VIDEO: Watch This Texas Angler Land a Historic 17-Pound Bass
On January 24, 1992, Barry St. Clair was fishing Lake Fork near Sulphur Springs, Texas, when he landed a monster largemouth bass weighing 18.18 pounds. Over 30 years later, that fish still holds the record for the largest largemouth landed in Texas. In fact, Lake Fork boasts the all-time top six.
Jason Conn of Anna, Texas (north of Dallas), was recently fishing with two buddies on Lake O.H. Ivie near San Angelo when he got a major strike on his line. When the bass was netted and in the boat, Conn knew it was something special.
The largemouth ended up weighing 17.03 pounds. St. Clair's Texas record is still intact, but Conn now has the 8th-largest largemouth bass of all time.
O.H. Ivie’s unprecedented run in 2023 continues as Conn's catch now gives the lake its eighth Legacy Class fish of the 2023 Toyota ShareLunker collection season. It's the sixth-heaviest ShareLunker donated to the program.
“An incredible catch by Conn led to a truly historic day for bass fishing in Texas,” said Natalie Goldstrohm, Toyota ShareLunker program coordinator. “Bass this large are especially rare and this fish is one of the biggest bass ever caught in Texas. We are thankful to Conn for sharing his catch with the program and for the chance to spawn this exceptional bass with a male ShareLunker descendent, so her offspring have the best genetic potential to grow into Lunker bass.”
According to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, Conn became the 10th angler to submit a fish this season and for the second year in a row, O.H. Ivie has delivered a fish over 17 pounds. Brodey Davis of Tuttle, Oklahoma, boated 17.06-pound ShareLunker 620 on Feb. 24 last year.
Conn was guiding a trip and instructing a client at the front of the boat when he spotted a big fish. That particular fish didn’t take the bait, but as they were drifting backwards in the boat, Conn saw his would-be ShareLunker under the trolling motor. He walked back to get into position and placed the bait.
“The bait went right over her head and she just smoked it,” said Conn. “She comes out of the water with the Alabama Rig hanging out of her mouth and she digs back down. I’m screaming for them to grab the net and once we got her in the net, I’m freaking out, hugging one of the clients while the other is hanging over the boat with the fish in the net. I finally got it together and we went over to pick her up. It was the biggest bass I’ve ever seen or caught.”
During the first three months of the season (January through March), anglers who reel in a 13-plus pound bass can loan it to TPWD for the ShareLunker selective breeding and stocking program. These anglers call the ShareLunker hotline at (903) 681-0550 to report their catch 24/7 through March 31.
Anglers who catch and donate a 13-plus pound Lunker earn Legacy Class status, a catch kit filled with merchandise, a 13-plus pound Legacy decal for their vehicle or boat, VIP access to the Toyota ShareLunker Annual Awards event and a high-quality replica mount of their Lunker fish from Lake Fork Taxidermy. These anglers will also receive entries into two separate contests — a Legacy Class drawing and the year-end Grand Prize drawing. First place in either wins a $5,000 Bass Pro Shops shopping spree and a resident (or non-resident) annual fishing license.
The year-round Toyota ShareLunker program offers four levels of participation for catching bass over eight pounds or 24 inches in Texas. In addition to Legacy Class (13-plus pounds between January and March), ShareLunker entry classes include the Lunker Class (8-plus pounds), Elite Class (10-plus pounds), and Legend Class (13-plus pounds from April to December).
Anglers who enter data for any Lunker they catch (greater than eight pounds or 24 inches) during the calendar year 2023 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.
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 basic catch information, anglers can also provide a DNA scale sample from their Lunker bass to TPWD researchers for genetic analysis.
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