When Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine publisher Randy Brudnicki planned a fishing trip to Falcon International Reservoir with his sons Jason and Dustin for the week after Christmas, he knew the time was right to catch a Toyota ShareLunker.
But the trio struggled for two days, catching only small bass mid-lake and near the dam. On Wednesday, December 28, the north wind shifted to the south, and that made all the difference. “I knew to look for places where the south wind would blow in to points,” Brudnicki said.
It was their last day to fish, and they wanted to get on the road early, so they put in at the county ramp in Zapata and began fishing around the city’s water intake structure. “After spending some time on the main point but only catching small fish, we moved upwind to a ledge,” Brudnicki said. “My son Jason, who lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, started throwing a Strike King 6XD crankbait, a Christmas present from his older brother, Dustin. The big girl hit right under the boat as he ended his retrieve. He set the hook and she pulled a little line. Dustin grabbed the net and in seconds the fish was in the boat.”
A few casts later Jason caught another big fish, and they decided to weigh them. The smaller fish went eight pounds, but the big fish bottomed out their scale. After borrowing a scale from another boat, they realized they had a ShareLunker and took it to Falcon Lake Tackle to be weighed on a certified scale. The official weight is 13.36 pounds. Length and girth were not available at the time of writing.
Keeping the big fish alive for the five hours it would take for a truck to arrive from the A.E. Wood Fish Hatchery in San Marcos now became their top priority. “We ran both recirculating and aeration pumps non-stop,” Brudnicki said. “The mid-50 degree water temperature helped a lot.” They finally turned the fish over to TPWD about 7 p.m.
The Toyota ShareLunker program will be profiled in the Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine’s Spring Fishing Guide due out in February. That guide will also feature a fishing forecast for 2012 and other relevant topics for Texas anglers. The guide will be available free at www.tpwmagazine.com.
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 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.