Anglers Add Two More ShareLunkers to 2022 Season Total
March 25, 2022
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ATHENS – The list of ShareLunkers grew by two over the weekend, running the season total at the time to 22, including seven during the first three weeks of March in the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s (TPWD) 2022 Toyota ShareLunker collection season.
Lake Daniel returned to the spotlight Friday evening for the second time this season thanks to Mike Ybarra from Odessa who reeled in a new pending lake record. ShareLunker 629 topped the scales at 15.66-pounds to become the 39th biggest largemouth bass in Texas. Ybarra’s Legacy Lunker is also the fourth fish this season to crack the top 50 all-time list.
O.H. Ivie Lake continued its incredible two year run Saturday courtesy of angler Tim Manley from Brownwood. Manley’s ShareLunker 630 registered at 14.46 pounds on the scale while measuring 23 inches in girth and 23 ¼ inches in length. The fish is also the 11th from the waterbody this season and remains one away from equaling its 2010 and 2021 totals of 12.
At this time, TPWD Inland Fisheries personnel have made the decision to halt the transport of ShareLunker’s across the state for the remainder of the 2022 season. However, Legacy Class ShareLunker submissions will still be processed on site by TPWD, meaning biologists will meet the angler to take measurements, record official weight and collect genetic samples for analysis. Anglers can then return their fish to the lake.
Anglers submitting Legacy Class Lunkers will still 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. 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.
“March has been exciting for the 2022 collection season with seven Legacy Lunkers already collected,” said Kyle Brookshear, Toyota ShareLunker Program Manager. “We saw another top 50 fish recorded and a new pending lake record. O.H. Ivie has certainly been in the spotlight again this season, but we continue to see fisheries like Lake Daniel emerge as ShareLunker producers. If weather conditions permit, it should be an action-packed final stretch of the collection season.”
Ybarra and his friend were originally going to fish Hubbard Creek in Breckenridge, but another friend invited them both down to fish Lake Daniel. Ybarra had never fished the lake before and decided to give it a shot.
“We arrived at the lake around 1 p.m., put the boat in the water and worked the ramp area before heading over towards the dam,” Ybarra said. “I started with a Carolina Rig, but I got it hung up and it broke off. I switched over to a Bait Ball Umbrella rig and caught a four-foot stick on the first cast. Three casts later I felt something heavy after I set the hook and thought I had another stick. It was coming in real slow when suddenly it jerked back about four times and jumped out of the water. I could tell she was a pretty nice fish.”
The battle to bring her in started with the fish making multiple runs to try and get away. The fish then avoided the net a couple of times, but Ybarra got the fish back up to the boat again and this time the fish was safely secured.
“The ironic thing is the night before my friend sent me an article from TPWD about the hot streak for Lunkers in Texas,” Ybarra added. “I’ve been fishing for a long time and have prayed and wished for a double-digit fish. I was telling my wife about the article, the ShareLunker program and everything that comes with catching a Legacy Lunker. Less than 24 hours later I reeled in a 15.66-pound fish of my own. TPWD personnel came out to collect the DNA samples, take measurements and then I turned her loose. They were great to work with and what a blessing it was catch a fish like this to be part of the ShareLunker program.”
Manley was fishing in the Bass Champs Tournament on O.H. Ivie and early in the day secured a couple smaller fish quickly. At around 10 a.m. Manley had one get away and at about 1 p.m. he and his fishing partner went back to where they caught those fish earlier in the morning.
“It felt like around 1 p.m. everything started moving around a little bit,” Manley said. “We were fishing near some hardwoods and flipping at those, and we still weren’t getting much. We moved to some shallower water, and I just happened to see some bass swimming around. We moved again and saw another one on the bed. I could tell she was a good fish, but I never knew she was that big. My partner just missed catching her, so we moved to another spot before turning around and coming back.”
In between that time Manley caught a 5.5-pounder before spotting his eventual Legacy Lunker again.
“She was just sitting there in about 6-7 feet of water, so I put on a caffeine shad bait and flipped in there over a salt cedar limb,” Manley added. “I initially caught a 4 1/4-pound male and told my fishing partner I’m fixing to catch her. About the second cast after I caught the male fish, I flipped in there and set the hook and brought her up to the top. She made a run to the back of the boat, I turned her around, kept her on top of the water and scooped her up. I put her on the scale and realized she was a ShareLunker. You fish all your life, and it was just one of those meant to be deals. To accomplish it in a tournament made it even more special.”
Manley checked the fish in for the tournament and it earned Big Bass accolades and an overall finish of fifth place in the event. Bass Champs allowed Manley to keep the fish in their aerated tank until TPWD personnel arrived to collect the data and measurements. Once everything was complete, Manley was able to return the fish to where he caught her.
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.
The year-round Toyota ShareLunker program offers four levels of participation for catching bass over eight pounds or 24 inches in Texas. ShareLunker entry classes include the Lunker Class (8lb+), Elite Class (10lb+), and Legend Class (13lb+). The 2022 season offers an opportunity to join the special club of premier anglers who have submitted a Legacy Class ShareLunker.
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.