Texas’ Lake Fork produces first bass of 2013-14 ShareLunker season

The largemouth bass was 25 inches long, 21 inches in girth, and weighed 13.29 pounds.
Stephen Proctor of Pryor, Okla., caught Toyota ShareLunker 549 from Lake Fork on Nov. 21.

Texas’ Lake Fork added to its big bass legend when an Oklahoma angler plucked another 13-pound largemouth from its depths.

Stephen Proctor, of Pryor, caught Toyota ShareLunker 549 from the lake Nov. 21. He caught the 13.29-pound bass from 18 feet of water on 4-pound line while fishing for crappie under the State Highway 154 bridge. He was using a Panfish Assassin lure.

The fish was 25 inches long and 21 inches in girth. The fish continues Lake Fork’s remarkable record of having produced at least one ShareLunker in every season the program has existed, beginning in 1986.

Anyone legally catching a 13-pound or bigger largemouth bass from Texas waters, public or private, between Oct. 1 and April 30 may submit the fish to the ShareLunker program. 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. The person who catches the season’s largest entry will be named Angler of the Year. If the Angler of the Year is a Texas resident, that person also receives a lifetime fishing license.

The number to call to report a ShareLunker catch is 903-681-0550. If poor cell phone service prevents use of the voice number, anglers can leave a phone number (including area code) at 888-784-0600.

ShareLunker entries are used in a selective breeding program at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center 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.

The 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.

Will Leschper is founder of The Texas Outdoor Digest. He has been recognized for Excellence in Craft by the Outdoor Writers Association of America and the Texas Outdoor Writers Association. He is Conservation Editor of Texas Fish & Game Magazine and is a regular contributor to the Journal of the Texas Trophy Hunters, in addition to writing for plenty of of now-defunct publications.