Woods, Waters and Wildlife

More new toys?

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Could you use more outdoor gear – like a tackle bag full of all the lures you’ve heard about but didn’t think as necessary as new shoes for the baby? Or maybe that hot new Creedmore 6.5 and ammo before Congress makes you complete a background check to buy bullets?

Well, two fishermen recently got their wishes. And all it cost them was gas money to get to the nearest Bass Pro Shops. Oh, plus the cost of going fishing to begin with, but who counts that?

And they got a whole lot more than just a bag of lures or a gun and ammo – a total of $5,000 worth of outdoor gear, each! And they had fun earning the right to choose the loot they took home -- unless you are one of the strange ones who thinks fishing isn’t fun.

They each caught a big bass, and that got them a chance in the drawings for the $5,000 shopping spree. And they each won. Think it couldn’t happen to you? Well, you’ll never know unless you play the game. And I’ll bet it usually doesn’t take a bribe of any value to get you to go fishing. The trip to the water is incentive enough.

I’m talking about the TPWD’s Toyota ShareLunker Program and its two drawings for $5,000 shopping trips to Bass Pro. Anyone who catches a largemouth bass weighing 13 pounds or more before March 31 to be donated to TPWD’s breeding program gets his or her name in the Lunker Legacy Class drawing. And once you catch the fish, what are your odds of being drawn? About one in three at this writing! That’s how many bass have been entered in the Legacy Class drawing as of March 14. With two weekends and ten weekdays left, you can expect more entries. In 2018, there were seven – still great odds!

The Lunker Legend Class is for bass 13 pounds or more caught after March 31. Those rare anglers receive recognition, a free fishing license, and entry into another drawing for a $5,000 shopping spree along with entrants in the two other categories. The total entries at this writing is over 100. There’ll be more since these classes are open all year.

The other categories are Lunker Elite Class (10 – 12.99-pound largemouths caught Jan. 1 – Dec. 31), and Lunker Class (8-pound or larger or 24-inches long bass caught Jan. 1 – Dec. 31).

The winner of the drawing among all hundreds of entrants in the 2018 Legend, Elite and Lunker classes was Gilbert Miller. He caught his 9.4-pound Lunker Class on Lake Whitney on a Phoenix Vibrating Jig with a whiskey-green skirt he fashioned himself. Like most fishermen, he was thrilled to catch the big bass and elated to win the drawing. But he shared his winnings by donating 16 tackle bags and some lures to the Midlothian High Fishing Team.

ShareLunkers have been caught from 69 public waters and 22 private lakes. There’s one waiting for you.

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