Two Huge Largemouth Bass Caught In Texas

Andrew Watson holds up the first ShareLunker of the season, a 13.51-pound beauty of a largemouth bass.
Larry D. Hodge, © Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

The first two entries of the 26th Toyota ShareLunker season have been submitted as two huge largemouth bass were caught over the holiday season.

Andrew Watson of Highland Village caught the first entry of the season out of Lake Fork on December 27, 2011.

Watson was fishing for crappie with his father under the Texas 154 bridge when a huge bass began taking their live minnows.

?She broke my 8-pound line twice, so we decided to try to catch her,? Watson said.

The third time she took a minnow, Watson was ready. He played her around the boat for several minutes before bringing her to the net.

The fish was held for pickup at The Minnow Bucket, an official Toyota ShareLunker weigh and holding station. The fish weighed in at an impressive 13.51 pounds, and measured 25.5 inches long and 21.25 inches in girth. It is now Toyota ShareLunker 524.

Jason Brudnicki with a 13.36-pound largemouth.
© Courtesy Randy Brudnicki

Sharelunker 525 came out of Falcon International Reservoir the very next day, courtesy of Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine publisher Randy Brudnicki. 

Fishing with his sons Jason and Dustin, the trip struggled to catch a lunker for two days, catching only small bass mid-lake and near the dam. Finally, a wind shift from north to south proved to be the difference. ?I knew to look for places where the south wind would blow in to points,? Brudnicki said. ?After spending some time on the main point but only catching small fish, we moved upwind to a ledge.

?My son Jason, who lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, started throwing a Strike King 6XD crankbait," Brudnicki continued, "a Christmas present from his older brother, Dustin. The big girl hit right under the boat as he ended his retrieve. He set the hook and she pulled a little line. Dustin grabbed the net and in seconds the fish was in the boat.?

A few casts later Jason caught another big fish, and they decided to weigh them. The smaller fish went eight pounds, but the big fish bottomed out their scale. After borrowing a scale from another boat, they realized they had a ShareLunker and took it to Falcon Lake Tackle to be weighed on a certified scale. The official weight is 13.36 pounds.

Keeping the big fish alive for the five hours it would take for a truck to arrive from the A.E. Wood Fish Hatchery in San Marcos now became their top priority. ?We ran both recirculating and aeration pumps non-stop,? Brudnicki said. ?The mid-50 degree water temperature helped a lot.? They finally turned the fish over to TPWD about 7 p.m.

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.

The person who catches the largest entry of the season will be named Angler of the Year. If that person is a Texas resident, he or she will receive a lifetime fishing license. The Angler of the Year will also receive a prize package from G. Loomis worth more than $700. The package will include a G.Loomis NRX 854C JWR casting rod, a 7?1?, fast-action, power-oriented casting and pitching stick designed specifically for fishing big bass in heavy cover. It?s rated for 14 to 20-pound test line and lures ranging from 5/16 to ¾ ounces.

Also included will be a Shimano Chronarch 200 E7 casting reel. The new Chronarch E reels feature a long list of proven Shimano features including high efficiency gearing, a lo-mass drilled spool system and super stopper. For smoothness and durability, each has a shielded A-RB ball bearing, five shielded SUS bearings, and a roller clutch. The 200 weighs in at 7.6 oz.; the amount of line retrieved per crank is 30-inches. A 150-yard spool of 30-pound green Power Pro braided line will also be included.

ShareLunker entries are used in a selective breeding program at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center (TFFC) 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 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 The site also includes a searchable database of all fish entered into the program along with pictures where available.

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