WHITEHOUSE, Texas (KLTV) - An East Texas man and his fishing buddy are still reeling after making a record-shattering catch this past weekend.
According to a Facebook post from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Toyota Sharelunker Program, James Crawford caught a 15.44 lb. largemouth from the lake, which is the first Legacy Class entry into the program from Lake Tyler. The catch also shattered the lake record by over two and a half pounds.
A Legacy Class entry is any bass weighing greater than 13 pounds that is loaned to the program during the spawning period (January-March) which supports the Sharelunker selective breeding program.
“I’ve been fishing it (Lake Tyler) my whole life, but tournament fishing for over 20 years out here,” Crawford said.
Crawford said he and his fishing partner, Chuck McDonald, were participating in a tournament when they made the catch in shallow water on Saturday morning.
“It was the first spot we stopped on, about 7 a.m., and the third cast of the day when I set the hook on that fish,” Crawford said.
It was a catch so unbelievable that even McDonald, who netted the catch, had his doubts.
“You know, he told me he had a monster and I was like yeah, whatever,” McDonald said. “He’s telling me to get the net. I really didn’t respond too fast. Then he kind of reiterated that he had a big one, so I sped up a little bit.”
After getting the fish in the boat, both men realized they made a big catch ... but they didn’t know exactly how big.
“This lake has turned out several that are over 12 lbs.,” Crawford said. “And I knew it was just a matter of time before a 13 lbs. fish was caught out here, but not over 15.”
Crawford’s catch is Lake Tyler’s first Legacy Class entry into the state’s ShareLunker program. It’s an effort in which fish are loaned to Texas Parks and Wildlife for selective breeding and stocking during the spawning window.
“You’ve got two options,” Crawford said. “You can either donate it to them, or loan it to them and they’ll put it back into the lake. And I chose to loan it to them, and they said that they would be back in the end of April to put her back in the lake to give somebody else an opportunity to catch her.”