Lake Nacogdoches Notches its First 2023 Legacy ShareLunker
ATHENS – Lake Nacogdoches recorded its first Legacy Class largemouth bass of the 2023 Toyota ShareLunker collection season when angler Jack York of Emory reeled in ShareLunker 634 Monday afternoon. York’s catch was certified at 13.51 pounds and is the second overall Legacy Class fish donated to the program this year. Nacogdoches has now produced a Legacy Class fish in three of the last four collection seasons.
“It is great to see Texas reservoirs like Lake Nacogdoches producing Legacy Class Lunkers in back-to-back years,” said Natalie Goldstrohm, ShareLunker Program Coordinator. “We will be performing genetic testing on ShareLunker 634, and it will be interesting to find out if she has any relation to the other Lunker bass caught from Lake Nacogdoches in previous years.”
York started fishing early in the morning and by 9 a.m. had landed several quality-sized fish. He then began fishing around shallow aquatic vegetation before moving back out to search for fish in deeper water. York located his Lunker in roughly 15 feet of water.
“I was using a 6th Sense Provoke Deep Diver bait and cast it way over her and called her up off the bottom,” said York. “Nacogdoches has lot of big fish, and it was an awesome experience to be able to land one of this size out here. I have caught a bunch of 10-, 11-, and a 12-pound fish but to catch a 13-plus pounder to record a new personal best was exciting.”
Once the Lunker was in the boat, York contacted a friend who helped him walk through the submission process, beginning with locating a certified scale for an initial weigh in. He located a certified scale on the lake with the help of Goldstrohm and pulled up to the dock to confirm the weight of the newest Legacy Lunker.
“We put it on the scale and when it registered the fish at over 13 pounds I called Natalie [Goldstrohm] with the ShareLunker program right away,” said York. “She was great to work with and within a relatively short time they were already at the ramp. “It was a dream come true to be able to hold a Legacy fish up in front of the ShareLunker truck.”
Nacogdoches boasts six total Legacy Lunkers dating back to 1996. Kellie Renfro of Lufkin landed 13.27-pound ShareLunker 628 in 2022; Joe Castle’s 15.34-pound ShareLunker 583, caught in 2020, holds the current lake record.
During the first three months of the season (January through March), anglers who reel in a 13-plus pound bass can loan it to TPWD for the ShareLunker selective breeding and stocking program. These anglers call the ShareLunker hotline at (903) 681-0550 to report their catch 24/7 through March 31.
Anglers who catch and donate one of these 13-plus pound Lunkers earn Legacy Class status, a catch kit filled with merchandise, a 13-plus pound Legacy decal for their vehicle or boat, VIP access to the Toyota ShareLunker Annual Awards event and a high-quality replica mount of their Lunker fish from Lake Fork Taxidermy. These anglers will also receive entries into two separate contests — a Legacy Class drawing and the year-end Grand Prize drawing. First place in either wins a $5,000 Bass Pro Shops shopping spree and a resident (or non-resident) annual fishing license.
The year-round Toyota ShareLunker program offers four levels of participation for catching bass over eight pounds or 24 inches in Texas. In addition to Legacy Class (13-plus pounds between January and March), ShareLunker entry classes include the Lunker Class (8-plus pounds), Elite Class (10-plus pounds), and Legend Class (13-plus pounds from April to December).
Anglers who enter data for any Lunker they catch (greater than eight pounds or 24 inches) during the calendar year 2023 also receive a catch kit, a decal for their vehicle or boat and an entry into the year-end Grand Prize drawing to win a $5,000 Bass Pro Shops shopping spree and annual fishing license.
Once a Lunker is reeled in, anglers need to enter the catch data on the Toyota ShareLunker mobile app – available for free from the Apple App Store and Google Play — or on the Toyota ShareLunker online app at TexasSharelunker.com. In addition to basic catch information, anglers can also provide a DNA scale sample from their Lunker bass to TPWD researchers for genetic analysis.
A new procedure is in effect for the 2023 season. Legend Class ShareLunkers no longer need to be weighed on a certified scale for entry. Anglers must include a photo of their Lunker on a digital scale to qualify for Legend Class.
The Toyota ShareLunker Program is made possible in part by the generous sponsorship of Toyota. Toyota is a longtime supporter of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation and TPWD, providing major funding for a wide variety of fisheries, state parks and wildlife projects.
Prize donors such as Bass Pro Shops, Lake Fork Taxidermy, American Fishing Tackle Company, Stanley Jigs and 6th Sense Fishing provide additional support for this program. For updates on the Toyota ShareLunker program, visit facebook.com/sharelunkerprogram/, @texassharelunker on Instagram and online at TexasSharelunker.com.