ATHENS – O.H. Ivie reservoir produced another Legacy Class largemouth bass to close out the first month of the 2022 Toyota ShareLunker season. Brett Cannon of Willis, Texas, who reeled in ShareLunker 593 in 2021, got back on the board Thursday Jan. 27 to become the second angler this season to catch a Legacy Lunker in back-to-back campaigns. Josh Jones, who caught two Lunkers a year ago, brought 14.13-pound ShareLunker 612 into his boat earlier in the month.
The month of January saw six total Lunkers caught by anglers from across the nation, five of which were from O.H. Ivie that boasted 12 in 2021. The six Lunkers outpaced last year’s January total of four.
Cannon hooked his second career Legacy Lunker Thursday Jan. 27 using a single Divine 3.8 Swimbait in about 20-feet of water. ShareLunker 614 weighed 13.37 pounds once Cannon got the fish on the scales.
“Catching one ShareLunker is an unbelievable accomplishment, but catching two is a long shot,” said Cannon. “I decided to see if I could try my luck again on the best lake in the country. On my five-hour drive to OH Ivie, I daydreamed of catching another ShareLunker, but truthfully just wanted a shot at another double-digit.”
Cannon said the first few days were a grind and although he saw some big fish, they seemed to be very pressured. In the afternoon on the third day, Cannon decided to go look for some untapped water and it paid off. At around 4:30 that afternoon he found a group of fish on top of a tree. He proceeded to catch an eight- and seven-pound fish on back-to-back casts. He knew there was a giant fish in that area and fired the bait towards the tree once again. Cannon hooked it and at the time thought it could be the new world record.
“This fish pulled harder than any fish I’ve ever caught,” added Cannon. “At this moment, I began to pray that she wouldn’t come off. Hooking a fish of this size is half the battle because so many things can go wrong. After what seemed to be a 30-minute fight, which turned out to be only a few minutes, I netted this giant! I started to freak out, shake, scream, and began talking to myself out loud! I knew it was a ShareLunker, but I didn’t know if I was a 13 or 15 pounder. I put it in the live well so fast and hauled it to Elm Creek.
“It was one of the prettiest fish I’ve ever seen. It slowly started to sink in when the crowd of people started surrounding me and when I was waiting for ShareLunker to come pick her up. Consecutive seasons with a ShareLunker is an amazing accomplishment and I am so thankful for all the hard work the ShareLunker program and the state puts in to make Texas the best bass fishing state in the country. My goal now is the catch another one next year.”
Once Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) Inland Fisheries biologists were notified, they quickly got on the road to collect and transport ShareLunker 614 to the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens, where biologists are providing it top-notch care. Biologists plan to attempt to spawn her with a male offspring of a prior ShareLunker to make bigger, better bass to stock in and enhance fishing in Texas lakes.
“This January has been an incredible month for the 2022 collection season,” said Kyle Brookshear Toyota ShareLunker Program Manager. “Not only did we surpass our total from January of last year’s record season but, we also had several Lunkers that were very close to that 13-pound mark. If this pace is maintained, 2022 could be another season for the record books.”
During the first three months of the season (Jan. 1 through March 31), anglers who reel in a 13+ pound bass can loan it to TPWD 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+ lunkers earn Legacy Class status, receive a catch kit filled with merchandise, a 13+ 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 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 over eight 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 eight 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 (8lb+), Elite Class (10lb+), and Legend Class (13lb+).
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 TPWD, 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.
For pictures of the Legacy Class ShareLunker’s caught during the 2022 season, visit the TPWD Flickr album at https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjzxNwz.