February 25, 2022
There’s something about winter storms and cold weather that seems to make Texas’ legendary big-bass fishing red hot.
That was the case again on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022, after a second winter storm in as many weeks rolled across portions of the Lone Star State with cold weather, freezing, rain, sleet and some snow. Despite a multi-day long stretch of near freezing and sub-freezing weather across Texas during the storm, that didn’t keep the state’s lunker factory shut down.
In fact, just the opposite as the biggest largemouth bass caught in 30 years was landed at O.H. Ivie Reservoir, a 19,149-acre water body some 55 miles east of San Angelo on the Colorado and Concho Rivers.
News of this huge bass—which fell just more than a single pound off the state record—broke in a Facebook Live post and video by Sapulpa, Okla. angler Josh Jones, a noted big bass expert on Ivie.
That video showed a behemoth bass being weighed by Jones’ friend and former client, Brodey Davis, who caught the fish. As the live video drew attention of scores of bass anglers, the digital scale at a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department ShareLunker holding station on the lake settled on the numbers 17.06 pounds.
When those numbers registered, Jones, who has himself caught two ShareLunkers from Ivie this year to go along with the two he caught last winter, could scarcely contain his excitement even if he wasn’t the angler who caught the fish.
"This is the biggest bass I've ever seen," Jones said in his Facebook Live video that was shared nearly 400 times in the first 45 minutes it was up. Almost instantly, more than 800 comments came pouring in as people looked at a lake record bass and near state-record bass.
"I was just as excited as I would have been if I had caught it. I was shaking while I was talking to him on the phone," he added.
When the fish was weighed, the crowd of anglers in the lakeside tackle shop went crazy. And despite his experience with double-digit bass in recent months, so did Jones.
"Seventeen freaking pounds!" exclaimed Jones, before adding, "You just caught a 17-pounder!"
Several hours later, a crew with TPWD’s long-running ShareLunker program picked up the fish and made its own excited social media post.
“Historic day!” stated the program’s Facebook post. “Angler Brodey Davis just weighed one of the largest Texas ShareLunkers to hit the scales in the past 30 years! His 17.06-pound Legacy Class bass is the pending new lake record for lake O.H. Ivie and one of the Top 10 Texas largemouth bass of all time. Wow! Congratulations, Brodey and thank you for your support of the future of Texas fisheries!”
Davis’ pending lake record keeps Ivie on its torrid pace, including seven Legacy Class ShareLunker catches (Editor’s Note: That’s a largemouth bass weighing 13 pounds or better, fish that are temporarily loaned to TPWD for spring spawning purposes) this year alone, even before the prime spawning month of March arrives on the calendar. And as long as Davis’ bass is confirmed, that will also be 19 ShareLunkers pulled from Ivie in the past two seasons.
But Davis’ big fish yesterday will apparently be the biggest and best of them all, topping the current O.H. Ivie lake record, a 16.40-pounder caught on Feb. 19, 2021, by angler Joe McKay.
But this week’s huge bass caught by Davis lands on an even bigger stage, one that has the bass fishing camp in Texas buzzing about a bucketmouth that was a big gizzard shad away from state-record status.
Just how big is the Thursday bass from O.H. Ivie? At that weight of 17.06—which came on a certified scale—the huge largemouth would fall barely more than a pound below the current state record and rank No. 6 all-time in the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department "Top 50 Largemouth Bass" listings.
It will also apparently become only the seventh 17-plus-pounder ever caught in Lone Star State fishing history and the first fish recorded above that hallowed mark since Barry St. Clair set the current state record with an 18.18-pound Lake Fork largemouth back on Jan. 24, 1992.
What’s more, as O.H. Ivie continues to show out with multiple bass catches weighing in the teens, don’t be surprised if the water body produces a state record someday soon. And don’t be surprised if Jones is eventually the angler who catches it.
As the scores watching Jones' Facebook Live stream confirmed, he is one of the hottest anglers in the Lone Star State right now, as he uses his expertise in using Garmin’s famous LiveScope technology to target and catch double-digit lunkers at Ivie. Others have followed his lead at Ivie in the past year, a West Texas lake that has become arguably the hottest big-bass lake in the world.
In fact, Jones will vouch for that fact personally, officially became the first angler in Texas fishing history to submit four Legacy Class ShareLunkers to the long-running TPWD program.
He did so just days ago with a 14.79-pound bass from Ivie, his second of the season after a 14.13-pounder landed in late January. This season's two ShareLunkers join his two from a year ago along with the numerous other double-digit fish below 13-pounds that he has caught in recent months.
As Jones’ fishing star power has risen at Ivie, TPWD has noticed. In a Facebook post from the Toyota ShareLunker Program page on Wednesday of this week—and a day before Davis’ 17-plus-pound lunker—the TPWD program said "Congratulations, Josh and thank you for your contributions to the future of Texas bass fishing. SL619 is the 11th Legacy Class fish collected this season."
Look for more details on this huge and historic Texas big bass catch—and others to come this spring—as they become available. In the meantime, if you can, load up the boat and get to O.H. Ivie!