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Media Contact: Larry Hodge, 903-676-2277, larry.hodge@tpwd.texas.gov [LH]

TPWD Website: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us

TPWD News Release — Feb. 13, 2009

Fork Fish Means ShareLunker Season Is NOW

ATHENS, Texas—Bruce Peel of Granbury landed the fifth ShareLunker of the season Thursday, a 13.13-pounder from Lake Fork.

You could almost hear the big bass season kick into high gear.

Lake Fork has produced 240 of the 459 entries in the ShareLunker program, a whopping 52 percent. It doesn’t always produce the first fish of the season, and in 2006 Lake Alan Henry actually produced more lunkers.

But when that first fish from Lake Fork does take up residence in the Lunker Bunker at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center, it’s a sign that the busy season is here.

Game on.

Peel caught his fish in 16 feet of water on the edge of White Oak Creek using a four-inch Big Bite Beaver in watermelon. "It was the second place we tried. We’d been on the water only a couple of hours," said Peel, who was fishing with his wife. "I was looking for grass that might hold some heat." Water temperature at the time was 51.7 degrees.

Peel didn’t find the grass before the big bass hit. When he finally wrestled it into the boat, he almost released it immediately. "Then I thought, maybe I ought to have this fish weighed," he said.

That decision wins Peel a fiberglass replica of his fish, ShareLunker clothing, and a trip to Athens for the ShareLunker awards banquet in June.

Lake Fork and other lakes in Texas will be winners, too, if TPWD biologists are successful in spawning this year’s crop of lunkers. Offspring are stocked into lakes that produced lunkers.

To enter a fish into the program, call program manager David Campbell at (903) 681-0550 or page him at (888) 784-0600 and leave a number, including area code. Campbell or another TPWD staffer will pick the fish up within 12 hours.

"The ShareLunker Program has done a lot for fishing in Texas," Peel said. "Come to Lake Fork to catch the fish of a lifetime."

You heard the man.

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