Angler Lands ShareLunker 526 from Lake Austin, Texas
Lake Austin gave up the third Toyota ShareLunker of the season to Austin angler Brett Ketchum January 29.
The 13.0-pound bass is the thirteenth ShareLunker to come from the urban lake. Ketchum caught the fish on a jerkbait in 10 feet of 56-degree water while fishing in an Austin Bass Club of the Deaf tournament. He won big bass and placed second overall.
“She was a very good fighter,” Ketchum said. “Once she jumped, I noticed she was big, but I kept fighting her, and when she got close and I saw her I thought, ‘Oh, it’s big!’ I was nervous because I saw only one treble hook in her, and I knew I could lose her in a second. But I stayed calm, let her fight until she was tired, then reeled her close to the boat. My partner Sammy Oates, Jr., netted her beautifully. He and my son Braden were shaking when I bought her in.”
Ketchum said he had always dreamed of catching a ShareLunker. “My time has come,” he said. “It was an amazing day.”
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.
ShareLunker entries are used in a selective breeding program at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center (TFFC) in Athens. Some of the offspring from these fish are stocked back into the water body from which they were caught. Other ShareLunker offspring are stocked in public waters around the state in an attempt to increase the overall size and growth rate of largemouth bass in Texas.
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.
The Toyota ShareLunker Program is made possible by a grant to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation from Gulf States Toyota. Toyota is a long-time supporter of the Foundation and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, providing major funding for a wide variety of education, fish, parks and wildlife projects