The second weekend of the 2021 Toyota ShareLunker season produced the first Legacy Class largemouth bass at Sam Rayburn Reservoir. Angler Travis Moore reeled in the 13.44-pounder using a Carolina rig during the Bass Champs tournament Saturday January 9.
“It was a great day on the water at Sam Rayburn,” said Moore. “After about 15 or so casts and few good bites, I finally hooked into my first 2021 bass and it was a giant 13.44 – pounder. We initially weighed her in the boat before taking her to the tournament weigh in where Chad with Bass Champs put her on the scale to get the official number. My heart started beating fast and I was so excited I could have jumped up and down, but I kept my composure.”
Once Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Inland Fisheries biologists were notified Saturday evening, they quickly got on the road to collect and transport “ShareLunker 586” to the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens, where biologists are providing her top-notch care. Biologists plan to attempt to spawn her to make bigger better bass to stock in and enhance fishing in Texas lakes.
“This was one of the best days of my life,” added Moore. “I’ve caught a few 12 pounders and hand full of 10 pounders, but this one here is special for me for sure. As a bass fisherman, this is what we fish for every time we go out on the water.”
Saturday’s catch by Moore was the first Legacy Class largemouth on the lake since 2018. Stacy Spriggs caught SL576 that weighed in at 13.06 pounds with a length of 27 inches on the final day of the 2018 season.
“We are excited to start off the new year on such a positive note with having a ShareLunker so early in the spawning season,” said Toyota ShareLunker Program Coordinator Kyle Brookshear. “Great management work has been happening at Rayburn and we feel that it’s primed to keep producing these world class size fish. This fish along with the others to be donated for spawning this season will continue to help create our ShareLunker broodstock and produce bigger better bass in Texas fisheries.”
During the first three months of the season (Jan. 1 through March 31), anglers who reel in a 13+ pound bass can loan it to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for the ShareLunker selective breeding and stocking program. These anglers can call the ShareLunker hotline at (903) 681-0550 to report their catch 24/7 until April 1, 2021.
Anglers who catch and donate one of these 13+ lunkers earn Legacy Class status, receive a catch kit filled with merchandise, a 13lb+ Legacy decal for their vehicle or boat, VIP access to the Toyota ShareLunker Annual Awards event and a high-quality replica of their lunker fish. These anglers will also receive entries into two separate drawings; a Legacy Class Drawing and the year-end Grand Prize Drawing. Both drawings will award the winner a $5,000 Bass Pro Shops shopping spree and an annual fishing license.
Anglers who enter data for any lunker they catch greater than 8 lbs. or 24 inches during the calendar year 2021 also receive a catch kit, a decal for their vehicle or boat and an entry into the year-end Grand Prize Drawing to win a $5,000 Bass Pro Shops shopping spree and annual fishing license. ShareLunker entry classes include the Lunker Class (8lb+), Elite Class (10lb+), and Legend Class (13lb+).
Once a lunker is reeled in, anglers need to enter the catch data on the Toyota ShareLunker mobile app – available for free from the Apple App Store and Google Play – or on the Toyota ShareLunker online app at TexasSharelunker.com. In addition to providing basic catch information, anglers can also provide a DNA scale sample from their lunker bass to TPWD researchers for genetic analysis.
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.
Prize donors Bass Pro Shops, Lake Fork Taxidermy, American Fishing Tackle Co. and Stanley Jigs also provide additional support for this program. For updates on the Toyota ShareLunker Program, visit facebook.com/sharelunkerprogram/ or TexasSharelunker.com
For pictures of all of the Legacy Class ShareLunkers caught during the 2021 season, visit the TPWD Flickr album here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmTzg7fF