Only the most fanatical of bass fisherman will be celebrating twice this Thanksgiving. This November 26th marks the 23rd anniversary of a legendary event that would change Texas bass fishing forever, and place the now famous Lake Fork in the top bass lakes in the world. Today Lake Fork is now responsible for 34 of the top 50 heaviest bass ever caught in the state.
On November 26th, 1986 fishing guide Mark Stevenson reeled in the state record, and it would stand for more than 5 years before being surpassed by an 18.18 pound bass caught by crappie fisherman Barry St. Clair. Though Barry’s fish was bigger, Stevenson’s bass is the heaviest bass ever caught on an artificial lure in the state.
Stevenson’s catch was also the inaugural entry into the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Bud ShareLunker program that solicits anglers to put giant Texas-caught bass on loan to be used for spawning and genetics research. Stevenson named his fish “Ethel” before handing her over to the TPWD. Ethel spent her life in a huge display aquarium where she became a popular tourist attraction. So popular in fact that Bass Pro gave her a memorial service when she died at 19.
Legends truly do last forever. Have a safe and happy thanksgiving!