The 2022 Toyota ShareLunker season proved to be monumental, thanks to 350 anglers across the nation who entered 512 Lunker largemouth bass into the program throughout the year. The total included 357 in the Lunker Class (weighing between eight to 9.99 pounds or at least 24 inches), 121 Elite Class (weighing 10 to 12.99 pounds), 24 Legacy Class (weighing 13 pounds or more and caught between Jan. 1 and March 31) and 10 Legend Class Lunkers that were 13 pounds or more caught outside the spawning season.
In addition to helping produce bigger, better bass for Texas lakes, anglers who enter their big bass catches in the program receive special recognition and prizes, including an entry into a year-end drawing to win a $5,000 Bass Pro Shops shopping spree and an annual fishing license.
“The 2022 ShareLunker season was one filled with multiple milestones, and we are glad we can close out the season with the year-end Grand Prize drawing,” said Natalie Goldstrohm Toyota ShareLunker coordinator. “We are pleased to announce that angler Bryan Allen was randomly selected from all the qualifying 2022 entries, winning the $5,000 Bass Pro Shops shopping spree. Be sure to enter your Lunker bass into the ShareLunker app or website for your chance to be included in the drawing for the 2023 season.”
Allen reeled in his 24.5-inch Lunker Class fish March 19 on Fairfield Lake to become eligible for the drawing.
“Fairfield is one of my favorite lakes to fish,” said Allen. “I grew up in Florida fishing a lot of grass lakes and Fairfield is a good grass lake as well. I had caught some good fish there a couple of weeks before and made the trip out to Fairfield again that day. I have a small boat and usually go by myself, so I went and fished like I normally do. I was throwing a swim jig around and while fishing in some grassy points, I landed the fish.”
Allen headed out to Lake Nacogdoches May 28 and netted a 10.45-pound Elite Class Lunker, which he also entered into the program using the ShareLunker app.
Allen discovered the ShareLunker app two years ago and began submitting his catches. He was thrilled to win the $5,000 Bass Pro Shops shopping spree and an annual fishing license.
“I was overjoyed and really excited to get the call from Natalie [Goldstrohm],” Allen said. “I’m not a person who gets lucky and wins a lot of stuff, so this is pretty awesome. A big thank you is in order for everything the ShareLunker program does for these lakes in the state of Texas.”
Allen said he spreads the word to everyone about the program and the app.
“The prize for me is the opportunity to catch these big quality fish all the time,” he said. “These lakes have amazing genetics — any given day you can go out and catch a good quality bass.”
Anglers Deric Miller of Southlake and Brady Stanford of New Braunfels boasted the most individual entries for the season with 14 and 11, respectively. A total of 93 reservoirs produced at least one Lunker in 2022, led by O.H. Ivie with 121. Lake Fork (48), Fairfield (38), Conroe (26) and Sam Rayburn (23) were among the other top producers of the season, which wrapped up Dec. 31. The 512 total fish entered is a new single season record, up from 460 that were caught in 2021.
Anglers that provide their Lunker data to TPWD play a critical role in big bass management in Texas,” Goldstrohm said. “Fisheries biologist use the anglers catch data along with other research and sampling information to make informed management decisions for Lunker bass in Texas’ fisheries.”
During the first three months of the season (January through March), anglers who reel in a 13-plus pound bass can loan it to TPWD for the ShareLunker selective breeding and stocking program. These anglers call the ShareLunker hotline at (903) 681-0550 to report their catch 24/7 through March 31.
Anglers who catch and donate one of these 13-plus pound lunkers earn Legacy Class status, a catch kit filled with merchandise, a 13-plus pound Legacy decal for their vehicle or boat, VIP access to the Toyota ShareLunker Annual Awards event and a high-quality replica mount of their Lunker fish from Lake Fork Taxidermy. These anglers will also receive entries into two separate contests — a Legacy Class drawing and the year-end Grand Prize drawing. First place in either wins a $5,000 Bass Pro Shops shopping spree and an annual Texas fresh and saltwater fishing license.
The year-round Toyota ShareLunker program offers four levels of participation for catching bass over eight pounds or 24 inches in Texas.
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 basic catch information, anglers can also provide a DNA scale sample from their lunker bass to TPWD researchers for genetic analysis.
Anglers who enter data for any Lunker they catch (greater than eight pounds or 24 inches) during the calendar year 2023 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.
A new procedure is in effect for the 2023 season. Legend Class ShareLunkers no longer need to be weighed on a certified scale for entry. Anglers must include a photo of their Lunker on a digital scale to qualify for Legend Class.
The Toyota ShareLunker Program is made possible in part by the generous sponsorship of Toyota. Toyota is a longtime supporter of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation and TPWD, providing major funding for a wide variety of fisheries, state parks and wildlife projects.
Prize donors such as Bass Pro Shops, Lake Fork Taxidermy, American Fishing Tackle Company, Stanley Jigs and 6th Sense Fishing provide additional support for this program. For updates on the Toyota ShareLunker program, visit facebook.com/sharelunkerprogram/, @texassharelunker on Instagram and online at TexasSharelunker.com.