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14-Pounders Galore! Groundhog Bass Bonanza in Texas

It'd be great if there are six more weeks of this kind of lunker fishing on O.H. Ivie.

14-Pounders Galore! Groundhog Bass Bonanza in Texas

Groundhog Day produced a big bass bonanza at O.H. Ivie Lake in Texas when college fishing buddies Dalton Smith (left) and Caden Cowan (right) landed a pair of TPWD Legacy Class ShareLunker bass at O.H. Ivie. Smith, who caught two 14-pound plus fish at O.H. Ivie on Dec. 30, 2022, claimed ShareLunker #636 with his 14.76-pound bass, the third 14-plus largemouth he's caught in the past 35 days. Cowan caught ShareLunker #637 when he weighed in a 13.31-pound fish. (Photo courtesy of TPWD / ShareLunker)

We've already told you about the link between ice-cold winter weather and big bass in Texas. That angling trinity is colliding once again in the Lone Star State, according to recent reports. After three Texas ShareLunker bass (13 pounds or more) were caught in January, February has continued the big-bass bonanza, as well as a run on 14-plus-pound lunkers.

On Feb. 2, 2023—Groundhog Day, when Punxsutawney Phil looks for his shadow and Bill Murray fans relive a cult-classic movie—there was a serious case of déjà vu all over again, with two ShareLunkers caught at red-hot O.H. Ivie Lake. Anglers sat up around the state and took notice when the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department tweeted out the news along with a photo of two anglers with big bass and beaming smiles in front of a TPWD ShareLunker truck.

"Do not adjust your screens, you are seeing double double-digits bass!," tweeted the @TPWDfish Twitter account. "Congrats to Dalton Smith, who caught Legacy Lunker 636 at 14.76 pounds and Caden Cowan, who caught Legacy Lunker 637 at 13.31 lbs. Both at O.H. Ivie. Thanks Dalton and Caden for your contributions!"

Oh My, O.H. Ivie!

Those entries brought two more contributions to the 2023 Toyota ShareLunker collection season—which occurs from Jan. 1 through March 31 each year. The ShareLunker program is the annual Texas Parks and Wildlife Department big-bass donation project that accepts 13-plus-pound bass (aka Legacy Class) for spawning purposes.

And as has been the case so often in recent seasons, O.H. Ivie is proving that it's the best bass lake right now in the Lone Star State, The superlatives for the lake are nothing short of epic right now, harkening back to the glory days of Lake Fork in the 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s. Six of the first seven ShareLunker bass this season have been caught at O.H. Ivie

One Angler, Three 14-Pounders

The Groundhog Day bass bonanza at O.H. Ivie also apparently achieved Smith a bass-fishing accomplishment few can match. When Smith weighed in his 14.76-pounder, it marked the third 14-plus bass he's caught this winter. Just two days before the ShareLunker 2023 collection season opened on Jan. 1, the Taylorsville, Ky., angler caught not one, but two 14-pound bass on Dec. 30, 2022. Fishing at O.H. Ivie not long after single-digit weather had gripped the state for the Christmas holidays, Smith landed bass weighing 14.27 and 14.69 pounds to cap a fishing day for the ages.

That feat alone is likely unparalleled in Texas bass fishing history, even in a state where it takes a bass weighing 15.51 pounds to crack TPWD's Top 50 Largemouth Bass all-time list. And in truth, bass waters in only a few states—Florida and California come to mind—are likely to even make that feat a possibility. So it's entirely possible that the former kayak bass-fishing coach at Kentucky's Campbellsville University has done something that few, if any, other anglers have ever done … anywhere.

Smith, who now lives in Voss, Texas, and runs @Dsmithfishing Fishing / Electronics Guide Service (502-855-2408), indicated on his social-media accounts that he caught the big fish on a 6th Sense Alabama rig, paired with ghost ice divine swimmers. "God is good!," Smith posted on Instagram and Facebook. "I was able to put the boat in around 2 p.m. and had a 14.76lber boated at 2:50 p.m."

'Back-to-Back Big-Bass Attack!'

As it turns out, the Groundhog Day bass bonanza was only the beginning, as O.H. Ivie did it again, producing two more ShareLunker Legacy bass in a span of three days. The first came on a beautiful Friday at the West Texas reservoir when the state finally rid itself of the cold temperatures and icy remnants of the previous week's winter storm.




Brad Mabry Texas Bass
The Lone Star State's big bass news blitz continued late last week out of West Texas' O.H. Ivie Lake as the 19,149-acre reservoir near San Angelo gave up another ShareLunker Legacy Class bass. This time, after a long stretch of winter weather and only one day after two ShareLunkers were caught on the same day at O.H. Ivie, it was a 14.01-pound largemouth bass caught by angler Brad Mabry on Friday, Feb. 3, 2023. The largemouth is the 638th entry in TPWD's long running program and the second 14-pounder caught in as many days at O.H. Ivie. (Photo courtesy of TPWD / ShareLunker)

"Back-to-back big-bass attack!," wrote the TPWD Fishing Twitter account on Friday, Feb. 3, 2023.  "Angler Brad Mabry just put another ShareLunker on the list for O.H. Ivie this season. ShareLunker 638 tipped the scales at 14.01 pounds. Congratulations, Brad and thank you for your support. #biggerbetterbass #sharelunker."

Two days later, the red-hot lunker factory near San Angelo coughed up another ShareLunker on a beautiful Sunday at the West Texas trophy bass factory.

"O.H. Ivie does it again!," heralded TPWD Fishing Twitter on Sunday, Feb. 5, 2023. "Yah-Tsheng Moua caught ShareLunker 639 weighing in at 13.05 pounds. This bass is the 4th Legacy Class Lunker caught in the last 4 days at O.H. Ivie. #biggerbetterbass #sharelunker.”

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Yah-Tsheng Moua Texas Bass
For the umpteenth time in recent months, O.H. Ivie does it again! The 19,149-acre reservoir near San Angelo, Texas gave up the ShareLunker program's 639th entry on Sunday, Feb. 5, 2023 when Yah-Tsheng Moua caught this largemouth bass weighing in at 13.05 pounds. The bass is the fourth TPWD Legacy Class ShareLunker caught in the last four days at O.H. Ivie, the lake's sixth ShareLunker of the current collection season, the seventh overall ShareLunker caught in Texas so far during the 2022-23 collection season, and the 52nd ShareLunker pulled from the storied waters of O.H. Ivie since the year 2000. (Photo courtesy of TPWD / ShareLunker)

More to Come?

If you're doing the math at home, that's now seven ShareLunker bass for the Jan. 1-to-March 31 collection season window in Texas, six of those coming from O.H. Ivie, and four of those six coming last week during a four-day stretch on the backside of a horrendous stretch of winter weather across the state.

With spring approaching and historically good bass waters slowly starting to warm up back east—Sam Rayburn and Lake Fork, here’s looking at you—who knows how much more big bass news is about to break in the coming weeks from the Lone Star State. A record year for ShareLunkers? More lake records? The long awaited sowbelly heir to the throne occupied by Barry St. Clair's 18.18-pound state record largemouth caught back in January 1992?

We'll see. But If you can get there, now's the time to go fishing for a double-digit lunker in Texas, because the fishing is about as good as it can get.

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