Morrison boats a ShareLunker during practice for the Invitationals kick off at Big Sam - Major League Fishing

Morrison boats a ShareLunker during practice for the Invitationals kick off at Big Sam

Image for Morrison boats a ShareLunker during practice for the Invitationals kick off at Big Sam
Alec Morrison caught a 13.82-pound ShareLunker to start practice for the Tackle Warehouse Invitationals event on Sam Rayburn.
February 5, 2024 • Jody White • Invitationals

Practice for an event is usually about trying to get comfortable on the body of water, learning as much about it as possible and tuning in to where the fish are and what they’re biting. So, oftentimes, actually catching fish is secondary to the process – good, but not essential to putting together a game plan.

Tackle Warehouse Invitationals rookie Alec Morrison started practice for Stop 1 Presented by Power-Pole MOVE on Sam Rayburn with those intentions – see how things had changed from pre-practice and try to get a few bites. Well, on the first day of practice, he got a little more than he bargained for, landing a 13.82-pound Legacy Class Toyota ShareLunker late in the morning.

“I honestly thought it was like an 8-pounder,” he said. “It came up twice, and I was looking around, making sure nobody was looking, and then it was just done fighting. It came up next to the boat, and I was like ‘What the hell am I even looking at’ and I grabbed it.”

A week or so ago in Florida, Morrison boated a 12-pounder to set a new personal best. This fish far surpassed that one, proving that everything is bigger in Texas.

“I put it on my scale for a second, and it said 13.84, and I was like “Oh my God,’” he said. “I didn’t get a good weight on it, I almost felt bad hanging her from the scale to be honest. She was as tall and fat as she is long, it’s scary. I just caught a 12 like a week ago, it feels pretty unreal.”

After securing the fish in the livewell of his Phoenix, Morrison pulled the boat and headed to Tackle Addict in Brookeland to have the fish weighed and hand it off to Texas Parks and Wildlife.

“I rolled up to the tackle shop, and there were like 40 people there waiting, it was kind of unreal,” he said. “There was a dang crowd.”

According to the archives on the ShareLunker website, the fish was the biggest weighed from Sam Rayburn since March of 2022. It is also the second-biggest reported anywhere in Texas so far in 2024, but, that may not last for long, as it seems like Texas is the place to be right now.

“The lady I called said there was another team going to O.H. Ivie right now, because someone caught a ShareLunker just before I did,” Morrison said. “She was like ‘Man, it must be a good bite today!’”

Hopefully, for Morrison and the rest of the Invitationals field, that bite stays hot for the season-opener.

“Sam Rayburn just likes me,” Morrison said. “I really hope I didn’t just use all of my luck up.”

Another look at the giant caught by Alec Morrison.

A big day in Texas

Since 1986, the ShareLunker program has been a mainstay of Texas bass fishing, and it has been especially noticeable to the rest of the country with the recent run of success on O.H. Ivie. Though not unprecedented, today was a notable one in ShareLunker history. In addition to Morrison’s 13.82, Aaron Suess landed a 13.87 and Ben Milliken landed a 13.15. All in all, it made for a busy day for Toyota ShareLunker Program Coordinator and Statewide Outreach Programs Supervisor Natalie Goldstrohm.

“The fact that we got three today was pretty incredible,” Goldstrohm said. “I’ve been a part of double ShareLunker days, and that’s what we thought we had when we left the hatchery. But, when we were on the road, we got the call about the third. There’s only a handful of these fish that are caught every year, some days are special days that the ShareLunkers are biting and you end up with more than one”

Legacy Class fish fall into a unique category in the program – they need to be 13 pounds or bigger, and caught between Jan. 1 and March 31. They’re then used to help spawn another generation of Texas lunkers.

“So far this year, we’ve gotten six — three today and three in January,” Goldstrohm said. “Last year we had 18, the year before that we had 24, and the year before that we had 23. So, we’ve had some exceptional years the last few years. We call these 13-pounders a fish of a lifetime. There’s always a chance of going out there and catching a big bass, but catching a 13-pounder is a pretty incredible thing.

“All three ShareLunkers from today are going back to the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens, Texas,” Goldstrohm said. “It’s an education center and hatchery, and that’s where we spawn all these 13-pound bass. We keep brood fish that are descendants of other ShareLunkers that are pure Florida largemouth bass to pair up with these big ShareLunkers that come in.”

From there, the fish can go back to the lake, but if the angler wants to donate them permanently to the program, they may serve other purposes.

“We might hold them for an additional year to try to spawn them next year, or we might hold them in the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center as a display fish,” Goldstrohm said. “There are a lot of people that haven’t seen a 13-pound bass before – it tells a really great story and showcases the fisheries work we’re doing here in Texas.”

You can find out more about the Toyota ShareLunker program online, and anglers can submit fish over 8 pounds all season. The program is in the midst of a push to gather more genetic information, and anglers win prizes for submitting scales from their catch.

Follow along

You can follow the action at Stop 1 Presented by Power-Pole MOVE on Sam Rayburn all week on MLFNOW! and stay locked to the website for on-the-water galleries, daily stories and more.