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Lake Fork Kicks off March Madness with Toyota ShareLunker 518

Larry Hodge, 903-676-2277,

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Falcon scores with number 519; O.H. Ivie is ready to come off the bench

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ATHENS—While fans of college basketball are glued to television sets watching that manifestation of March madness, bass anglers are enjoying a fishy form of the mayhem.

Sunday afternoon saw two anglers boat Toyota ShareLunkers. Number 518 bit a black lizard on Lake Fork about 3:00 p.m. Ed Carter of Broken Bow, Oklahoma, was the lucky angler who pulled in the 14.25-pounder. The fish was held for pickup at the Minnow Bucket, an official Toyota ShareLunker weigh and holding station.

Before the Toyota ShareLunker Tundra made it back to Athens with that fish, Robert Amaya of Robert’s Fish ‘n Tackle in Zapata called to report Toyota ShareLunker 519, a 13.37-pounder from Falcon International Reservoir. That fish was caught by David Cosner of Austin and was held for pickup at Robert’s Fish ‘n Tackle.

Unseasonably cold weather in February held water temperatures down and slowed the bite, but recent sunny days have warmed the shallows and encouraged spawning fish to move up. “Anglers tell me they are seeing lots of big fish cruising in shallow water,” said Jerry Hunter, manager of Elm Creek Village on O.H. Ivie. “The water has just hit 60 degrees, there will be a full moon this weekend—everything is lined up just right, and we just need somebody to get a hook in one.”

Last season O.H. Ivie produced 11 Toyota ShareLunkers, and seven of those fish were caught when the water temperature was 60 degrees or above. The current lake record, a 16.08-pounder, was caught the last day of the season from 69-degree water.

March is traditionally the peak month for ShareLunker entries. The game is on.

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.

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, a list of official Toyota ShareLunker weigh and holding stations and a recap of last year’s season, see 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 when available, is posted on

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.