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March 29, 2010
Toyota ShareLunkers 491, 492 Come from Lake O’ the Pines, O.H. Ivie
ATHENS — James Hollis held the Lake O’ the Pines record for largemouth bass just six days before Carl Clark of Marshall went fishing there.
The ink was still wet on Hollis’s record when Clark bested it by nearly two pounds with a fish weighing 15.13 pounds caught March 26. Clark was fishing with a red Rat-L-Trap in five feet of water. His catch was 22 inches in girth and 25.25 inches long; she is now Toyota ShareLunker 491.
The March flurry of ShareLunker entries continued the next day at O.H. Ivie Reservoir, where Brian Hall of Bronte weighed in a tournament-caught 14.22-pounder that narrowly missed becoming a new lake record there. Hall was using a Zoom Brush Hog in nine feet of water.
"Lake O’ the Pines was way overdue to produce a ShareLunker," said Tim Bister, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) Inland Fisheries biologist who manages the fishery on the lake. "One of the reasons we’re seeing these fish is the prey fish present in the reservoir. Largemouth bass have an abundance of threadfin shad, gizzard shad and various sunfish species as forage. The reservoir also has a lot of submersed aquatic vegetation. Largemouth bass grow fast in Lake O’ the Pines."
Lake O’ the Pines has also been stocked with Florida largemouth bass since the 1980s. "Recognizing the potential of Lake O’ the Pines to produce trophy-sized bass, we began stocking Florida largemouth bass again last year," Bister said. The lake will also receive a portion of the spawn from this season’s Toyota ShareLunkers.
"I grew up around Lake O’ the Pines and have been fishing it since I was 15 or 16 years old," Clark said. "I love it. The fish are getting bigger every year."
In the case of the two ShareLunkers caught from the lake so far this season, make that every week.
Brian Hall was fishing in a Bassin’ Bunch tournament on a very windy day in West Texas when Toyota ShareLunker 492 picked up his bait. "I’ve caught a lot of big fish out of Ivie-it’s really coming on for big fish," he said. "I’ve caught a couple of 10s, but this is my biggest fish by far. When I got her in the boat, I could hardly stand up. My nerves were pretty much shot."
Hall’s fish was 21 inches in girth and 26.5 inches long. It missed becoming the new lake record by about a third of a pound.
O.H. Ivie now leads in the number of ShareLunkers this season with four. Hall’s fish is the second of the season from the lake to weigh more than 14 pounds.
Nine fish have now been entered into the ShareLunker program during March 2010. That list includes four 13-pound-class fish, four that weighed more than 14 pounds, two in the 15-pound class, and the current leader for big fish of the season, a 16.17-pound fish from Caddo Lake.
The race to Toyota ShareLunker 500 is now eight fish away from the finish line. In addition to all the usual prizes of a fiberglass replica of the fish and ShareLunker clothing, the angler who catches No. 500 will receive $500 per pound plus a G. Loomis BCR854 GLX jig and worm rod and a Shimano Curado 200E7 casting reel loaded with Power Pro 30-pound braided line. "It’s every angler’s dream and every fish’s nightmare," said Bruce Holt, former G. Loomis president.
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.
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, 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.
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