Jon Babich of Lewisville
caught the first Budweiser ShareLunker of the current season, a 13.63 pound
bass, while crappie
fishing on the Lewisville Fishing Barge.
Photo by Larry Hodge
Lewisville Lunker Kicks Off Budweiser ShareLunker Season By
Larry Hodge, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
ATHENS, Texas—Catching a lake record largemouth
bass from Lake Lewisville appears to be easy—it’s been done four times
since June 1.
Holding on to that record is harder. The latest record—pending until
accepted—is also the first Budweiser ShareLunker ever recorded from
Jon Babich of Lewisville caught the 13.63-pound largemouth while fishing
for crappie on the Lewisville Fishing Barge. The fish was 24.25 inches
long and 21 inches in girth.
Babich was fishing for crappie when he saw the big bass come up and eat a
crappie he’d just thrown back. He pitched a 3 ¼-inch Lunker City Fin-S
Shad into the water, and she took it.
If recent events are any indication, Babich had better enjoy holding the
record while he can. An even bigger fish is probably out there just
waiting to be caught.
Professional angler Kevin VanDam started the record-breaking big bass boom
on Lake Lewisville June 1, when he caught an 11.81-pound fish during a
tournament. That record stood only until July 17, when Houston Rogers
hooked a 12.23-pounder. Rogers held the record just two weeks. Charles
Pratt caught his 12.67-pounder July 31.
What is interesting is that the Rogers fish was 29.75 inches long. The
longest ShareLunker ever recorded, a 14.5-pounder caught by Jeff Neighbors
from Lake Fork in 1988, stretched the tape to only 28.5 inches. And Barry
St. Clair’s state record 18.18-pound fish, also from Lake Fork, measured
a mere 25.5 inches long.
The heaviest fish are typically caught during the spring spawning season,
when the big females are full of eggs. The Neighbors fish weighed a little
more than half a pound per inch of body length, while the St. Clair fish
weighed a whopping 0.71 pounds per inch. Multiplying those numbers times
the 29.75-inch length of the Rogers fish gives a potential weight range of
15 to 21 pounds.
The current world record largemouth bass, caught in Georgia in 1932,
weighed 22 pounds, 4 ounces. That fish was 32.5 inches long and had a
girth of 28.5 inches.
There may not be a new state or world record largemouth swimming around in
Lake Lewisville, but it’s almost a given that a new lake record is. The
only questions are who will catch her, and when.
Babich’s fish is number 392 in the Budweiser ShareLunker
Since 1978 Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has stocked 2.3 million
Florida largemouth bass fry and fingerlings into Lake Lewisville.