Get Ready for the Big Bass Bash With These Texas Bass Fishing Facts
The fourth Big Bass Bash is this Saturday and Sunday (April 9-10) at the Lake Palestine Resort in Frankston. Let’s get geared up for more than $45,000 in payouts with some awesome facts about bass fishing in Texas.
The largest bass caught at Lake Palestine weighed 13.22 pounds
Before 2013, Lake Palestine had never recorded a ShareLunker bass, meaning it weighed at least 13 pounds. But then it happened twice in less than a year.
Sonny Booth caught a then-lake record 13.14-pound largemouth bass on March 2, 2013 — just over a month before our first Big Bass Bash.
Then, 11 months later, Rowlett’s Casey Laughlin reeled in a new record bass of 13.22 pounds, just .08 ounces heavier than Booth’s.
These are the only two recorded ShareLunker bass caught at Lake Palestine.
Mark Stevenson’s legendary bass ‘Ethel’
Alba’s Mark Stevenson is a Lake Fork fishing guide who, more than 28 years ago, hauled in a 17.67-pound bass on Lake Fork. It was a state record for more than five years until Barry StClair brought in an 18.18-pound bass on the same lake.
Stevenson’s bass, though, remains the heaviest fish caught on an artificial lure in Texas. It was also the inaugural entry into the state’s ShareLunker program.
Stevenson named his bass “Ethel” before donating her to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. She was a popular tourist attraction in her aquarium until she died at the amazing age of 19. Bass Pro Shops even performed a memorial service for Ethel when she died.
The state record bass was a complete accident
When Barry StClair hauled in his 18.18-pound bass on Jan. 24, 1992 on Lake Fork, he wasn’t even fishing for bass.
StClair was a crappie fisherman whose crappie on his bait was swallowed whole by that behemoth you see there to the left. When he brought the fish in, he brought a new Lake Fork and Texas record with it.
The closest anyone has come to StClair’s bass was just over a year later when Bryan Turner caught a 16.89-pound bass on Lake Fork. StClair’s record has now stood for more than 23 years.
Lake Fork’s status as the nation’s best bass-fishing lake
Of the top 50 largest bass caught in Texas, 33 have come out of East Texas’ own Lake Fork, including the top six. The largest non-Lake Fork bass was caught by Earl Crawford (16.9 pounds) on Lake Pinkston in 1986.
At one point, Texas Parks & Wildlife did a study on bass caught at Lake Fork and over the span of eight years, 11,368 largemouths caught weighed at least seven pounds. From 1991 to 1996, Lake Fork produced 129 ShareLunker bass, including an incredible 23 in 1995 alone.
The number of ShareLunkers at Lake Fork has declined in recent years. Reasons can include the age of the lake, drought and the popularity of the lake. But while the giant fish aren’t caught as often, it still produces thousands of double-digit bass each year.
Dave Triplett’s Big Bass Bash story
Chandler’s Dave Triplett owns the largest bass caught at the Big Bass Bash with an 8.62-pounder at the inaugural event. Kilgore’s Bobby Curnutt won with an 8.46-pound bass.
But how Triplett won was heart-stopping.
Billy Limerick of Flint caught an 8.52-pound bass during the 8 a.m. hour Sunday, but with less than 40 minutes left in the tournament, Triplett brought a fish to the scale for a “win at the buzzer” moment.
Then Dave became our first $10,000 winner.