O.H. Ivie Produces Yet Another Sharelunker Largemouth
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If you have been following bass fishing the past couple years, you know that O.H. Ivie has become the home of big bass, especially during the first couple months of the calendar year.
Jason Conn recently caught the eighth largest bass recorded in Texas. At the end of February, an angler from New Mexico added her name to the Toyota Sharelunker list with a bass nearly double the weight of her previous “PB.”
“I wanted to be a part of it. I wanted my name in it.”
Mechelda Linton-Criswell’s journey into bass fishing escalated quickly after her son graduated from college. She had been fishing from her husband’s sixteen-foot fishing boat (which was named “Pinky”), catching crappie, white bass, and catfish.
After landing more largemouth, she realized that they were fun and wanted to dedicate more time to that species. Mechelda’s friend Bob offered to teach her the intricacies of bass fishing on the condition that she learned to use a baitcaster, so she would regularly cast up to 500 times per day in order to earn a spot on his boat.
Now, she has her own bass boat and regularly makes a 3+ hour drive each weekend from her New Mexico home to Oak Creek Reservoir in Texas, where she has a property.
“I have been battling, putting in the hours — in the rain, the wind, the ice,” Mechelda told Premier Angler.
Until her recent excursion to Ivie, however – a Christmas present from her husband – Mechelda’s personal best bass was a 7.6 pounder caught on Oak Creek. She also recently won the first bass fishing tournament she entered, joking that her friends were upset that she is now competing.
The trip to Ivie, especially this time of year, was intended to produce a bigger fish than she was likely to catch on Oak Creek, however. Specifically, Mechelda wanted a fish that would qualify for the Toyota Sharelunker program. According to the Texas Sharelunker website, a qualifying fish must be at least 24 inches in length or 8 pounds in weight.
“Texas does a phenomenal job about conservation and I wanted to be a part of it,” she said. “I wanted my name in (the Sharelunker program).”
“It’s a dream. I did it, and I’m not done!“
On the second day of her trip to Ivie, Mechelda caught up with Brady Stanford, who we spoke with last year after he caught his record “Meanmouth” on Ivie, for a guided trip on the lake.
Overall, the outing was a success. Mechelda caught roughly forty pounds of bass, including a seven pounder earlier in the day. It was the largemouth she has affectionately referred to as “Big Bertha,” however, that turned a good day of fishing into an amazing day of fishing.
At 14.08 pounds, “Big Bertha” certainly qualifies for the Toyota Sharelunker program. Mechelda noted that she has given the fish to the Sharelunker program for testing and age verification, as well as official measurements on length and girth. When the program returns the fish to Mechelda, she plans to release it back into the water at Ivie.
“I’m planning to release her right where I caught her,” Mechelda stated.
Moving forward, Mechelda stated that she is planning to get back on the water quickly and continue pursuing big bass. Despite having just caught the type of fish most anglers could never imagine, the journey for Mechelda appears to just be starting.