Lake Austin yields 3rd ShareLunker of season

 sharelunker526CompedThe third ShareLunker of the season was landed Sunday, Jan. 29 at Lake Austin.

Brett Ketchum of Austin caught the 13-pound bass on a jerkbait in 10 feet of 56-degree water, according to a news release from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

It was the 13th huge bass from the urban lake to be recognized by the ShareLunker program.

Ketchum caught the largemouth while fishing in an Austin Bass Club of the Deaf tournament. He won big bass and finished second overall.

The bass was 25.75 inches long and 20.25 inches in girth.

“She was a very good fighter,” Ketchum said. “Once she jumped, I noticed she was big, but I kept fighting her, and when she got close and I saw her I thought, ‘Oh, it’s big!’”

Ketchum said he was nervous “because I saw only one treble hook in her, and I knew I could lose her in a second.”

But the angler stayed calm, let her fight until she was tired, then reeled her close to the boat.

“My partner Sammy Oates, Jr., netted her beautifully,” Ketchum said. “He and my son Braden were shaking when I bought her in.”

Ketchum said he had always dreamed of catching a ShareLunker.

“My time has come,” he said. “It was an amazing day.”

Anyone legally catching a 13-pound or bigger largemouth bass from Texas waters, public or private, between Oct. 1 and April 30 may submit the fish to the ShareLunker program by calling program manager David Campbell at (903) 681-0550 or paging him at (888) 784-0600 and leaving a phone number including area code.

ShareLunker entries are used in a selective breeding program at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center (TFFC) in Athens.

Some of the offspring from these fish are stocked back into the water body from which they were caught.

Other ShareLunker offspring are stocked in public waters around the state in an attempt to increase the overall size and growth rate of largemouth bass in Texas.

For complete information and rules of the program, tips on caring for big bass, a list of official ShareLunker weigh and holding stations and a recap of last year’s season, see