Toledo Bend, O.H. Ivie back in the ShareLunker spotlight

ATHENS Toledo Bend and O.H. Ivie shared the ShareLunker Legacy Class stage to kick off the final week of February. O.H. Ivie in West Texas continued its unprecedented run of monster largemouth bass and Toledo Bend in East Texas showed that excellent fisheries abound from one corner of Texas to the other.

Tracy Adair of Hemphill landed 13.61-pound ShareLunker 658 Monday evening at Toledo Bend followed by Josh Hiler of Montgomery, who reeled in 13.13-pound ShareLunker 659 early Tuesday morning at O.H. Ivie. The catches raised the overall Legacy Class total to nine for the 2024 Toyota ShareLunker collection season. Adair’s Legacy Lunker was the eighth all-time for Toledo Bend and Hiler’s fish was the fifth for O.H. Ivie this year.

“Having Legacy Class ShareLunkers caught throughout the state serves as a clear affirmation of the exemplary fishery management practices being implemented statewide by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department,” Natalie Goldstrohm, Toyota ShareLunker program coordinator, said in a news release. “To have a 13+ pound largemouth bass caught in far east Texas one day then one caught in west Texas the next highlights that Legacy Class ShareLunkers can be caught throughout the state.”

Lance Wakeland of Fenton, Mo. was the last angler to boat a Legacy Class fish from Toledo Bend with 13.30-pound ShareLunker 557 on March 18, 2014. William Gilbert of Hemphill recorded Toledo Bend’s first ever Legacy Class fish with 13.10-pound ShareLunker 251 on Oct. 23, 1996. Eric Weems holds the current official lake record for a largemouth bass with his 15.32-pound catch on July 3, 2000.

Adair launched his boat on the water at about 3:15 in the afternoon. Due to windy conditions, he stayed off the main lake and fished around some pockets instead.

“I caught a couple of small fish and then decided to venture out of the pocket onto a small secondary point,” Adair said in the release. “I threw a crankbait a couple of times and got hung up in the grass, so I switched to a jerkbait. I was sitting in about 13-feet of water casting out into eight to nine feet of water, so I threw out a little deeper with the jerk bait. I thought I got hung up again in the grass, and so I pulled hard to get it out of the grass. On the second pull she took off and I realized I wasn’t in grass, she had the bait.”

The battle between Adair and his fish of a lifetime ensued.

“She came straight to the boat and then went under it, so I loosened my drag and started hand feeding line out from under the boat,” added Adair. “My line then went slack, and I thought that whatever it was it slipped off the hook. I started reeling the line back in and when I got it tight, I realized she was still there, and the fish took off again. She pulled my boat about 15-20 yards before she started to tire out. She was getting close to some timber, so I started to reel in again and she finally came up behind the boat and I was able to get her in.”

Adair got an initial weight of around 13.60-pounds, so he headed to the certified scale for an official determination. The fish checked in at 13.61-pounds and gave Adair a new personal best. He knew immediately that he wanted to submit the fish to the Toyota ShareLunker program.

“I grew up in Athens and so the hatchery has been a part of the community and I’ve always read about the ShareLunker program,” said Adair. “I’ve seen the fish and how excited everyone is about it. I definitely wanted to be a part of the ShareLunker program myself. My whole family is excited and it’s a great experience.”

Josh Hiler

Hiler enjoys fishing at night and with a full moon early in the week, decided to get up extra early and set out on the water to beat the crowd.

“I was on the water around 2 a.m. and fishing, but really wasn’t having much luck at all,” said Hiler. “I heard a lot of fish jumping around but nothing seemed to be biting. I just kept fishing along, reeling around these big flats on the main lake. I happened to see this fish in about 14 feet of water, so I pitched right in front of it using a black tarantula scorpion spinner bait and it bit. The fish wasn’t as strong as what I thought it would be, but it put up a good fight. There were a couple of others with it, but they were gone by the time we got this one in the boat.”

Hiler caught a couple of fish last year in the 12-pound range, but Tuesday’s Legacy Lunker was his new personal best. Hiler’s father had the lake record for largemouth bass on Amistad for many years which he caught in 1989 so catching big fish runs in the family.

“I remember my father telling me the person who stocked the fish in Amistad called and told him we probably released the fingerling of the bass that you caught,” added Hiler in the release. “It’s really cool to see how the ShareLunker program has advanced this far over all these years. It was an awesome experience all the way around. Natalie was great to work with throughout the entire process of entering the fish and TPWD staff on site took all the precautions to make sure the fish was in good health. She was about as lively as she could get.”

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. Hiler used the certified scale at Elm Creek Marina to weigh his catch.

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.

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

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, or