Red Hot January Continues for Toyota ShareLunker Program

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ATHENS – The 2022 Toyota ShareLunker season had a hot start in week one thanks to a pair of Legacy Lunkers from reigning fishery champion O.H. Ivie. In week two, Lake Daniel made history by producing its first Legacy Lunker in program history Friday Jan. 14. However, not to be outdone, O.H. Ivie got back on the board with two more Lunkers in week three. The Lunkers bring the season total to five, surpassing last year’s January total of four with a weekend still to go in the month.

Tim Broadfoot from Abilene reeled in ShareLunker 611 which weighed in at 13.48 pounds, a pending new record for Lake Daniel. Prior to Broadfoot’s catch, the lake record for largemouth bass weighed 12.48 pounds and was caught on Feb. 20, 2016. Lake Daniel is located in Stephens County approximately 65 miles northeast of Abilene.

Broadfoot caught his fish in about 18 feet of water near some large rocks using a Texas-rig and ultra-vibe bait. Broadfoot fishes at several lakes and indicated how nice it is to have so many great fisheries in the area. Friday, he decided to give Lake Daniel a try and it paid off.

“It was pretty slow starting out and we fished most of the morning without landing a single fish,” said Broadfoot. “However, around 11:30 a.m. the day turned around when I got the Legacy Lunker to bite. I brought her into the boat, and we immediately loaded up to get going. We wanted to make sure to keep her healthy and get the transfer process done properly. It’s not a big fishing story because we caught only one fish, but she was the right one. It was a great experience to be a part of the Toyota ShareLunker Program. Everyone was very nice, professional and helpful during the process of making this catch of a lifetime a memorable one.”

Lake Daniel became the fifth public waterbody in the past two seasons to join the growing list of waterbodies which have produced Legacy Class Lunkers. Eagle Mountain, Lake Tyler, Coleman City Lake, and Lake Travis each logged their first Legacy Lunkers during the historic 2021 season.

“Tim’s fish is not only the new pending lake record but also puts Lake Daniel on an ever-growing list of waterbodies from across the state that have produced a Legacy Class ShareLunker,” said Kyle Brookshear Toyota ShareLunker Program Manager. “Lake Daniel notches the 75th spot on this public waterbody list. Milestones like this continue to be a testament to the hard work of our management and hatchery teams as well as the strong partnership between TPWD and Texas anglers, like Tim, who share in these fisheries’ management goals. As the ShareLunker collection season continues, we are hopeful to see more waterbodies added to this prestigious list and further achieve our goal of producing bigger, better bass across the Lone Star State.”

Josh Jones of Sapulpa, Oklahoma became only the sixth individual in program history to record his third overall Legacy Lunker. Jones reeled in two from O.H. Ivie in 2021 and was back at it again Friday Jan. 21 with “ShareLunker 612” that weighed in at 14.13 pounds. Then on Sunday Jan. 23, Brady Stanford of Midland landed “ShareLunker 613” at O.H. Ivie, which proved to be a season best 15.03 pounds. O.H. Ivie came close to two more Legacy’s over the weekend with angler Kayden Tanner logging catches of 12.82 and 12.65 pounds.

Jones had visited O.H. Ivie again in December and landed a 15.10-pound Legend Lunker before returning to Texas a few days ago.

“When I got back to Texas, I fished O.H. Ivie, but also tried three or four other lakes in the area and the fishing was slow,” said Jones. “However, that morning of the catch I returned to O.H. Ivie and reeled her in on the third or fourth cast. It changed the whole complexion of the week and now I want to stay in Texas for another month or two and catch a couple more.”

Jones was in about 70 feet of water and said the fish came out of nowhere to bite on the lure. He now wants to become the first angler with four Legacy Lunkers to his credit.

“It’s really cool to be one of only six anglers in program history to catch three Legacy Lunkers,” added Jones. “I’m not satisfied yet though and if there is a record to be broken my goal is to break it. I came back in December, got lucky and caught a giant and wanted to return to get another one. All it takes is one bite to change your day or your life. The whole state of Texas in general is the Bass Capitol of the World.”

