O.H. Ivie Churns Out Four More Massive Legacy Class ShareLunkers

O.H. Ivie Churns Out Four More Massive Legacy Class ShareLunkers

ATHENS – O.H. Ivie continued its hot streak with four more massive Legacy Class ShareLunkers in the span of four days. O.H. Ivie has now produced 10 Legacy Class entries, and this quartet of fish bumped the state total to 17 during the 2024 Toyota ShareLunker collection season.

Bud Robey of New Carlisle, Ohio reeled in 14.18-pound ShareLunker 664 on March 17; Kyle Hall of Granbury boated 15.82-pound ShareLunker 665 on March 18; Larry Walker of Irving landed his second Legacy Class fish of the season with 13.62-pound ShareLunker 666 March 20; and Scott Hines of Fort Cobb, Oklahoma caught 13.22-pound ShareLunker 667 Wednesday.

Hall’s ShareLunker 665 is the largest this season and also 37th heaviest largemouth bass in Texas history. Hall is the only angler to land a Legacy Class Lunker in three consecutive seasons. Two of Hall’s fish are currently ranked in the Texas top 50. Hall’s first top 50 fish was caught on March 1, 2022 with 16.10-pound ShareLunker 624 and on Jan. 29, 2023 he reeled in 13.58-pound ShareLunker 635. All three of Hall’s Legacy Class lunkers were caught at O.H. Ivie.

TPWD biologists determined Walker’s ShareLunker 666 was a recapture of 14.08-pound ShareLunker 646 originally submitted on Feb. 27, 2023 by angler Mechelda Criswell.

“The run of Legacy Class ShareLunkers continues strong in west Texas, and O.H. Ivie continues to attract anglers,” said Natalie Goldstrohm, Toyota ShareLunker program coordinator. “This reservoir has established itself as a top destination for many trophy largemouth bass anglers and it is no surprise that Kyle Hall and others target these giants at O.H. Ivie year after year.”

Robey almost didn’t make the trip because of a cancelled flight, but he was able to rearrange flights and arrived in Texas late. Robey got a couple of hours sleep and then awoke to fish with his friend Phil and guide Josh Jones.

“We got out on the water, and it was hard fishing because the fish were shut down due to the cold front that came through,” said Robey. “I did end up having some success earlier in the day. I got lucky and caught a 12.7-pound fish which was by far my personal best for largemouth bass up until that point. My friend Phil had caught a 12.7-pounder the day before, so we were super happy. In our minds the trip paid off with each of us catching a big bass that we came here to get.”

A large storm with lightning came in around 12:30 or 1 p.m., so the anglers headed to Elm Creek Marina to wait it out. The storm hit hard and initially they had decided to call it a day, but it started to brighten up a bit after lunch. Robey and his friend Phil decided to reverse course and go back out.

“Phil looked at me and said we may never or might not be here again for a long time so let’s give it another shot,” added Robey. “So, we said to Josh we’d like to go back out and he said sure. That decision led to me catching the ShareLunker and so glad that we did that. I was lucky in that it happened to be my turn. Josh said start casting out in this particular direction which was in five to six feet of water. I made about five casts and then I felt that tug and set the hook. When Josh netted the fish and brought it into the boat, his first words were ShareLunker. I was super happy, and it was an epic day for me to pull these two fish out of the lake.”

Robey had some knowledge of the ShareLunker program because of his friend Phil, who invited him to be a part of this trip.

“My impressions of the ShareLunker program up front are fantastic people and an awesome program,” said Robey. “The whole process was very easy, and Josh knew exactly what to do so that was great also. I was aware of the program but did not realize how big of a deal it really was. Everyone that I talked to at Elm Creek knew about the program and were super excited for me to be a part of it. Everyone was fantastic, TPWD staff, Josh, the folks at Elm Creek and I loved everybody I met. I feel super blessed to have caught this fish, have the chance to fish at O.H. Ivie and be a part of the ShareLunker program.”

Hall is a fishing guide and the client he had scheduled for the day cancelled at the last minute. Hall said he doesn’t have many days on the water by himself, so he took the opportunity to target a ShareLunker.

“I got on the water around 8 or 8:30 a.m. and really didn’t catch much until around 4 p.m.,” said Hall. “I reeled in a 10.20-pound fish and then about an hour later I did something random and ran up the river where I caught an 11-pounder. I then ran back down the lake and by the dam I came across this fish. I casted at her and she was ready to eat. It all happened so fast, and people were asking me if she jumped out of the water. She ended up not coming up out of the water, but she about ripped the rod out of my hand.”

Monday night’s catch was monumental for Hall and the ShareLunker program. He is the first angler in program history to catch a Legacy Class fish in three consecutive seasons.

“The first year I just wanted to go to the banquet and be the cool kid with a ShareLunker,” added Hall. “The first one was a 16.10-pounder which is unreal and last year I just wanted to try and catch another one. Since January 1, I’ve only been fishing by myself on O.H. Ivie for two days. After having two Legacy Class fish in a row, I knew time was closing in on me to get a third. I spent daylight to dark on Saturday and spent daylight to almost dark on Monday when I caught her around 7 p.m.”

