Gary Sims of Gunter, Texas, caught ShareLunker 538 from Lake Fork Dec. 12.
The fish weighed 15.02 pounds and was held for pickup at Oak Ridge Marina, an official ShareLunker weigh and holding station.
Examination revealed the fish was caught previously on March 13, 2011, by Ed Carter of Broken Bow, Oklahoma. At that time the fish weighed 14.25 pounds and was 22.25 inches in girth and 25 inches long and was ShareLunker 518. The fish is now 22 inches in girth and 25.25 inches long.
Sims was fishing for crappie with a double jig in 30 feet of water near the dam when the big bass bit.
“She made several long runs, and at first I thought it was a catfish, because we had already caught several,” Sims said. “Finally she came up and I lipped her.”
Lake Fork has now produced 250 of the 538 entries into the ShareLunker program.
Genetic information on file shows the fish is an intergrade, or a cross between pure Florida largemouth and northern largemouth bass. Pure Floridas are held for spawning, while intergrades are returned to the lake as soon as possible. Fish caught on or after April 15 will be recorded and entered into the program but will not be transported to Athens for spawning. Experience shows that fish caught late in the season typically do not spawn in time for the offspring to be stocked before water temperatures rise beyond the optimum level for survival of the fingerlings.
Anyone legally catching a 13-pound or bigger largemouth bass from Texas waters, public or private, between October 1 and April 30 may submit the fish to the ShareLunker program by calling the ShareLunker hotline at (903) 681-0550 or paging (888) 784-0600 and leaving a phone number including area code. Fish will be picked up by TPWD personnel within 12 hours.