Lawing had reeled his spinner bait almost all the way back to the boat when a 13.06-pound bass took it. That fish is now Toyota ShareLunker 530.
Lawing reported the fish bit about 1:30 p.m. in 2.5 feet of near-60-degree water. He won big bass and placed third in the tournament. Half his bag weight was the one fish.
When measured at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center, the fish was 25 inches long and 21 inches in girth.
Four ShareLunkers have come from Lake Ray Roberts in the past, the last in 2005. Two were caught in 2000 and one in 1999.
“She short-struck me on about six feet of line and made one pull toward the trolling motor,” Lawing said. “My partner got the net in the water and she swam straight into the net. It was very, very quick. It was just an incredible day. Bass Champs did an incredible job taking care of her and keeping her in good shape.”
Anyone legally catching a 13-pound or bigger largemouth bass from Texas waters, public or private, between October 1 and April 30 may submit the fish to the Toyota ShareLunker program by calling program manager David Campbell at (903) 681-0550 or paging him at (888) 784-0600 and leaving a phone number including area code. Fish will be picked up by TPWD personnel within 12 hours.
ShareLunker entries are used in a selective breeding program at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center (TFFC) in Athens. Some of the offspring from these fish are stocked back into the water body from which they were caught. Other ShareLunker offspring are stocked in public waters around the state in an attempt to increase the overall size and growth rate of largemouth bass in Texas.
Anglers entering fish into the Toyota ShareLunker program receive a free replica of their fish, a certificate and ShareLunker clothing and are recognized at a banquet at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens.
For complete information and rules of the ShareLunker program, tips on caring for big bass, a list of official Toyota ShareLunker weigh and holding stations and a recap of last year’s season, see http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/sharelunker. The site also includes a searchable database of all fish entered into the program along with pictures where available.
Information on current catches, including short videos of interviews with anglers when available, is posted on www.facebook.com/sharelunkerprogram.
The Toyota ShareLunker Program is made possible by a grant to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation from Gulf States Toyota. Toyota is a long-time supporter of the Foundation and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, providing major funding for a wide variety of education, fish, parks and wildlife projects.