ATHENS, Texas–The Budweiser ShareLunker 2004-2005 season closed April 30 with 24 fish entered, the highest total since 1996.
A large measure of credit for this year’s performance goes to Lake Alan Henry. The 2,880-acre lake southeast of Lubbock produced nine ShareLunkers, largemouth bass weighing 13 pounds or more. Lake Fork contributed seven, Sam Rayburn Reservoir two, and Lakes Falcon, Ray Roberts, Austin and Choke Canyon one each. Two lunkers came from private waters.
Nine of the fish spawned. Genetic testing showed that six of the big females were pure Florida largemouth bass. They produced 101,000 fry. Most of the fingerlings produced from these fry will be stocked into lakes which produced this year’s ShareLunkers. In addition, 20,000 will be reared to 6 inches and used for growth research studies.
Three females classified as intergrades (crosses between Florida largemouth bass and northern largemouth bass) spawned and produced 70,000 fry that will also be stocked into public waters.
The 171,000 fry are the most produced in one year since the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center opened.
Budweiser ShareLunker program manager David Campbell expects to have most of the donated fish returned to their lakes of origin by mid-May.
Details on the fish entered into the program this year follow, in chronological order.
Oct. 29. Danny P. McBride of Hatchett, Ark., landed a 13.16-pound largemouth bass that became the season’s first entry into the Budweiser ShareLunker program. McBride’s fish was the first ShareLunker from Lake Fork caught in the month of October and only the fifth October fish entered into the program since its inception in 1986.
McBride hooked the big fish in 12 feet of water while using a Carolina rig. The fish was 25 inches long and measured 21 inches around.
Dec. 2. Scott Farmer of Yantis pulled the season’s second Budweiser ShareLunker from Lake Fork. The 13.6-pound largemouth had a girth of 21.5 inches and was 24.5 inches long.
Farmer caught the big fish at a depth of 32 feet in the middle of the lake. It bit on a black jig.
Dec. 4. Falcon Reservoir produced its first Budweiser ShareLunker in nine years, when San Antonio resident Jerry Campos pulled a 14.28-pound largemouth from the lake.
The Campos fish was caught in 5 feet of water on a soft plastic bait. The fish was 26 inches long and 21.5 inches around.
As the Texas resident catching the largest fish of the season, Campos will be honored as Budweiser ShareLunker Angler of the Year at the annual banquet scheduled for May 28 in Athens. In addition to receiving a fiberglass replica of his fish made by Lake Fork Taxidermy and a ShareLunker jacket and cap, Campos will be awarded a lifetime fishing license.
Jan. 29. Rickey D. Williams of Lubbock kicked off a record-setting weekend for Lake Alan Henry when he hooked ShareLunker No. 4, a 13.14-pound fish, on a spinner bait in 8 feet of water shortly before noon. The 26-inch-long fish had a girth of 20 inches.
Jan. 29. Later that day Ben J. Kirkpatrick of Wolfforth went 40 feet deep with a black and blue jig to hook a 13.48-pounder that stretched 25 inches long and 22 inches around. It was the second fish of the day from Lake Alan Henry.
Jan. 30. Lake Alan Henry stayed hot. Kevin Ray Phillips of Sundown caught a 13.45-pounder in 6 feet of water up the river on a Norman DD-14 in Tennessee shad pattern. The fish was 25.5 inches long and 20.625 inches around.
Jan. 30. The fourth fish from Lake Alan Henry in two days just barely made the cut at 13 pounds even, but it marked the first time in the 19-year history of the Budweiser ShareLunker program that four entries were caught from the same lake in a two-day period.
Fishing the main lake in 6 feet of water, Lubbock resident Coy Callison used a chartreuse Norman DD-22 to pull in the 25.25-inch-long, 20.25-inch girth fish.
Feb. 12. Jim Lee of Winnsboro caught ShareLunker No. 8, a 13.91-pound largemouth, from a 55-acre private lake in Wood County. The fish measured 25.5 inches long and 22.125 inches around. Lee was using a 1/8-ounce Bass Assassin jighead with a white Team Luck E Strike three-inch curly-tail grub.
Feb. 19. Andrew Elder, a sixteen-year-old from Deville, Louisiana, caught Budweiser ShareLunker No. 9 from Lake Fork.
Deville was fishing in 3 to 4 feet of water in Pension Creek when a 13.67-pound largemouth hit his crawfish Rat-L-Trap. The fish was 25 inches long and 22.125 inches around.
March 3. Derrell Maltsberger of Denton caught a 13.19-pound largemouth from Lake Fork about 2:15 p.m.
Maltsberger pulled the fish from 9 feet of water near the dam. The fish was 24.75 inches long and 22 inches in girth.
Lakes Fork and Alan Henry were now tied for the season lead with four ShareLunkers each, but the battle was just beginning.
March 5. Mark A. LeBlanc of Orange caught a 13.59-pound lunker from Sam Rayburn Reservoir on March 5. It was 25.5 inches long and 21 inches around.
Le Blanc was fishing in 5 feet of water with a Senko plastic bait in a watermelon red/green flake pattern.
