ATHENS - Lake Palestine produced its first Toyota ShareLunker March 2, becoming the sixty-fourth public reservoir in Texas to allow an angler to land a 13-pound or larger largemouth bass.
Lindell Booth, Jr., of Chandler was fishing Kickapoo Creek on the upper end of the East Texas reservoir when the 13.14-pound bass took his green pumpkin Brush Hog in eight feet of water. The fish was 26.25 inches long and 21.25 inches in girth.
The fish is entry number 545 into the ShareLunker program. It was caught during a Media Bass tournament and is the new lake record largemouth bass.
"Palestine is past due," said Inland Fisheries biologist Richard Ott. "We had an unusually strong year class (spawn) in the flood year of 2007. After the two-year drought of 2005-2006, the high water inundated terrestrial vegetation that had grown up on the lake bottom. This has contributed to the good general fishery we are seeing on Lake Palestine right now. ShareLunker 545 was likely stocked in 2004-2005, but we will know more once genetics tests have been run."
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 the ShareLunker hotline at (903) 681-0550 or paging (888) 784-0600 and leaving a phone number including area code. Fish will be picked up by TPWD personnel within 12 hours.
Anglers entering fish into the Toyota ShareLunker program receive a free replica of their fish, a certificate and ShareLunker clothing and are recognized at a banquet at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens.
For complete information and rules of the ShareLunker program, tips on caring for big bass, a list of official Toyota ShareLunker weigh and holding stations 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 when available, 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.