ATHENS – The month of January begins a new year and with it the beginning of the 36th season of the Toyota ShareLunker program when anglers cast their lines and fish for largemouth bass in Texas’ world class fisheries across the state. The Toyota ShareLunker program has played an integral part in making Texas a destination for hundreds of thousands of anglers in search of this prized sport fish.
The 2021 season 35 was one for the record books. Last year saw multiple milestones reached and memories made by anglers and the dedicated Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Inland Fisheries staff that make the program a success. Anticipation is high for what 2022 could have in store for anglers across the state and the nation.
What better way to jump start the new year than to grab a pole and hit the water in search of a 13-pound-plus largemouth bass? Nothing beats the feel of the line being cast, seeing the lure land on the water, and the anticipation of a strike from a possible fish of a lifetime.
“We are excited to kick off another ShareLunker season,” said Toyota ShareLunker Program coordinator Kyle Brookshear. “The Sharelunker program contributes to the selective spawning and stocking of these world-class offspring and also helps us gather vital catch and genetic data to help our fisheries biologists better manage trophy bass populations throughout the great fisheries of Texas.”
During the first three months of the season (Jan. 1 through March 31), anglers who reel in a 13-pound-plus bass can loan it to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for the ShareLunker selective breeding and stocking program. These anglers can call the ShareLunker hotline at 903-681-0550 to report their catch 24/7 until April 1.
Anglers who catch and donate one of these 13-pound-plus lunkers earn Legacy Class status, receive a catch kit filled with merchandise, a 13-pound-plus Legacy decal for their vehicle or boat, VIP access to the Toyota ShareLunker annual awards event and a high-quality replica mount of their fish from Lake Fork Taxidermy. These anglers will also receive entries into two separate drawings: a Legacy Class drawing and the year-end grand prize drawing. Both drawings will award the winner a $5,000 Bass Pro Shops shopping spree and an annual fishing license.
The year-round Toyota ShareLunker program offers four levels of participation for catching bass more than 8 pounds or 24 inches in Texas. The 2022 season offers an opportunity to join the special club of premier anglers who have submitted a Legacy Class ShareLunker.
Anglers who enter data for any lunker they catch greater than 8 pounds or 24 inches during the calendar year 2022 also receive a catch kit, a decal for their vehicle or boat and an entry into the year-end grand prize drawing to win a $5,000 Bass Pro Shops shopping spree and annual fishing license. ShareLunker entry classes include the Lunker Class (8-pound-plus), Elite Class (10-pound-plus), and Legend Class (13-pound-plus).
Once a lunker is reeled in, anglers need to enter the catch data on the Toyota ShareLunker mobile app – available for free from the Apple App Store and Google Play – or on the Toyota ShareLunker online app at TexasSharelunker.com. In addition to providing basic catch information, anglers can also provide a DNA scale sample from their lunker bass to TPWD researchers for genetic analysis.
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 the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, providing major funding for a wide variety of fisheries, state parks and wildlife projects.
Prize donors including Bass Pro Shops, Lake Fork Taxidermy, American Fishing Tackle Co., Stanley Jigs and Sixth Sense Lures also provide additional support for this program. For updates on the Toyota ShareLunker Program, visit facebook.com/sharelunkerprogram/ or TexasSharelunker.com.