Brady Stanford and his father headed out together in search of the fish of a lifetime at O.H. Ivie. Stanford said they have been fishing O.H. Ivie for the past month or so looking to land a Legacy Lunker.

“We started out trying some new spots and it was slow with a just a few small fish landing in the boat,” said Stanford. “We decided to go back to some of our other spots that we have been fishing recently. The first one we pulled up on had a couple of fish out there. On the first two casts I came up empty, but on the third I put the cast right on top of her where she followed it in a little bit and smashed it.”

Stanford ended up reeling the fish in using an Alabama Rig in about 20-feet of water. Growing up in Midland he’s fished O.H. Ivie for about 20 years and this fish is a personal record and fifth double-digit bass.

“As soon as we got the fish into the boat and in the live well my dad called up to the marina and told them we were bringing in a Legacy Lunker,” added Stanford. “We reported the catch to the Toyota ShareLunker program, and they walked us through the process of transferring the fish and fish care. TPWD personnel picked her up and everything was good. My Dad and I have been pursuing a ShareLunker for a long time and I think he was more excited than I was when we caught. Overall, it was a great experience to be a part of the program.”

Once Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) Inland Fisheries biologists were notified, they quickly got on the road to collect and transport the ShareLunkers to the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens, where biologists are providing them top-notch care. Biologists plan to attempt to spawn them with a male offspring of a prior ShareLunker to make bigger, better bass to stock in and enhance fishing in Texas lakes.

During the first three months of the season (Jan. 1 through March 31), anglers who reel in a 13+ pound bass can loan it to TPWD for the ShareLunker selective breeding and stocking program. These anglers can call the ShareLunker hotline at (903) 681-0550 to report their catch 24/7 until April 1, 2022.

Anglers who catch and donate one of these 13+ lunkers earn Legacy Class status, receive a catch kit filled with merchandise, a 13+ pound Legacy decal for their vehicle or boat, VIP access to the Toyota ShareLunker Annual Awards event and a high-quality replica mount of their Lunker fish from Lake Fork Taxidermy. These anglers will also receive entries into two separate drawings – a Legacy Class Drawing and the year-end Grand Prize Drawing. Both drawings will award the winner a $5,000 Bass Pro Shops shopping spree and an annual fishing license.

The year-round Toyota ShareLunker program offers four levels of participation for catching bass over eight pounds or 24 inches in Texas. The 2022 season offers an opportunity to join the special club of premier anglers who have submitted a Legacy Class ShareLunker.

Anglers who enter data for any lunker they catch greater than 8 pounds or 24 inches during the calendar year 2022 also receive a catch kit, a decal for their vehicle or boat and an entry into the year-end Grand Prize Drawing to win a $5,000 Bass Pro Shops shopping spree and annual fishing license. ShareLunker entry classes include the Lunker Class (8lb+), Elite Class (10lb+), and Legend Class (13lb+).

Once a lunker is reeled in, anglers need to enter the catch data on the Toyota ShareLunker mobile app – available for free from the Apple App Store and Google Play – or on the Toyota ShareLunker online app at TexasSharelunker.com. In addition to providing basic catch information, anglers can also provide a DNA scale sample from their lunker bass to TPWD researchers for genetic analysis.

The Toyota ShareLunker Program is made possible in part by the generous sponsorship of Toyota. Toyota is a longtime supporter of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation and TPWD, providing major funding for a wide variety of fisheries, state parks and wildlife projects.

Prize donors including Bass Pro Shops, Lake Fork Taxidermy, American Fishing Tackle Co., Stanley Jigs and Sixth Sense Lures also provide additional support for this program. For updates on the Toyota ShareLunker Program, visit facebook.com/sharelunkerprogram/ or TexasSharelunker.com.

For pictures of the Legacy Class ShareLunker’s caught during the 2022 season, visit the TPWD Flickr album at https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjzxNwz.