When O.H. Ivie, the West Texas reservoir now below 20 percent capacity, produced Toyota ShareLunker 535 March 25, some people assumed the catch was an aberration.
That illusion vanished on Good Friday, April 6, when Kyle Johnson of Abilene caught Toyota ShareLunker 536, a 13.36-pound largemouth bass that was 27.5 inches long and 20 inches in girth.
Johnson proved that even in a lake that is more than 30 feet below conservation pool, it is still possible to find the shallow water where bass like to spawn. He caught the fish in three to four feet of water on a jig.
“When she hit, she almost took the rod out of my hand,” Johnson said. “Then she took me around the boat twice.”
The fish was weighed and held for pickup at Elm Creek Village, an official Toyota ShareLunker weigh and holding station. Elm Creek Village manager Jerry Hunter said he believes there are more big bass to come from the lake this season. “People have been catching a lot of sevens and eights and a few double-digit fish,” he said. “I think the spawn is about two weeks behind what we usually see.”
ShareLunker 536 is the second fish of the season to come from O.H. Ivie, the thirteenth entry into the program this season, and the twenty-fifth ShareLunker to come from the lake. O.H. Ivie is now tied with Lake Alan Henry for second place in the number of ShareLunkers produced. Lake Fork leads the pack with 249.
The person who catches the season’s largest entry will be named Angler of the Year and will receive a prize package from G. Loomis valued at $818. The package includes a G. Loomis NRX854C jig and worm rod, a Shimano ChronarchD1007 casting reel and 150 yards of moss green Power Pro super-braid fishing line. If a Texas angler catches the largest entry of the season, that person also receives a lifetime fishing license.
The current leader in the race for Angler of the Year is Gary Wingate of Amarillo with his 14.39-pounder caught from Falcon International Reservoir on March 16. That fish was pure Florida largemouth and so far has spawned twice, producing nearly 80,000 eggs.
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 the ShareLunker hotline at (903) 681-0550 or paging (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 www.tpwd.state.tx.us/sharelunker. 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 www.facebook.com/sharelunkerprogram.