ATHENS, TX – Anglers dropped three more Legacy blowholes last Tuesday, followed by a fourth Sunday on the final weekend of the 2021 Toyota ShareLunker season. Tuesday was the second triple blowhole day of the season, with OH Ivie making the first two blowholes of the day produced which extended an incredible run that brought the season total for that lake to 12.
Tuesday was crowned with another sea record and entry into the ShareLunker program for Eagle Mountain Lake for the first time. It was also the fifth blowhole this season that set a new body of water record. Then on Sunday, Lake Fork picked up its second Legacy Blowhole of the 2021 campaign and boasted the fifth fish, weighing over 15 pounds for this historic season.
Brownwood, Texas angler Jeff Windham got the day rolling with Legacy ShareLunker 605 in OH Ivie. The fish weighed 13.65 pounds when Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) staff put it on the scales.
“My fishing partner David Duncan and I pre-fished Ivie for an upcoming media team tournament,” said Windham. “On the way there he said we should get the diving net out of the rod box -” just in case “. Of course we forgot. I threw a Strike King Rage Bug into a tree in about 6 to 8 feet of water. She grabbed it and swam away with it. When I ticked the hook, she headed straight for the tree, but luckily I was able to keep her outside. After what felt like five minutes of trying, David finally got her on board. The owners of Marina Concho and the guys at TPWD were all great. Thanks for the great program! “
Later that day, OH Ivie was back on the board when angler Greg Denison of Brownwood, Texas landed the Legacy ShareLunker 606. The Legacy Blowhole had a recorded weight of 13.21 pounds, making it the 12th Legacy Blowhole of the year for the lake. It was a record season high for OH Ivie, who also had 12 entries in 2010.
“My son and I set out on Tuesday after seeing a favorable weather forecast for the day,” said Denison. “Early on I saw a large fish spinning around on the bait, but I didn’t bite it. After a few more tries and with no success, we decided to move to another location and come back later. We came back and I saw the male that was around her in front of her swimming away while the large female I saw swirling earlier lay on the bed. I tried different baits and hooks and still couldn’t insert them. I eventually went to a 6/0 ownerbeast hook and put a 4.5 inch shaded, shaded swimbait on top. I tossed it past her so I wouldn’t worry her as she was looking straight at me. As the bait got closer, she turned right and I held the bait in front of her face. I hooked the hook as tight as I could and the fight began. She tried to wrap me in salt cedar in the water, but I managed to keep her out of them and the fish fought like nothing I had ever seen. Eventually I took her to the boat and my son caught up with her and we knew she was about to become a ShareLunker. It was one of the best fishing days in my whole life and a unique experience that I will never forget. “
Due to the 10 ShareLunkers already donated by anglers from OH Ivie for selective spawning and breeding stock development, as well as the limited space in the blowhole bunker, the decision was made not to transport these fish from OH Ivie to the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center. TPWD biologists certified and collected catch and genetic information on these fish to help further assess and guide future stocking and management efforts. Because of the willingness of anglers to donate and coordinate with TPWD to provide this valuable data, they receive all of the awards and accolades associated with the Legacy class, including a fiber optic replica of their blowholes.
Angler Donald Moore crowned the day by catching the Eagle Mountain Lake record Legacy ShareLunker 607. The fish weighed 13.08 pounds, was the fifth blowhole to break a water record this season, and was the 22nd share blowhole overall for the 2021 campaign.
“I fished a tournament on Eagle Mountain Lake Tuesday night,” said Moore. “Since the tournament is only a three hour event, visual fishing is not really the ideal technique in such a short tournament as it can take a long time for a large female to bite. So I decided to go to a place that I knew would have multiple males looking for bedding and being easier to catch. I was shocked when I immediately saw a six pounder on a bed, so I turned and caught her. I went about 30 meters down the bank and saw a fish that I thought weighed about 9 or 10 pounds. When I saw how it was positioned, I knew immediately that it was catchable. I turned her on with a white zoom speed craw three times and she smoked it. A 13 pound class bitch is a fight in two feet of water, but luckily for me my good friend Tanner Worley put her on the net and we found she was much taller than 10 pounds. I take my hat off to this program made possible by the TPWD inland fisheries staff. “
Tanner Spurgin, from McKinney, Texas, reeled off the Legacy Blowhole in Lake Fork on Sunday and catapulted him to a Bass Champs Inc Mega Bass Tournament Championship. ShareLunker 608 tipped the scales at 15.27 pounds, becoming not only the fifth fish over 15 pounds this year in the 2021 season, but also the 23rd overall. It was also a personal best for Spurgin on largemouth bass.
“Things happen for a reason because I wanted to fish the first part that I found the other day,” said Spurgin. “It didn’t work out being in this place so I went to a second cut and worked on the bank looking for fish in the beds. I actually passed the place where the fish was caught twice before I saw the fish pull up high in the water column. I could tell it was a bigger fish, but I wasn’t sure what size it really was. I could see that it was on a bed and locked, but I couldn’t see which way the fish was looking. I finally hit him with my bait, saw him spin, gills flash, and he hit my bait. I ticked the box and unfortunately it came out of the water at the top. I caught up and turned back in at the same point and when she hit the bait I put the hook back on. The fight started and she fought hard and shot under the boat. It was all I could do to get hold of my rod, and about when my rod and reel threatened to break, it turned and returned to the other side of the boat. Somehow the line cleared the trolling motor, the fish came to the side of the boat, shook a few heads, and my buddy caught them. I was shocked at how big it was when we put it on the boat and back to the scales. It was also great to see the fish care and to be part of the outstanding ShareLunker program. This was certainly an experience of a lifetime. “
After being notified by Moore and Spurgin, the biologists at TPWD Inland Fisheries quickly procured the ShareLunker and transported it to the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens, Texas. This spring, TPWD biologists will attempt to spawn it to make bigger, better perch that will improve fishing in Texas lakes for years to come.
“The 2021 collection season has been phenomenal!” Said Kyle Brookshear, Toyota ShareLunker program coordinator. “The overall size of these voids was not only larger than average, the number of specimens collected also made this the best spring collection since 1995! We appreciate the support and partnership from Texan anglers. This strong partnership between anglers and the agency is paramount to the success of the ShareLunker program. Because of this, we are able to continue improving our stocking and management efforts to make bass fishing in Texas bigger and better for the next generation. “
During the first three months of the season (January 1st through March 31st) anglers fishing a perch weighing over 13 pounds can loan it to TPWD for ShareLunker’s selective breeding and stocking program. These anglers can call the ShareLunker hotline at (903) 681-0550 to report their catch by April 1, 2021 24/7.