ATHENS, TX -- O.H. Ivie produced its fourth Toyota ShareLunker of the season Sunday. Wimberley angler Terry Capps caught the 13.01-pounder about 9:45 a.m. from 10 feet of 48-degree water.
“It was just blind luck,” Capps said. “We were just fishing, not having a very good day. I was throwing a white spinnerbait and just
happened to find the right spot and the right fish.”
Capps drew on his fishing experience and the help of fishing partners to land the big fish. “It was a massive battle, a lot of fun, and my partners did great helping me land it,” he said. “It took several minutes to get her in. I just let it free-spool and let her run, because I’ve had too many break off in the past. Once we got her in the boat, we had to sit down and take a break. It was humbling to catch something like that.”
The fish was cared for until picked up by ShareLunker program manager David Campbell at the official Toyota ShareLunker weigh and holding station at Elm Creek Village.
In the 2009-2010 season, the Toyota ShareLunker program had received six entries by the end of January, two of which were from O.H. Ivie. By the end of the season, the West Texas reservoir had produced 11 entries. The four entries from the lake this January have people wondering just what the rest of the season holds.
Elm Creek Village manager Jerry Hunter thinks the best is yet to come. “I think this year will be a better year for us than last year. We started earlier and are seeing better fish,” he said. “We’ve had a 12.51 this week, and we weighed a 10.99 and an 11.79. Fishing is really picking up, and I expect it to get even better in the next two to three weeks.”
You can read about O.H. Ivie’s remarkable ascendance as a big bass lake in the February issue of Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine, now on newsstands and online at http://www.tpwmagazine.com/archive/2011/feb/ed_2/index.phtml.
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.
The person who catches the season’s largest entry will be named Angler of the Year and will receive a prize package from G. Loomis valued at $818. The package includes a G. Loomis NRX854C jig and worm rod, a Shimano ChronarchD1007 casting reel and 150 yards of moss green Power Pro super-braid fishing line. If a Texas angler catches the largest entry of the season, that person also receives a lifetime fishing license.
The current leader in the Angler of the Year race is the 16.03-pound fish caught from Lake Austin January 27 by Austin angler T.J. Nissen.
For complete information and rules of the ShareLunker program, tips on caring for big bass 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.