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Submit big largemouth bass to ShareLunker program
ATHENS -- The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) began accepting entries into the Toyota ShareLunker program on Oct. 1.
Anyone legally catching a 13-pound or bigger largemouth bass from Texas waters, public or private, between Oct. 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 1-888-784-0600 and leaving a phone number including area code. TPWD personnel will pick up fish within 12 hours.
Proper care and handling of big bass is perhaps the single most important factor in their survival. Last season produced 33 entries, and all but four survived.
“I urge anglers to go to the ShareLunker website and review the information on how to take care of big bass,” said Campbell. “It’s also important to be prepared to catch a big fish when you go fishing. Take the ShareLunker phone number and your cell phone with you. Have your livewell filled. Put your net where you can reach it while fighting a big fish. And get the fish to a minnow tank at a marina or bait shop or to an official ShareLunker holding station as soon as possible after you catch it.”
ShareLunker entries are used in a selective breeding program at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center 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 will receive a free replica of their fish, a certificate, and ShareLunker clothing, and will be recognized at a banquet at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens. In addition, if a Texas angler catches the largest entry of the year, that person will receive a lifetime fishing license.
For complete information and rules of the ShareLunker program, tips on caring for big bass, and a recap of last year’s season, visit www.tpwd.state.tx.us/share lunker.
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