Fork, Athens ShareLunkers close 2014

Published on Saturday, 4 January 2014 21:59 - Written by From Staff Reports

A pair of Toyota ShareLunkers, including the second of the season from Lake Fork and the second all-time from Lake Athens, were brought in just in time to close 2013.

Blake Eppinette of Downsville, La., caught the 13.6-pound Lake Fork bass Dec. 27.

However, because of an overinflated swim bladder from being caught in 30 feet of water the fish did not survive. It is still considered an official entry.

Last Monday, Jason Lee Hanson of Athens caught a 13.76-pound bass on Lake Athens.

The 25 ¾-inch long fish was caught in 12 to 14 feet of water near the City of Athens water intake using a Norman DD-22. It is the largest ShareLunker this season.

Hanson said he had been catching good fish all morning despite temperatures near freezing and knew he had a 13-pounder when the fish surfaced. The only other ShareLunker to come from the 1,800-acre lake was caught in 1987 and weighed 13.81 pounds.

The lake record, 14.19 pounds, was caught in 1988, but was not entered into the ShareLunker program because it was not caught during the program season, which runs from Oct. 1 through April 30.

There have been three bass 13-pounds and larger donated to the program this season. The other was a 13.29 caught Nov. 21 on Lake Fork.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s ShareLunker program accepts largemouth bass 13 pounds or larger legally taken from public or private waters.

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.

The person who catches the season’s largest entry will be named Angler of the Year. If the Angler of the Year is a Texas resident, that person also receives a lifetime fishing license.

To report a ShareLunker call (903) 681-0550. If poor cell phone service prevents use of the voice number, anglers can leave a phone number (including area code) at (888) 784-0600.