LeBlanc: Now is the time to pursue ShareLunker Bass
The Texas Parks and Wildlife’s Toyota ShareLunker program has been partnering with anglers to promote and enhance bass fishing in Texas and we are right now at the time that really starts to get exciting and offers the big bass from Texas waters.
Each season, Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, anglers have new opportunities to partner with the ShareLunker programs and be acknowledged for their achievements and contributions all year long. Now is the time to join the pursuit and help make bass fishing bigger and better.
There are three classes of ShareLunker Bass that qualify for the program.
ShareLunker legacy is for the anglers who catch a 13-plus pound bass and loans it to the TPWD during the spawning period (Jan.-March). The bass will be part of the selective breeding program and the angler will be recognized as a member of the Lunker Legacy Class. Out of the millions of bass anglers in Texas, only a select few have ever crossed the 13-pound threshold and joined these anglers as part of the Lunker Legend Class.
Next is the Lunker Elite Class. Anglers everywhere strive to catch a double-digit bass. When you reach that goal in Texas, you will be recognized in the Lunker Elite Class and this class is open all year long.
Then there is the Lunker class. Catch a Lunker that is at least 8 pounds, or 24 inches long, to become part of the ShareLunker program and be recognized in the Lunker Class, and like the Elite Class is is open all year also.
So as we sit here in Jan. 2021 that signals the start of the 35th season and Legacy Class Lunkers are already being caught.
The Toyota ShareLunker Program is made possible in part by the generous sponsorship of Toyota. 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.
Some of the other prize donors and supporters are Bass Pro Shops, Lake Fork Taxidermy, American Fishing Tackle Co. and Stanley Jigs and others. You can find the ever growing list on the TPWD website under the ShareLunker heading.
The second weekend of the 2021, Toyota ShareLunker season produced the first Legacy Class largemouth bass number 586 at Sam Rayburn Reservoir. Angler Travis Moore reeled in the 13.44-pound Legacy Class Lunker using a Carolina rig during the Bass Champs tournament on Jan. 9.
Less than a week later, the second Legacy Class largemouth bass of the 2021 Toyota ShareLunker season was reeled in at Lake Austin Thursday evening January 14. Angler C. J. Oates, from Lago Vista, Texas, caught the 13.02 pound Legacy Class Lunker number 587 just a few days after “ShareLunker 586” was claimed at Sam Rayburn.
Lake Conroe is not to be left out of the ShareLunker Bass. For example the Lake Conroe Record Bass was caught Jan. 30, 2009 by Ricky Bearden that weighed in at 15.93 pounds, was 27 inches long, and caught on a crankbait.
To give you an idea of what has been caught on Lake Conroe, I can remember in 2009 not only was a new big bass record set but at least four ShareLunker Legacy Class largemouth bass were caught during the January through March season.
Besides the lake record ShareLunker, there have been numerous Lunkers caught on our lake over the past years since that time, so if you are an aspiring largemouth bass angler and want to get your name in the record books I will try to point you in the right direction.
Go on the TPWD website and go to the Fishing Home page. The third menu from the Texas Parks and Wildlife logo is FISHING, click on that. In the menu that comes down there will be a heading for ShareLunker, click on that and it will take you to the ShareLunker Home page and you will find all of the information about everything you need to get set up and ready to go.
When you catch one of the bass that you feel will meet the criteria for the ShareLunker program there are two official weigh stations on Lake Conroe, Stow-A-Way Marina and Walden.
So folks, go online and register for the ShareLunker Program and get into the record books and also win some good prizes. There are not many 13-pound plus Lunker bass hanging around but for those that are here now is the time to catch them. The double-digit and and 8-pound bass are not unheard of all year long as well as right now and they are quiet a challenge to find, hook, and land and you can’t do it sitting at home. So get out on Lake Conroe and catch one of these record-making bass.