TEXAS FRESHWATER by Matt Williams – May 2020

S.T.A.R. POWER – May 2020
April 24, 2020
TEXAS SALTWATER by Calixto Gonzales – May 2020
April 24, 2020

Packing On The Pounds

ANTHONY SHARP reeled in a tall spot in Texas tournament lore last February when he wrangled a limit of Sam Rayburn bass so enormous in size that it sounds like something straight out of a fairy tale book.

Competing in an FLW Bass Fishing League event, the 42-year-old pipeline worker from Village Mills caught five bass totaling 40 pounds, 6 ounces—an 8.12-pound average. The catch crushed second place by more than 21 pounds and earned Sharp $7,000.

Village Mills angler Anthony Sharp (far right) had a magical morning on Sam Rayburn Reservoir on February 15 when he reeled in a five-fish limit weighing 40 pounds, 6 ounces during an FLW Bass Fishing League event. Sharp’s catch, may be the heaviest single-day weight ever recorded by one angler during a Sam Rayburn tournament. It ranks as the third heaviest in BFL history.
(Photo: Courtesy Anthony Sharp)

Sharp did the damage with a chartreuse/blue back Strike King 8XD crankbait and a Carolina-rigged green pumpkin magic Zoom Baby Brush Hog. He described the magical spot as a flat section at the end of a point in about 17 to 20 feet of water. The point is flanked by a drain on one side and 40 feet of water on the other.

Although a few larger sacks have been reported elsewhere across Texas and beyond, Sharp’s catch may be the biggest five-fish bag ever weighed by one angler during a tournament on Sam Rayburn.

The limit was anchored by a double-digit fish Sharp didn’t even bother to weigh for big bass. He won the $1,000 big bass pot with his second-biggest bass, a 9-14.

“I was so shook-up, I grabbed the wrong fish out of the bag by mistake,” he chuckled. “The bigger one weighed close to 11, but it really didn’t matter. This whole deal freaked me out. I went out that day thinking I might catch a high 20s sack. To go out and catch 40 pounds was unreal. I had no idea I had that much. I still can’t believe it.”

Sharp was familiar with the area and claims he caught a six-pounder off the spot during a small club tournament the weekend before the BFL. On his electronics, he also saw several other fish that refused to bite.

Sharp played it smart at that point. He left the area hoping the fish would hang tight until the following morning.

“I told my wife I thought I had a shot at winning, but I really had no idea what I was on,” he said. “All I could do was hope they stayed put.”

They did.

The magic happened quick, too. Sharp said it took about an hour to assemble a limit of bass so plump they wouldn’t fit in the starboard side live well of his Triton bass boat.

To remedy the dilemma, he contacted tournament director Brad Callihan by cell phone and asked for permission to use some space in the port side live well, which was reserved for his co-angler, Antwon Harris of DeRidder, LA.

“I’ve never gotten a phone call like that, but it was a pretty good problem for him to have,” Callihan said. “I was really expecting him to have 30 pounds or something like that. I had to do a double check when I put them on the scales. Catching 40 pounds is a once-in-a-lifetime bag for anybody.”

Other Mega Sacks

Sharp’s mega sack isn’t the heaviest ever brought to the scales in an individual bass tournament, but it’s the biggest single day, individual tournament limit reported from Texas waters since George Herr caught 40-15 on Toledo Bend in 2014.

It is the third heaviest in BFL history behind 40-14 weighed in 2011 by Rogne Brown at Lake Chickamauga in Tennessee, and 40-11 caught in 2015 by Casey Martin at Alabama’s Lake Guntersville. Arizona bass pro Dean Rojas has held the BASS all-time, five-bass weight record since 2001 with 45-2 at Florida’s Lake Toho.

Keith Combs of Huntington set the FLW all-time, single day weight record in 2010 with a monster Lake Falcon limit weighing 41-3. The biggest single day individual weight ever recorded in a Texas tournament (44-4) was caught in April 2008 at Falcon by Florida’s Terry Scroggins.

Even bigger totals have been brought to the scales in Texas team events. Anglers compete two-to-a-boat in team derbies. Teams may weigh five fish.

The biggest Texas team limit of all-time is 49.31. Danny Iles and Brian Shook reeled in the massive bag during a Texas Team Trail event held last February on Sam Rayburn. Terry Oldham and Jamie Buitron hold the Bass Champs all-time, record with a 45.45 catch in 2012, also from Falcon.

Lake Conroe has kicked out its share of big bags in the past, but none to compare to the 45-10 limit brought to the scales in January 2011 by Willis anglers Dusty Schultz and Rusty Lawson.

 

Email Cal Gonzales at [email protected]

 

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