Archive for the 'Sharelunker Program' Category

Caring for Tournament Caught Bass

Friday, May 19th, 2017
Todd Driscoll with a big bass

Todd Driscoll with a big bass

This is Passport to Texas

During the Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest Tournament each professional angler has a judge onboard to weigh and immediately release their catch.

During a typical tournament, you know, anglers are allowed to keep five legal fish per person in a live well in the boat.

Inland fisheries district biologist, Todd Driscoll says immediately releasing them back into the lake reduces stress to the bass and the risk of livewell-related mortality.

Study after study have shown that you can pretty much average that at about five percent. So, during one of these tournaments, if there’s a hundred bass that are caught, weighed and immediately released, ninety-five of those bass are going to be plum fine and in great shape. Whereas, with a traditional tournament—bass held in live wells and taken to the scales—around 25 percent die. So, it’s five percent versus twenty five percent. And that’s what makes the catch, weigh and immediate release format so much better.

Texas Parks and Wildlife perfected the format over 10 years of the Toyota Texas Bass Classic, where it was first implemented in a large, professional-level tournament—with only minor hesitation from pro anglers.

When you implement that catch, weigh and immediate release format, the entire tournament results are predicated on what that judge does. So, they’re highly trained; they absolutely know what they’re doing. And after one event, nearly all the tournament anglers were behind that process.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

ShareLunker Genetics — All in the Family

Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

ShareLunker #410 | 14.48 pound| length 25.25 inches | girth 21.75 inches | Caught by Edward Reid of Crosby, TX, March 22, 2006 in Conroe   ShareLunker #566 | 13.07 pounds | length 25.6 inches |girth 21.6 inches | Caught by Ryder Wicker of Fort Worth, TX,  February 10, 2017 in Marine Creek in Ft. Worth | Lake record

[Left] Mother ShareLunker #410 | 14.48 pound| length 25.25 inches | girth 21.75 inches | Caught by Edward Reid of Crosby, TX, March 22, 2006 in Conroe [Right]  Daughter ShareLunker #566 | 13.07 pounds | length 25.6 inches |girth 21.6 inches | Caught by Ryder Wicker of Fort Worth, TX, February 10, 2017 in Marine Creek in Ft. Worth | Lake record

This is Passport to Texas

Anglers dream of reeling in largemouth bass that tip the scales at 13 or more pounds. Called “ShareLunkers” Texas Parks and Wildlife encourages folks who catch these big fish to donate them to Toyota Texas Sharelunker selective breeding program.

Since the inception of the program—we just finished our 30th year—we’ve stocked over a million fingerlings of those sharelunker offspring back into the reservoirs of Texas.

Stocking lunker offspring into reservoirs increases an angler’s chance of hooking trophy bass. Kyle Brookshear coordinates the ShareLunker program for the agency, and says biologists can trace lunker lineage.

We’re able to take a small tissue sample from each sharelunker that’s caught. We can analyze that and determine who its parents are, or who its brothers and sisters are.

This year, for the first time, anglers caught “direct offspring” of previous lunkers. Although it’s taken a long time to do, it proves: from big fish, come big fish.

These ShareLunker’s are about 10 to 12 years old on average [and over 13 pounds]. It’s exciting to start to see results come in—and we should start to see more and more.

Anglers donated the “direct offspring” back to the program where they’ll become part of hatchery brood stock statewide, resulting in an increase of lunker-spawned fingerlings stocked in reservoirs.

So long term what that means is, we’ll go from stocking over a million fingerlings in the past 30 seasons of the program to stocking 6 to 8 million annually.

The Sport Fish restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Some Changes in the Toyota Sharelunker Program

Thursday, January 12th, 2017
ShareLunker No. 564 Caught by Roy Euper of Lufkin, TX November 2, 2015 in Sam Rayburn 30 feet of water 13.2 pounds, length 25.5 inches, girth 22 inches

ShareLunker No. 564 |Caught by Roy Euper, Lufkin, TX | November 2, 2015 | Sam Rayburn 13.2 pounds | length 25.5 inches | girth 22 inches

This is Passport to Texas

Largemouth bass weighing 13 or more pounds are eligible for the Toyota Sharelunker program, which runs October 1 through April 30.

