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With the recent blog I wrote about the Toyota ShareLunker Program, I thought I would share the article that was just released…..:0)
01 August 2010
Hello friends, I promised a blog – so here we go! :0) I have received several questions from people on my website, Facebook page and from just being out there on the water with others who haven’t had the opportunity to fish as much as some of us have and just don’t know some of the things that we take for granted or just assume that everyone knows. So, today I want to talk a little about ShareLunker programs. I thought this was a good start because some of you may have seen the picture of my sister Amanda on my Facebook page recently who caught a great fish that could have very well been a double digit fish (a fish 10 lbs or more). She was so concerned about keeping the fish alive (way to go Amanda) that she just took a few pictures and put her back in the water. While this was great thinking on her part, my first question was – what did she weigh? Well, she didn’t know because she didn’t weigh the fish and when she explained just how big the fish was, I told her she might have had a ShareLunker. HUH??!!
A Texas Toyota ShareLunker fish (this is only the Texas program – more on others states later) is a largemouth bass that is 13 pounds or bigger caught in Texas waters between October 1 – April 30 and must be weighed on certified or legal scales. The fish must be transferred to a Texas Parks & Wildlife representative within 12 hours of capture for spawning purposes. At the end of the spawning season, the fish will be returned to the angler for live release, or the angler may donate it permanently to the program. Either way, the angler receives a fiberglass replica of the catch made by Lake Fork Taxidermy, ShareLunker clothing, and recognition at an annual awards banquet held at Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center (TFFC). In addition, the Texas resident catching the largest entry of the season is a warded a lifetime fishing license.
The ShareLunker program was established in 1986 to promote the catch and release of large fish and to selectively breed trophy largemouth bass within the state. Data collected by the program shows that it takes 8 to 10 years for a bass to grow to 13-pound size. Slot limits that protect large fish have been proven effective in increasing the quality of fishing. Science-based fisheries management has been shown to be the best method for managing Texas public waters.
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It also houses a laboratory, aquarium and education center focusing on underwater wildlife in the state’s freshwater streams, ponds and lakes.
Nearly 60,000 people visit the center each year, which is one reason the city of Athens pledged a financial package worth just more than 4 million in order to persuade TPWD to build the center there. The 106-acre facility was completed in November 1996. The main reason the center was build, however, was to hold the hatchery, which is specifically designed to the needs of the ShareLunker program.
If you think you might have a Texas Toyota ShareLunker, there is a 24 hour pager number for TPWD which is 888-784-0600 (October 1 – April 30 only) or (903) 681-0550.
Other blogs coming soon:
What states have a ShareLunker program?
Texas ShareLunker v. Louisiana ShareLunker?
What is a spawn?
What is a slot?
How do I keep my fish alive?