Courtesy of Texas Parks & Wildlife Department
When Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine publisher Randy Brudnicki
planned a fishing trip to Falcon International Reservoir with his sons
Jason and Dustin for the week after Christmas, he knew the time was
right to catch a Toyota ShareLunker.
But the trio struggled for two days, catching only small bass mid-lake
and near the dam. On Wednesday, December 28, the north wind shifted to
the south, and that made all the difference. “I knew to look for places
where the south wind would blow across points,” said Brudnicki.
It was their last day to fish, and they wanted to get on the road early,
so they put in at the county ramp in Zapata and began fishing around
the city’s water intake structure. “After spending some time on the main
point but only catching small fish, we moved upwind to a ledge,”
Brudnicki said. “My son Jason, who lives in Salt Lake City, Utah,
started throwing a Strike King 6XD crankbait, a Christmas present from
his older brother, Dustin. The big girl hit right under the boat as he
ended his retrieve. He set the hook and she pulled a little line. Dustin
grabbed the net and in seconds the fish was in the boat.”
A few casts later Jason caught another big fish, and they decided to
weigh them. The smaller fish went 8 pounds, but the big fish
bottomed out their scale. After borrowing a scale from another boat,
they realized they had a ShareLunker and took it to Falcon Lake Tackle
to be weighed on a certified scale. The official weight is 13.36 pounds.
Length and girth were not available at the time of writing.
Keeping the big fish alive for the 5 hours it would take for a truck
to arrive from the A.E. Wood Fish Hatchery in San Marcos now became
their top priority. “We ran both recirculating and aeration pumps
non-stop,” Brudnicki said. “The mid-50 degree water temperature helped a
They finally turned the fish over to TPWD about 7 p.m.
The Toyota ShareLunker program will be profiled in the Texas Parks &
Wildlife magazine’s Spring Fishing Guide due out in February. That
guide will also feature a fishing forecast for 2012 and other relevant
topics for Texas anglers. The guide will be available free at www.tpwmagazine.com.
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 Toyota 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. Fish will be picked up by TPWD
personnel within 12 hours.
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
For complete information and rules of the ShareLunker program, tips on
caring for big bass, a list of official Toyota ShareLunker weigh and
holding stations and a recap of last year’s season, see www.tpwd.state.tx.us/sharelunker. The site also includes a searchable database of all fish entered into the program along with pictures where available.
Information on current catches, including short videos of interviews with anglers when available, is posted on www.facebook.com/sharelunkerprogram.
The Toyota ShareLunker Program is made possible by a grant to the Texas
Parks & Wildlife Foundation from Gulf States Toyota. Toyota is a
long-time supporter of the Foundation and Texas Parks and Wildlife
Department, providing major funding for a wide variety of education,
fish, parks and wildlife projects.