It has to be legally caught in Texas waters.

And weighed on a certified scale. Kyle Brookshear coordinates the program, and taught me something new about ShareLunkers.

The males typically don’t get that large. So, they’re normally all female.

Something new this year is only the 13+ pound largemouth caught during the “spawning window of January 1st through March 31st are eligible to participate in the selective breeding program.

So, if an angler catches a fish outside of that window. We’ll come to them with a certified weight, and enter them into the program, and then release that fish back into the lake.

Brookshear says they anticipate improved efficiencies and outcomes as a result of the change.

Through our analysis of our spawning results over the past 30 seasons, and 30 years of the program, we’ve determined January through March provides us with the greatest opportunity to attain good candidates for spawning…meaning that most of those fish that come in are healthy and capable and ready to spawn.

Find information about the Toyota Sharelunker program on the TPW website. The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series and helps fund the operation of the TFFC in Athens.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Toyota Sharelunker Program

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017
ShareLunker No. 565 Caught by Bruce Butler of Canyon, TX April 13, 2016 in Alan Henry 13.13 pounds, length 26 inches, girth 21 inches

ShareLunker No. 565 | Caught by Bruce Butler of Canyon, TX | April 13, 2016 in Alan Henry | 13.13 pounds | length 26 inches | girth 21 inches

This is Passport to Texas

The Toyota Sharelunker program is in full swing.

It’s an angler recognition program and it’s a selective breeding program.

Kyle Brookshear coordinates the program for Texas Parks and Wildlife. For the past 30 years, anglers who reeled in 13-pound or bigger largemouth bass, caught legally in Texas waters, could donate their fish to the program.

We bring that fish back to the Texas freshwater Fisheries center in Athens and then attempt to spawn that fish. Once the fish is successfully spawned, we return the fish to the angler. The angler releases the fish back to the reservoir [where it was caught]. We will raise those fry up, and then stock them back into the public waters of Texas.

By breeding the big bass Texas Parks and Wildlife creates a better bass fishery in Texas with more potential for trophy fish. New this season, only largemouth bass caught between January and March may be entered into the breeding program.

Through our analysis, we’ve determined that not only do we get more candidates during that time, but those candidates actually do spawn successfully.

Brookshear says fish caught outside this window may still be certified as a sharelunker, and then released back into the reservoir. Anglers who have lunkers accepted into the Toyota Sharelunker program receive a fiberglass replica of their fish.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series and helps fund the operation of the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

TPW TV: A Fish Called Ethel

Friday, July 24th, 2015
The big girl who started it all: Ethel

The big girl who started it all: Ethel


This is Passport to Texas

Ethel was a big girl from Lake Fork, and the first largemouth bass entered into the Sharelunker program in 1986.

06— And if you’d ever seen a picture of Ethel, she was as big around as she was long.

The Sharelunker program works to improve and grow bigger largemouth bass. Ethel was a 17.67-pounder caught and donated by fishing guide, Marks Stevenson. She served the program well, and changed the face of bass fishing in Texas

Former Director of Inland Fisheries, Phil Durocher, says bass fishing in Texas was very different before Ethel.

17— Back before ’86, bass fishing was primarily fish caught for food. People kept the big fish, and released the little fish. And we realized the larger fish were so valuable that we had to change the direction from a consumptive sport to recreation.

They brought Ethel to the Tyler fish hatchery where her survival was touch and go, says David Campbell, who oversaw the Sharelunker program from the beginning until his retirement in 2012.

13— This fish did not eat for a long time. My concern was if this fish died, it may kill the whole program. And I spent hours at night with a sunfish or something on a string and dangling it in front of her and she just sort of was sitting there looking at it.

She eventually, and literally spawned the success of the Sharelunker program. Learn more about Ethel and her legacy in a segment next week on the PBS Texas Parks and Wildlife TV series. Check your local listings.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.