O.H. Ivie powers ahead with ShareLunker 669

ATHENS O.H. Ivie added another Legacy Class ShareLunker during the final week of the 2024 Toyota ShareLunker collection season. Angler Tery Lewis of Lubbock reeled in 13.99-pound ShareLunker 669 Thursday to push O.H. Ivie’s season total to 12 and the statewide tally to 19. It proved to be the final Legacy Class entry for the 2024 collection season.

“The run of Legacy Class ShareLunkers from O.H. Ivie continued strong throughout March” Natalie Goldstrohm, Toyota ShareLunker program coordinator, said in a news release. “Despite the heavy fishing pressure, this reservoir consistently yields top-tier bass week after week and month after month, thanks to the effective fisheries management practices.”

Lewis had been chasing a Legacy Class ShareLunker for roughly three years and Thursday his quest was completed.

“We saw her earlier in the day, but she wasn’t locking in on a bed or anything,” said Lewis. “However, we came back later and at that point she had locked in. We sat on her for about 45 minutes, and I missed her once, but we gave her a few more minutes and went back. I flipped it in there again, pulled it to her and she bit it. I didn’t realize initially how big she was and thought she may be around 10 or 11 pounds, but then she jumped out of the water and my heart rate got going. We got her netted and it was a fish of a lifetime.”

The Legacy Class Lunker was also a personal best for Lewis, breaking his previous mark of 12.11-pounds and placing him in the ShareLunker program.

“Hats off to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for the great job that they do managing these fish and supporting the anglers,” added Lewis. “Their work and the effort they put into it along with the support from ShareLunker program sponsors makes going out fishing so much better.”

O.H. Ivie’s current run extended to seven consecutive Legacy Lunkers with ShareLunker 669. It has produced an unprecedented number of ShareLunkers during the last four seasons, accounting for the final ShareLunker of the 2020 collection season and then exploding for 12 Legacy Class Lunkers in both the 2021 and 2022 seasons and now the 2024 campaign. It proceeded to shatter the single-season collection record for that waterbody with 15 ShareLunkers in 2023. This fish moved the total to 51 combined Legacy Lunkers and multiple Legend Class entries over the past four collections seasons.

Due to limited space in the Lunker Bunker, and having accepted 10 fish from O.H. Ivie, TPWD staff did not transport ShareLunker 669 to the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center (TFFC). The fish was returned to the angler and released into the lake. However, staff did process this Legacy Class ShareLunker submission on site, meaning biologists met the angler to take measurements, record official weight and collect genetic samples for analysis.

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. Lewis used the certified scale at Elm Creek Marina to weigh his ShareLunker.

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.