AUSTIN – For the first time in the 32 year history of the program, Kurth Reservoir in Lufkin has produced a Toyota ShareLunker entry. Angler Pablo Torres Jr. of Lufkin caught the 13.34 pound, 26 inch Legacy Class lunker in less than 8 feet of water while fishing with his son-in-law at the lake March 25.
“At first I didn’t even know it was a fish – it thought I was hung up,” Torres said. “I tightened up and it started swimming, and when it started pulling the line I thought ‘this might be a good fish.’”
“Catching a ShareLunker from Kurth was the farthest from my dreams until I saw it in the net,” Torres added. “When we got it to the boat and it turned to the side my jaw dropped and I thought ‘Oh my gosh.”
Although he has seen and heard of larger fish being caught from Kurth, Torres said being the first angler to enter a Toyota ShareLunker from the lake was a great feeling. He decided to loan the fish to the Toyota ShareLunker program for spawning to contribute to the number of Florida largemouth bass being stocked in his area.
“Kurth is a fantastic lake with a lot of lunkers in it,” Torres said. “[Texas Parks and Wildlife Department] stocks a lot of the ‘Floridas’ in Sam Rayburn Reservoir and other surrounding lakes so this is a good way for me to help contribute to the area. And this fish will be released back to Kurth when they are done with it.”
Todd Driscoll, the TPWD Inland Fisheries District Supervisor for the Jasper district, said he was not surprised at all to hear that the East Texas lake had produced a Toyota Sharelunker entry.
“This lake has everything it needs to produce big fish – including ample amounts of aquatic vegetation like hydrilla, which covers 30-40 percent of the reservoir,” Driscoll said. “That produces really strong year classes of fish. In addition to a 16 inch maximum limit, we have also been stocking it for years with frequent stockings of pure Florida largemouth bass to increase trophy potential of lake.”
ShareLunker 575 is the fifth Legacy Class entry of the season with the previous entries coming from Twin Buttes Reservoir and Lake Fork.
ShareLunker 575 was transported to the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens where hatchery staff will monitor and care for her in preparation for spawning. Also in the “Lunker Bunker” are the four other Legacy Class entries of the season: Toyota ShareLunker 574, a 13.40 pound largemouth bass caught by angler Austin Terry from Twin Buttes Reservoir March 14; Toyota ShareLunker 573, a 13.06 pound largemouth bass caught by angler Alex Finch from Lake Fork March 11; Toyota ShareLunker 572, a 13.00 pound largemouth bass caught by angler Michael Terrebonne from Lake Fork March 8; and Toyota ShareLunker 571, a 15.48 pound largemouth bass caught by angler John LaBove from Lake Fork March 2.
Texas anglers who catch a 13 pound or larger largemouth bass can loan the fish to the Toyota ShareLunker program for spawning through March 31.
Every angler who loans a 13 pound or larger Legacy Class bass to the Toyota ShareLunker program during the spawning period Jan. 1 to March 31 will receive a Toyota ShareLunker Catch Kit containing branded merchandise and fishing tackle items, a 13lb+ Legacy decal, VIP access to awards programming at the Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest, a replica of their fish, and an entry into the year-end ShareLunker Prize Drawing to win a $5,000 shopping spree and an annual fishing license. These anglers will also be entered into the Legacy Class Prize Drawing for a $5,000 shopping spree and an annual fishing license at the end of the spawning period March 31.
The Toyota ShareLunker Program is made possible by a grant to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation from Gulf States Toyota. Toyota is a longtime supporter of the Foundation and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, providing major funding for a wide variety of education, fish, parks and wildlife projects.
For updates on the Toyota ShareLunker program and to view photos of all of the 13-pound-plus largemouth bass caught this season, visit https://www.facebook.com/ShareLunkerprogram or https://texassharelunker.com/.