O.H. Ivie Sets New Benchmark with Latest Legacy Lunker
ATHENS – O.H. Ivie reached another milestone on Saturday with its 13th Legacy Class fish of the 2023 Toyota ShareLunker collection season. Lee Beuershausen of Marble Falls reeled in 13.34-pound ShareLunker 648 to set a new collection season record of Legacy Lunkers for O.H. Ivie, bringing the overall total for the year to 16.
Since January 2021, O.H. Ivie has been on an unprecedented run, thanks to a combined total of 37 Legacy fish. The lake produced 12 Legacy fish in both the 2021 and 2022 collection seasons and shows no signs of slowing down with 13 already in 2023. ShareLunker 644 is the only fish of the 37 that has been determined to be a recapture from previous seasons; some genetics data are still being analyzed.
“O.H. Ivie is a fishing destination for many anglers and tournaments for good reason,” said Natalie Goldstrohm, Toyota ShareLunker program coordinator. “Despite high fishing pressure, this reservoir continues to produce Legacy Class bass week after week and month after month because of excellent fish care by our anglers and great fisheries management.”
Beuershausen was competing in the Bass Champs Tournament Saturday when he landed the catch of a lifetime. He had success catching fish at various locations on the lake during practice, but on Saturday afternoon, he headed back to one spot that showed promise. It didn’t take long for the action to heat up.
“I caught a couple of four-pounders; from there, I started catching them almost every cast using a Brush hog bait on a Carolina rig,” said Beuershausen. “The 13-pounder took the bait and, about two casts later, I reeled in another fish, around 12 pounds. That added a lot to our tournament bag really fast.”
The fish helped propel Beuershausen to the tournament championship on Saturday. In 2012, he landed a 13-pounder on Choke Canyon, but this is the first time for a firsthand interaction with the ShareLunker program.
“This experience with the ShareLunker program was fantastic,” said Beuershausen. “TPWD staff arrived quickly to collect her and were very careful handling the fish. We took really good care of the fish and it’s in great shape. I really respect what TPWD does and think this is an awesome program. The results of the work TPWD is doing are shown in our lakes. We never caught 25- to 30-pound bags up until the last 15–20 years since this program has been in place. This is a big deal to us.”
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 can 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 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.
A new procedure is in effect for the 2023 season. Legend Class ShareLunkers no longer need to be weighed on a certified scale for entry. Anglers must include a photo of their Lunker on a digital scale to qualify for Legend Class.
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 such as Bass Pro Shops, Lake Fork Taxidermy, American Fishing Tackle Company, Stanley Jigs and 6th Sense Fishing provide additional support for this program. For updates on the Toyota ShareLunker program, visit facebook.com/sharelunkerprogram/, @texassharelunker on Instagram and online at TexasSharelunker.com.