16-pounder caught in Lake Fork

ATHENS, Texas — Richard Scibek of Granbury went to Lake Fork on Feb. 2 to enjoy a day of fishing with his friend James Quisenberry.

Using a black salty (a type of goldfish), Scibek caught a 16.04-pound largemouth bass that ties with another Lake Fork fish as the 22nd-largest bass ever caught in Texas. The fish was 25.75 inches long and 23 inches in girth.

Scibek’s fish is the largest to come from Lake Fork since 2002. On March 22, 2002, the lake produced bass weighing 16.12 and 15.65 pounds.

The 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, 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.” Quisenberry caught a 15.61-pounder from Lake Fork in 2010 that ties for No. 37 on the Top 50 list.

Anyone who legally catches 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.

Anglers who enter 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 www.tpwd.state.tx.us/sharelunker.