Gary Sims of Gunter, Texas, caught Toyota ShareLunker No. 538 from Lake Fork on Wednesday. The fish weighed 15.02 pounds.
Examination revealed the fish was caught previously on March 13, 2011, by Ed Carter of Broken Bow, Okla. At that time it weighed 14.25 pounds and was 22.25 inches in girth and 25 inches long, and was Toyota ShareLunker No. 518. The fish is now 22 inches in girth and 25.25 inches long.
Sims was fishing for crappie with a double jig in 30 feet of water near the dam when the big bass bit. “She made several long runs, and at first I thought it was a catfish, because we had already caught several,” he said. “Finally she came up and I lipped her.”
Lake Fork has now produced 250 of the 538 entries into the ShareLunker program.
Genetic information on file shows the fish is an intergrade, or a cross between pure Florida largemouth and northern largemouth bass. Pure Floridas are held for spawning, while intergrades are returned to the lake as soon as possible.
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 by calling (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.
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.