SAN ANGELO, Texas – The first Legacy Class largemouth bass of 2023 of the Toyota ShareLunker was caught at San Angelo’s O.H. Ivie Lake for the second consecutive year on Sunday, Jan. 15.
According to a release from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Tom Nilssen of New Braunfels reeled in the first ShareLunker of 2023. Nilssen had arrived at O.H. Ivie Lake on Thursday, Jan. 12 to fish and participate in a tournament taking place at the lake on Sunday.
Despite almost catching a large fish on Friday, Nilssen was able to secure his catch on Sunday. Nilssen shared how his luck in the lake brought in ShareLunker 633, weighing 13.52 pounds, after changing his tactics within 30 minutes of fishing.
“I decided I needed to try something different, so I moved up to the second point — on the second cast I hooked the fish using a jerk bait,” said Nilssen.
Nilssen shares that the fish was in eight feet of water and that he dropped the bait about four feet in the water.
“The fish ate the bait in between some salt cedars and the battle began,” Nilssen explained. “I eventually got her in the boat, into the live well and immediately transported her to the weigh-in site.”
Nilssen’s largemouth bass was the biggest catch in 30 years and is the seventh largest bass ever verified in Texas public or private waters according to TPWD.
A Toyota ShareLunker coordinator shares that it is not surprising that the first ShareLunker bass of 2023 came from O.H. Ivie Lake. Two dozen combined ShareLunkers were caught in O.H. Ivie during the past two seasons with a waterbody record of 17.06 pounds in 2022.
“In the past two years, O.H. Ivie has been a top producer of ShareLunker bass, so it is not surprising the first Legacy Class Lunker of 2023 was caught in this reservoir,” said Goldstrohm, Toyota ShareLunker coordinator. “This catch was a great way to start off the season — we are very grateful that Mr. Nilssen decided to loan his fish to the Toyota ShareLunker program. With the help of anglers like Mr. Nilssen loaning their catches to TPWD, we can continue growing bigger, better bass for future generations.”
According to the TWD, the Toyota ShareLunker program offers four levels of participation for catching largemouth bass greater than eight pounds or 24 inches in Texas. During January through March of the 2023 season, anglers who catch a largemouth bass that meet the Toyota ShareLunker standards can enter their catch data on the Toyota ShareLunker app or online.
Anglers can choose to loan their 13-pound bass to the TPWD for the ShareLunker selective breeding and stocking program by calling the ShareLunker hotline at (903) 681-0550.
Anglers that catch and donate a 13-plus pound lunker will earn a Legacy Class status, a 13-pound Legacy decal, a catch kit filled with merchandise, VIP access to the Toyota ShareLunker Annual Awards event and a high-quality replica mount of their catch from Lake Fork Taxidermy.
For more information on the Toyota ShareLunker or to see more prizes for all four levels visit the Toyota ShareLunker website.