City Lake took Nacogdoches resident Trey McCollum’s Beetle Spin. The 13.13-pound fish was 26 inches long and 20.5 inches in girth.

March 7, 2006. Johnny Worley of Oakwood made the most of his trip to Purtis Creek State Park by catching a 13.31-pound largemouth from the park’s catch-and-release lake. The fish was 26.25 inches long and 21.75 inches around. Worley was using waterdogs for bait.

March 10, 2006. Winter lingers longer in the northern reaches of the state and rarely makes an appearance in the far south, which is why the Budweiser ShareLunker season runs from October through April. The seven-month season covers the spawning period for all parts of the state. Spring arrived on Lake Alan Henry with a bang March 10 when Greg Hollers of Lubbock landed a 14.78-pound bass using a minnow for bait. The fish was 26 inches long and 21.5 inches in girth and was the first ShareLunker from that lake in the 2005-2006 season. However, it proved to be far from the last.

March 11, 2006. Lake Alan Henry produced again the next day. Dustin Gilliam of Ropesville caught a 13.04-pound bass on a Hawg Hanger. The fish was 25.25 inches long and 21 inches around.

March 22, 2006. Lake Conroe continued its comeback as a big bass lake when Edward Reid of Crosby pulled the third 14-pound-plus fish from the lake, a 14.48-pounder caught on a green lizard. The fish was 25.25 inches long and 21.75 inches in girth.

March 25, 2006. Lake Fork’s second fish of the year also exceeded 14 pounds. Steven Hoover of Gladewater caught the 14.14-pound fish on a fluke. The fish was 25 inches long and 22.75 inches in girth.

March 28, 2006. After producing Budweiser ShareLunker No. 400 on February 28, Lake Amistad was not heard from again until Wayne Lindgren of Minneapolis, Minnesota, caught his 13.18-pound lunker. The fish was 26.5 inches long and 20.75 inches in girth and took a wacky-rigged Senko worm.

March 31, 2006. March came in like a lion with two fish and went out the same way. A.R. Sachtleben landed a 13.2-pounder from Lake Fork using a Senko. The fish was 25 inches long and 21 inches around.

Lake Alan Henry produced another fish on the last day of March, a 15-pound lake record. The huge fish was 25.25 inches long and 22 inches in girth. Angler Billy Greeson of Amarillo was using a black-and-blue jig.

April 5, 2006. Robert Jones of Clute, fishing Lake Fork, caught a 13.01-pounder on a watermelon seed Brush Hog. The fish was 25.5 inches long and 21 inches around.

April 13, 2006. Lake Alan Henry caught fire in April, living up to the promise it showed in March. Francisco Vallejos of Albuquerque, New Mexico, caught the first of four fish in a row from the lake, a 13.05-pounder. The fish was 25.75 inches long and 20 inches in girth and took a waterdog.

April 14, 2006. Two fish on the same day from the same lake are a rarity, but Lake Alan Henry achieved that this season. In an odd twist, the two fish were caught by brothers about an hour apart–and the weights of the fish were almost identical. Mike Trulove of Carbondale, Colorado, caught a 14.24-pounder on a Tiki-Stick. The fish was 26.5 inches long and 21.25 inches in girth.

Tim Trulove of Silt, Colorado, not to be outdone by his brother, landed a 14.26-pound fish on a rubber bluegill bait. His fish was 25.75 inches long and 22 inches around.

April 18, 2006. Jamie Bonner of Amarillo, also fishing Lake Alan Henry, caught his 13.43-pound lunker on a 4-inch white Mad Man Craw Worm. The fish was 25.75 inches long and 20.75 inches around.

April 19, 2006. Remember Lake Amistad? Travis Darley of Del Rio did and was rewarded with a 13.58-pound largemouth. The fish was 27.25 inches long and 20.25 inches around. No bait was reported.

April 21, 2006. Lake Fork’s final fish of the season was caught by Sam Trinca of Monroe, Louisiana, using a Grande Bass Mutant. The fish weighed 14.02 pounds and was 26 inches long and 21 inches around.

April 22, 2006. Lake Alan Henry rewarded Rodney Hill of Floydada with a 13.22-pound largemouth that was 25.75 inches long and 20 inches in girth. The fish took a blue flake Power Worm.

April 24, 2006. Curtis Norrod of Lubbock helped make April 2006 the best April in the history of the Budweiser ShareLunker program. He caught the ninth program entry of the month, a 13.21-pound fish that was 26 inches long and 20.13 inches around. He used a Junebug jig.

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.