Historic ‘ShareLunker’ Season Could Mean Bigger, Better Largemouth Bass for Future Anglers
Texas anglers could be poised for a historic largemouth bass season.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s (TPWD) Tom Lang, director of the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center, said from January through March, said anglers reeled in 23 legacy ‘ShareLunkers’ at 10 different lakes, the most since 1995.
Dubbed ‘ShareLunkers’ after a Toyota sponsorship, these fish are largemouth bass that weigh 13 pounds or more. They’re part of a collaboration between the automaker and TPWD that promotes and enhances bass fishing in Texas.
To see images of ShareLunkers caught during this year’s spawning period, click here.
“This Toyota ShareLunker collection season was simply historic in so many ways — we live for seasons like this,” Lang said. “We’re grateful that so many anglers caught their fish-of-a-lifetime this season and then decided to share their lunker with us so we can make more of these bigger better bass for future generations of anglers.”
No Canyon Lake anglers caught ShareLunkers this year. On March 3, 2018, Canyon Lake’s Jacob Moeller caught a 26.50-inch lunker in Canyon Reservoir.
Key highlights from the 2021 Toyota ShareLunker collection season include:
- 23 ShareLunkers this season, the most during January through March since 1995 (27)
- 10 different water bodies produced ShareLunkers in 2021
- Five entries were new lake records (Eagle Mountain, Lake Tyler, Coleman City Lake, Lake Travis, O.H. Ivie)
- The OH Ivie waterbody record was 16.4 pounds and is the 16th-largest largemouth bass ever verified in Texas (private or public)
- The Travis record was standing for nearly 30 years and was broken with the 15+ pound catch by 15-year-old angler Trace Jansen
- Four entries were from new waterbodies for the Legacy program (Eagle Mountain, Lake Tyler, Coleman City Lake, Lake Travis)
- For the second season in a row, an angler submitted two entries (this season from OH Ivie, last season from Alan Henry)
- Twice, two ShareLunkers were submitted in the same day and twice more three ShareLunkers were submitted in the same day, including when the program surpassed the ShareLunker 600 mark.
- Five entries were greater than 15 pounds.
TPWD biologists, through genetic analysis of this year’s Legacy Lunkers, have made important discoveries in terms of lineage to previous and other 2021 ShareLunkers, TPWD said in a statement.
ShareLunker’s 587 and 600 from O.H. Ivie are related to each other while ShareLunker 602 from Coleman City is likely the granddaughter of ShareLunker 410, which was caught at Lake Conroe during the 2006 season.
Biologists were able to identify that at least two fish this season, the Lake Travis ShareLunker 597, and ShareLunker 608 from Lake Fork, are fish from the pure Florida Largemouth Bass program that were spawned in and stocked out of the TPWD hatcheries.
“Much like last season, when ShareLunker 583 was determined to be a 6th generation offspring, it’s always great to see the genetic analysis reaffirm the efforts,” Lang said. “On the other hand, when ShareLunkers aren’t related to previous ShareLunkers it is great too because those fish add more big bass genetic diversity to the effort. You really can’t go wrong participating in the ShareLunker program.”
Anglers who caught and donated one of these 13+ lunkers earn Legacy Class status, will receive a catch kit filled with merchandise, a 13lb+ Legacy decal for their vehicle or boat, VIP access to the Toyota ShareLunker Annual Awards event and a high-quality replica of their lunker fish provided by 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.
Although the “Legacy Class” donation season has ended, anglers who enter data for any lunker they catch greater than 8 lbs. or 24 inches during the calendar year 2021 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.
Toyota is a longtime supporter of Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, providing major funding for a wide variety of fisheries, state parks and wildlife projects.