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Media Contact: Larry Hodge, 903-676-2277, larry.hodge@tpwd.texas.gov [LH]

TPWD Website: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us

TPWD News Release — March 17, 2009

Yantis Angler "Sweetens" ShareLunker Season

ATHENS, Texas—Bill Sweeten of Yantis pulled Lake Fork into a tie with Lake Conroe for the most ShareLunkers of the current season when he pulled a 14.43-pound bass from Lake Fork Monday.

Sweeten was fishing in five to eight feet of water when the big bass took a red Rat-L-Trap. The fish was 26.75 inches long and 21.5 inches in girth.

Fork and Conroe have now each produced four ShareLunkers during the current season. Choke Canyon Reservoir has sent three big bass to the lunker bunker at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center (TFFC) in Athens.

With nearly six weeks to go until the April 30 closing date, the ShareLunker program has received 14 entries this season and seems likely to reach the long-term season average of 21.

Anglers are reminded that despite their size, big bass are fragile creatures and should be handled carefully to avoid breaking their jaws. Fish should always be handled with wet hands and supported by the lower lip and underneath the belly. Big bass should never be held in one hand with all the weight on the jaw. This frequently results in a broken or injured jaw that may prevent the fish from being able to eat.

Hatchery personnel at TFFC are gearing up for the spawning season. ShareLunkers are used in a selective breeding program designed to increase the size and number of big bass in Texas public waters. A portion of the year’s production is stocked into each lake producing a ShareLunker. Anglers have the option of returning their lunker to the lake where it was caught following the close of the spawning season.

Anyone legally catching a largemouth bass weighing 13 pounds or more in Texas waters, public or private, can enter it into the ShareLunker program by calling program manager David Campbell at (903) 681-0550 or paging him at (888) 784-0600 and leaving a number, including area code.

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