The Le Blanc fish was the first ShareLunker caught from Sam Rayburn since 2002 and only the third since 1998, when it produced six ShareLunkers. That lake has contributed a total of 22 fish to the Budweiser ShareLunker program.
March 6. Roger Frazier Jr., of The Colony was fishing Ray Roberts Lake when he caught a 13.9-pound fish measuring 25.5 inches long and 20.75 inches around.
Frazier’s fish hit a fluke in 2 feet of water in the north end of Ray Roberts. The fish was the first ShareLunker taken from Ray Roberts since 2000 and only the fourth in that lake’s history.
March 10. Mike Modisett of Lubbock caught ShareLunker No. 13 from Lake Alan Henry on March 10. The 13.82-pound fish bit a bass minnow in 15 feet of water under a crappie house. It measured 25.75 inches long and 20 inches in girth.
The fish was the tenth to be entered in the Budweiser ShareLunker program from Lake Alan Henry and the fifth to be caught from the lake this season.
March 11. Lake Fork contributed its fifth fish of the season when Art Price of Crowley hooked a 13.25-pounder while fishing a black and blue jig with Zoom trailer in 9 feet of water on the side of a point. The fish was 26 inches long and 21.5 inches in girth.
March 12. Far to the south of those lakes, Dwayne Kinley of Austin pulled a 13.07-pound largemouth from 4 feet of water in Lake Austin. Kinley was fishing a secondary point using a Brush Hog. The fish was 26.25 inches long and 20 inches around.
Kinley’s fish was the sixth to be entered into the program from Lake Austin.
March 12. At about the same time Kinley caught his fish, George Shaw of San Antonio was battling a 13.26-pounder on Choke Canyon Reservoir. Shaw was fishing in 8 to 9 feet of water when the big bass bit a watermelon red Brush Hog. The fish was 24.75 inches long and 20.25 inches in girth. Shaw’s fish is only the fourth to be entered into the Budweiser ShareLunker program from Choke Canyon.
March 20. Douglas Garland of College Station landed the second-largest fish of the 2004-2005 season, a 14.12-pound largemouth, from a private lake in Wood County. The big bass was 26.5 inches long and 21.75 inches around.
Garland was using a Stanley spinner bait in 5 to 6 feet of water.
March 20. Gary Boyles of Lubbock caught the sixth Budweiser ShareLunker of the year from Lake Alan Henry on March 20. The 13.61-pound bass was 25.25 inches long and 21 inches in girth.
Boyles was fishing in 12 feet of water in Grape Creek with a Berkley Power Worm.
March 28. Guide David Strahan of Alba put Lake Fork into a tie with Lake Alan Henry when he brought in Lake Fork’s sixth Budweiser ShareLunker of the season, a13.05-pound fish that was 24.75 inches long and 21.25 inches around.
Strahan caught the fish in 5 feet of open water using a white lizard on a beautiful sunshine-drenched morning.
March 30. Mark Gibertini of Albuquerque, New Mexico, caught the season’s seventh ShareLunker from Lake Alan Henry, a 13.68-pound largemouth that stretched 26.25 inches long and 20.75 inches around.
Gibertini was fishing in 4 feet of water in the Big Grape area when the fish bit a waterdog.
March 31. Lake Fork pulled back into a tie with Lake Alan Henry for most fish entered into the Budweiser ShareLunker program during the current season.
David Meeks of Texarkana pulled a 13.03-pound bass from 2 feet of water in Wright Creek. The fish bit on a watermelon Senko. The big bass was 24.25 inches long and 21.75 inches around.
April 14. Lakes Alan Henry and Fork continued their see-saw battle to produce the most ShareLunkers during the current season. Jimmy McMahon of Big Spring entered the eighth Budweiser ShareLunker of the season from Lake Alan Henry.
McMahon was fishing in 3 feet of water using a Mad Man White Craw when he hooked the 13.03-pound fish. It measured 26 inches long and 20.5 inches in girth.
April 15. Lake Alan Henry tightened its grip on first place in the race to produce the most ShareLunkers this year.
Matthew Kent Jolly of Lubbock caught the ninth ShareLunker of the year from the lake, a 13-pound fish boated about 2:30 p.m. from 6 feet of water on the south side of Gobbler Creek. Matthew’s father hooked the fish first, but she tangled the line in a tree and got off. Matthew hooked and landed the 25-inch-long, 20-inch-girth fish a few minutes later.
April 20. Nick Brinlee of Longview caught the final Budweiser ShareLunker of the 2004-2005 season from Sam Rayburn Reservoir on April 20.
Brinlee was fishing a grass bed in 8 feet of water when the 13.36-pound largemouth took a pumpkinseed worm on a Carolina rig. The fish was 26.5 inches long and 21 inches around.
total of 391 fish have been entered into the program since its inception in the fall of 1986. Of those, 376 * were caught from 52 bodies of public water. The remaining 15 ** were caught from private lakes.
This season marked the first time in the 19-year history of the Budweiser ShareLunker program that Lake Fork did not produce as many or more lunkers than any other lake in Texas. Sam Rayburn Reservoir and Lake Fork each produced six ShareLunkers in 1998. – Lake Mohave
– Lake Mohave