AUSTIN – In February 2017, Marine Creek Lake produced the first ever confirmed Toyota ShareLunker offspring entered in the program, a major milestone in the program’s effort to create bigger, better bass in Texas. Two years later, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department biologists confirmed that ShareLunker 577, a 14.57 pound bass caught at Marine Creek Lake Jan. 26, is a full sibling to the 2017 Marine Creek Lake fish, both stocked from the same group of selectively bred largemouth bass 13 years ago.
“Having two confirmed ShareLunker offspring caught in Marine Creek Lake is very satisfying, because before we stocked it with ShareLunker fingerlings it didn’t have a history of producing trophy-sized bass,” said Tom Hungerford, TPWD Inland Fisheries Assistant Biologist from the Dallas-Fort Worth District Office. “But I thought if the genetics really play a role in producing double digit bass then a lake like that will truly show the potential – and it has.”
Genetic testing conducted by TPWD fisheries biologists using a clip from ShareLunker 577’s fin found she is not only the full sister to ShareLunker 566, the 13.07 pound bass caught by angler Ryder Wicker from Marine Creek Lake in February 2017, she’s also the daughter of ShareLunker 410, a 14.48 pound bass caught by angler Edward Reid from Lake Conroe in March 2006.
“In 2006 and 2008 we stocked thousands of fingerlings produced by spawning ShareLunker 410 and other 13 pound and larger bass as part of a research project to evaluate the growth of ShareLunker offspring in public reservoirs,” Hungerford said. “With the two confirmed ShareLunker offspring caught and entered in the program from Marine Creek Lake – along with other double-digit bass other anglers have caught there recently – it’s clear those fingerlings have absolutely survived and thrived. And the potential for even larger bass continues because we keep seeing bigger and bigger fish being caught in that lake every year.”
Hungerford said ShareLunker 577 beats the current water body record at the lake by nearly two pounds, and it’s also the largest largemouth bass ever caught within the four-county Dallas-Forth Worth district. ShareLunker 577 is also the third confirmed ShareLunker offspring ever entered in the program, a list that also includes full sibling ShareLunker 566 and ShareLunker 567, a 13.06 pound bass caught by angler Larry Mosby from Lake Naconiche in February 2017.
Angler Zach Sypert, who caught the 14.57 pound “Legacy Class” ShareLunker while taking a friend out to fish at Marine Creek Lake Jan. 26, said his immediate reaction to catching a double digit bass that size was “disbelief and shock.” Once he realized just how big the fish was, he said he immediately reached out to the Toyota ShareLunker program so that she would have a chance to spawn and create a new generation of ShareLunker bass stocked into public reservoirs in the state.
“This has been my most memorable moment bass fishing so far,” Sypert said. “I chose to loan this fish to the ShareLunker program because I would love for someone else to catch a fish that big down the road too.”
ShareLunker 577 is currently at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens where hatchery staff will monitor and care for her in preparation for spawning to create more selectively bred ShareLunker offspring for stocking into Texas lakes.
Although Marine Creek Lake has clearly proven to produce huge bass, Hungerford said catching the fish of a lifetime there is no guarantee. In fact, Sypert said ShareLunker 577 was his only bite that day.
“Marine Creek Lake is not the easiest lake to go catch fish,” Hungerford said. “The water is very clear and it gets a lot of pressure because its 250 acres right off the loop in Fort Worth. The fish are kind of spooky and it’s not uncommon to only catch a couple of fish a day.”
“I will say that ShareLunker 577 was caught on the same kind of bait as ShareLunker 566 was caught on 2017,” Hungerford added. “So if you want to increase your odds of catching a ShareLunker at Marine Creek Lake, I wouldn’t stop throwing a jerk bait out there.”
ShareLunker 577 is the first 13 pound or larger “Legacy Class” largemouth bass submitted to the Toyota ShareLunker program so far this season, but anglers have until March 31 to submit their catch for TPWD to collect as brood stock for spawning and to collect great prizes in return. “Legacy Class” ShareLunker catches can be reported 24 hours a day, seven days a week during the season, by calling (903) 681-0550.
All other bass 8 pounds and larger can also be entered in the program for recognition and prizes through the Toyota ShareLunker app – available for free download from the Apple App Store and Google Play –or on the Toyota ShareLunker website, https://texassharelunker.com. Anglers are also encouraged to submit scale samples from their eligible catches for genetic analysis. Instructions for collecting and submitting samples can be found on the website and in the app.
The Toyota ShareLunker Program is made possible in part by the generous sponsorship of Toyota. Toyota is a longtime supporter of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, providing major funding for a wide variety of education, fish, parks and wildlife projects.
Prize sponsors Bass Pro Shops, Lake Fork Taxidermy and American Fishing Tackle Co. also provide additional support for this program.
For updates on the Toyota ShareLunker program and to view photos of all of the 13-pound-plus largemouth bass caught this season, visit https://www.facebook.com/ShareLunkerprogram or https://texassharelunker.com/.