The Toyota Sharelunker season annually begins Oct. 1 and that is when state officials accept donations of bass weighing 13 pounds or more. Looking at the Sharelunker records you can see that early fall has been fairly successful for those huge fish. Looking at the Sharelunker database Toledo Bend has had seven produced there with one caught in October. Rayburn which has produced 26 Sharelunker has had November entries and Conroe had three in December.
No one really talks about giant bass until February when the pre-spawn begins on these lakes but the fact is fall is when the big ones start being caught. The pressure on the lakes is much lighter when many are more focused on duck and deer hunting. That means there are great opportunities for big bass so you might want to forget about chasing the schooling fish that are easy (and fun) to catch and consider flipping a jig or throwing a big swimbait for giants.
Something else to consider about the program is where these giant bass are located.
Some 65 public water bodies have produced Sharelunker fish and yes lakes like Fork, Sam Rayburn and Conroe in East Texas are at the tops in overall fish donated.
However, Alan Henry and Baylor Creek in North Texas, Falcon and Casa Blanca in South Texas and O.H. Ivie out West have produced impressive numbers of these prized fish. Some of these are out of commission now due to drought but when waters come back, the quality bass fishing will no doubt return as well.
In addition, the Sharelunker program typically goes in streaks. In other words certain lakes will be red hot for a while and looking at those, it is obvious, particular lakes were the place to be during certain stretches of time.
According to TPWD, a search of the ShareLunker archives on the official web page reveals that while streaks are exciting and generate a lot of “that lake is on fire!” comments, they aren’t that uncommon,” they reported.
“Sam Rayburn Reservoir had a run of six ShareLunkers between January 21, 1998 and March 22, 1998. Choke Canyon Reservoir had a six-fish streak from January 21, 2009 to April 26, 2009. Lake Alan Henry spouted nine ShareLunkers between January 29, 2005 and April 15, 2005. And then there’s those nine fish from O.H. Ivie this season.”
They went on to report however that Lake Fork, which has produced about half the total number of ShareLunkers, is the undisputed king of the streak. Its first came in 1988 and 1989, when it produced 18 ShareLunkers. The next season it produced 17, the following year 22, and from January 8, 1992 to April 25, 1992, another 21, including the current state record of 18.18 pound
“The following four seasons Lake Fork produced 17, 16, 23 and 21 ShareLunkers. After a two-year break in 1997 and 1998, Fork started streaking again, but with lower numbers: 10 fish in the 1998-99 season and 8 the following season. Following another low production year in 2002, Fork’s output of ShareLunkers hit seven in 2002-2003, seven in 2003-2004, seven in 2004-2005 and eight in 2006-2007.”