Granbury resident Richard Scibek was fishing Lake Fork two Saturdays ago, when the fish of a lifetime took his bait.
Scibek, an avid angler, caught a 16.04-pound largemouth bass that ties for the No. 22 spot on Top 50 bass ever caught in Texas.
Scibek was off to enjoy a day of fishing with his friend James Quisenberry, who had caught a 15.61-pound largemouth back in 2010. They were using “black saltys” for bait, which is a type of goldfish that is dark in color.
Scibek’s 16.04-pound fish was 25.75 inches long and 23 inches in girth. Scibek’s fish is the largest to come from Lake Fork since 2002.
This 16.04-pound weight puts Scibek in the lead for Angler of the Year honors. The person catching the largest ShareLunker of the season receives a prize package from G. Loomis, and if the person is a Texas resident, he/she will win a lifetime fishing license.
Lake Fork has now produced 16 bass weighing 16 pounds or more and holds 32 spots on the list of the 50 biggest bass ever caught in Texas. Because of a four-way tie for 50th place, there are actually 53 fish on the list.
Scibek was fishing in 54-degree water when the fish hit.
“The fish never jumped,” he said. “When we got it in the boat, my fishing partner, James Quisenberry, thought it was a new lake record.”
The fish was held for pickup at The Minnow Bucket, an official Toyota ShareLunker Weigh and Holding Station. An electronic scan of the fish revealed no tag, so it was transported to the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens to await the results of DNA testing to determine if it is pure Florida largemouth bass.
Pure Floridas are held for spawning, while intergrades are returned to the lake as quickly as possible.
ShareLunker program manager Juan Martinez checked the fish periodically during the night, and Monday morning reported the fish appears to be doing well. There was initial concern over the health of the fish because it suffered from barotrauma, an overinflated swim bladder, and was floating on top when Martinez arrived to pick it up.
Previous attempts to “fizz” the fish by the anglers were unsuccessful, but Martinez was able to release air from the swim bladder, allowing the fish to maintain an upright submerged position.
Because barotrauma is a common condition among largemouth bass held for pickup, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department produced a video showing how to treat it.
Anyone legally catching a 13-pound or bigger largemouth bass from Texas waters, public or private, between Oct. 1 and April 30 may submit the fish to the Toyota ShareLunker program by calling the ShareLunker hotline at (903) 681-0550 or paging (888) 784-0600 and leaving a phone number including area code. Fish will be picked up by TPWD personnel within 12 hours.
ShareLunker entries are used in a selective breeding program at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center (TFFC) in Athens. Some of the offspring from these fish are stocked back into the water body from which they were caught. Other ShareLunker offspring are stocked in public waters around the state in an attempt to increase the overall size and growth rate of largemouth bass in Texas.
Anglers entering fish into the Toyota ShareLunker program receive a free replica of their fish, a certificate and ShareLunker clothing and are recognized at a banquet at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens. All fish accepted into the program become official entries whether spawned or not, and anglers still receive all program prizes.
For complete information and rules of the ShareLunker program, tips on caring for big bass, a list of official Toyota ShareLunker weigh and holding stations and a recap of last year’s season, see http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/sharelunker. Information on current catches, including short videos of interviews with anglers when available, is posted on www.facebook.com/sharelunkerprogram. There is a video of Scibek from the day he made his big catch on there.
HOOD COUNTY FISHING REPORT
Lake Granbury water temperatures continue to be in the middle 50s and rising slowly. Best fishing reports are coming from local black bass anglers on the lower ends.
Limits of fish are being caught near points and creek entrances on soft plastics. The warming water has the fish moving up some.
Squaw Creek continues to bring in parades of boats to fish the warm power plant lake water. Black bass to 6 pounds continue to be caught regularly. Channel catfish continues to be good on Squaw Creek.
Possum Kingdom right now is the best place to chase striped bass on the Brazos chain. Stripers are good to 8 pounds on swimbaits near feeding flats on the south end of the lake. Sand bass continue to be excellent on Possum Kingdom as well.
Hybrid stripers are also biting more consistently on Lewisville, Bridgeport and Benbrook. Whitney sand bass are great near Bee Bluffs in 20 to 30 feet of water.
I actually was catching numbers of huge post spawn sand bass on Feb. 10. Goes to show you that quite a few of those fish did spawn real early.
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Category: Sports Archived