TOURNAMENTS SET: Rita Cox’s First Cast Bass Fishing at it’s Best team tournaments schedule for the 2021 season is set.

The tournaments (cash only, due on tournament dates) are set for Jan. 9 at Brandy Branch Pirkey Power Plant and Feb. 6, March 6, April 3, May 1 and June 5 at Lake O’ the Pines Springs Ramp.

The championship tournament site and date will be announced later.

For information: bassingal8@aol.com.

SHARELUNKER PROGRAM: The 35th season of the Toyota Sharelunker program is underway.

The year-round Toyota Sharelunker program offers four levels of participation for catching bass over 8 pounds or 24 inches in Texas.

During the first three months of the season (Jan. 1 through March 31), anglers who reel in a 13-plus pound bass can loan it to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for the ShareLunker selective breeding and stocking program. These anglers can call the ShareLunker hotline at (903) 681-0550 to report their catch 24/7 until April 1, 2021.

Anglers who catch and donate one of these 13-plus lunkers earn Legacy Class status, receive a catch kit filled with merchandise, a 13lb-plus Legacy decal for their vehicle or boat, VIP access to the Toyota ShareLunker Annual Awards event and a high-quality replica of their lunker fish. These anglers will also receive entries into two separate drawings; a Legacy Class Drawing and the year-end Grand Prize Drawing. Both drawings will award the winner a $5,000 Bass Pro Shops shopping spree and an annual fishing license.

Anglers who enter data for any lunker they catch greater than 8 lbs. or 24 inches during the calendar year 2021 also receive a catch kit, a decal for their vehicle or boat and an entry into the year-end Grand Prize Drawing to win a $5,000 Bass Pro Shops shopping spree and annual fishing license. ShareLunker entry classes include the Lunker Class (8lb+), Elite Class (10lb+), and Legend Class (13lb+).

Once a lunker is reeled in, anglers need to enter the catch data on the Toyota ShareLunker mobile app – available for free from the Apple App Store and Google Play – or on the Toyota ShareLunker online app at TexasSharelunker.com. In addition to providing basic catch information, anglers can also provide a DNA scale sample from their lunker bass to TPWD researchers for genetic analysis.

For updates on the Toyota ShareLunker Program, visit facebook.com/sharelunkerprogram/ or TexasSharelunker.com

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Sports editor

I've covered sports in East Texas since 1987, starting as a 21-year-old sports editor at the Kilgore News Herald before spending seven years at the Lufkin Daily News and the past 23 years at the Longview News-Journal.