Hall’s third experience with the ShareLunker program was once again exceptional.

“It was pretty late in the evening and TPWD staff did a great job with the process,” said Hall. “Hopefully she produces a lot of offspring to return back to the lakes around and back out here at O.H. Ivie.”

Walker was back on the lake Wednesday to fish with his good friend Josh Jones. Walker, who caught ShareLunker 663 just nine days earlier, was targeting another and planned his trip to O.H. Ivie hoping to fish during the prime spawning season on the lake.

“We got out on the water and were looking for a good area where they might be spawning,” said Walker. “We didn’t get a bite until about 12 p.m. but then I got the bite I was looking for. The fish put up a good fight and ran us all over the boat, but everything worked out perfectly. Josh put her in the net and we got an initial weight on the boat of over 13-pounds. We ran up to Elm Creek Marina to get it on the certified scale and it weighed 13.62-pounds.”

Walker made the call to submit his ShareLunker.

“TPWD and the ShareLunker program staff are so professional and thorough,” added Walker. “I’ve been telling everyone how impressed I am with the program. Texas is the best place in the world to catch massive largemouth bass and that’s because of the ShareLunker program.”

Hines and his friend Brad made the trip down from Oklahoma in search of a fish of a lifetime. Anglers from seven states, including Texas, caught Legacy Class Lunkers in 2023 and in 2024 six anglers from outside the state have journeyed to Texas on their quest for a Legacy Class ShareLunker.

“We had searched around the lake several different places, but we weren’t catching a lot of fish,” said Hines. “We were only catching a few smaller ones here and there, so we decided to go to some main lake points and throw some big swim baits. We didn’t do anything fancy and just kind of stumbled on to a big one. She was only about 20-feet from the boat when I set the hook, and she made a couple of turns. On the second turn it was towards the boat and Brad was ready with the net. He got her in there pretty quick and I’d never put a fish that size in a boat. We danced around, high fived and had a good time. It was something else.”

Hines was thrilled to be a part of the ShareLunker program and with the experience.

“Everyone we talked to with the ShareLunker program was very helpful and it was a wonderful experience,” added Hines. “We can’t thank TPWD and the ShareLunker program enough and appreciate everything that you all do. We are from Oklahoma, but we understand what a great program this is, and we are very fortunate to come down and enjoy Texas lakes.”

O.H. Ivie has produced an unprecedented run of ShareLunkers during the last four seasons, accounting for the final ShareLunker of the 2020 collection and then exploding for 12 Legacy Class Lunkers in both the 2021 and 2022 seasons. It proceeded to shatter the single-season collection record for that waterbody with 15 ShareLunker’s in 2023.

O.H. Ivie is outpacing the field again in 2024 for not only Legacy Class fish but other catch classes as well. The lake has yielded 11 Strike King Elite Class entries and three Bass Pro Shops Lunker Class entries since Jan. 1. These four fish moved the total to 49 combined Legacy Lunkers and multiple Legend Class entries over the past four collections seasons.

During the first three months of the season (Jan. 1-March 31), anglers who reel in a 13-plus 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 through March 31.

Anglers must weigh their potential Legacy Class fish on a certified scale. A list of official weigh stations can be found on the ShareLunker Official Weigh and Holding Stations website.

Anglers who catch and loan one of these 13-plus pound lunkers earn Legacy Class status, receive a catch kit filled with merchandise, a 13lb+ Legacy decal for their vehicle or boat, VIP access to the Toyota ShareLunker Annual Awards event, a high-quality replica mount of their fish from Lake Fork Taxidermy, and Bass University will provide a swag pack and annual subscription. 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.

The year-round Toyota ShareLunker program offers four levels of participation for catching bass over eight pounds or 24 inches in Texas. These four anglers used the certified scale at Elm Creek Marina to weigh their ShareLunkers.

Anglers who enter data for any lunker they catch greater than eight pounds or 24 inches during the 2024 calendar year also receive a catch kit, a decal for their vehicle or boat, a one-month subscription to Bass University and an entry into the year-end Grand Prize Drawing to win a $5,000 Bass Pro Shops shopping spree. ShareLunker entry classes include the Bass Pro Shops Lunker Class (8 lb.+), Strike King Elite Class (10 lb.+), and Lew’s Legend Class (13 lb.+).

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 have the option to send a DNA scale sample from their lunker bass to TPWD researchers for genetic analysis. Anglers who contribute a sample to the program in 2024 will receive a Lew’s baitcast reel valued at up to $200 while supplies last, with a limit of one reel per angler. Anglers who send in a genetic sample will also get a three-month subscription to Bass University. Instructions for submitting DNA samples are located on the Toyota ShareLunker website.

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.

Additional vital program support comes from Legend class category prize sponsor Lew’s, Elite class category prize sponsor Strike King, Lunker class category prize sponsor Bass Pro Shops, American Fishing Tackle Co., Bass Forecast, Bass University, Lake Fork Taxidermy and 6th Sense Fishing. For updates on the Toyota ShareLunker Program, visit facebook.com/sharelunkerprogram/, https://www.instagram.com/TexasShareLunker/ or TexasSharelunker.com.