March is coming in like the proverbial lion in the local outdoors world thanks to several rounds of big bass news, a local NWTF dinner and three different fly fishing events on the calendar.


TPWD ShareLunker Bass — After one of its worst years ever in 2016, the current version of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Toyota ShareLunker program is off and running with a bang.


That’s because of a wave of big bass news that includes the program’s first ShareLunker bass of 2017.


That fish, a 13.07-pound Marine Creek Lake largemouth bass (ShareLunker #566), was caught on Feb. 10 by Fort Worth angler Ryder Wicker on his fourth cast of the day as the angler fished a jerkbait in 10-feet of water. Incidentally, the fish became the new lake record by more than two-pounds.


Next, TPWD officials announced on Feb. 21 that Wicker’s bass was the first ShareLunker caught from a group of selectively bred largemouths stocked by the agency some 11-years ago.


That news was announced after TPWD testing confirmed that the Marine Creek Lake ShareLunker had come from the spawning efforts of ShareLunker #410 just more than a decade ago.


That previous fish, a 14.48-pound Lake Conroe largemouth, was caught in March 2006 by angler Edward Reid who donated the fish to the SL program for spawning purposes.


Finally, earlier this week, Garrison, Texas angler Larry Mosby landed the second ShareLunker of the 2017 season on Feb. 28 when he pulled a 13.06-pound bass from Lake Naconiche near Nacogdoches.


Known as ShareLunker #567, the largemouth is the new lake record on the 692-acre Naconiche.


Incidentally, the Mosby bass is also the first ShareLunker from the lake, although there was a near miss three years ago.


(Editor’s Note: That near-miss fish, a 12.54 pound bass, was caught in 2013. That particular bass was also found to be the offspring of ShareLunker #370, a largemouth submitted to the SL program from Lake Fork in 2000.)


“Lake Naconiche was impounded in 2009, and since then we’ve used every tool in our toolbox to maximize the trophy potential in that reservoir,” said Todd Driscoll, a TPWD Inland Fisheries biologist.


“Since 2009, the reservoir has been stocked with approximately 380,000 Florida largemouth bass, 100,000 ShareLunker offspring fingerlings and more than 700 retired hatchery brood fish ranging from 3 to 7-pounds.”


Bryan County NWTF Dinner — This Saturday evening, March 4 marks the date for the annual fundraising dinner of the Little Dixie Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation.


The 2017 version of the Durant-area event will be held at the Choctaw Event Center at 3702 Choctaw Road, located across the street from the Choctaw Casino Resort.


“This is the chapter’s 20th year hosting our banquet and every year is better than the one before,” said Terry Bourne with the Durant NWTF committee.


Bourne said that the doors to this year’s event open up at 5:30 p.m. for a social hour, followed by the dinner itself beginning at 7 p.m.


Items being offered include up to 22 firearms, a selection that includes a Beretta A300 shotgun, a Henry Silver Boy Grand Slam II .22LR lever action rifle, a Browning A-Bolt rifle and a Remington M-700 CDL rifle in 7mm Rem Mag.


Other items up for auction bid or available to win in raffles and games includes other guns, outdoor gear, framed NWTF art prints, NWTF collectibles, sculptures, decorative items, home furnishings and more.


Ticket prices are $50 for singles and $65 for couples with ticket prices including admission, dinner and a single one-year membership into the NWTF (including an annual subscription to the group’s Turkey Country magazine).


For tickets and/or information about the Little Dixie Chapter’s 2017 Hunting Heritage Banquet, contact Terry Bourne by phone at 580-775-4545 or by e-mail at: ranch_2b@yahoo.com.


North Texas Fly Fishing Events — With spring kicking into high gear, there are three different high profile fly fishing events scheduled across North Texas for next weekend.


First up is the annual TPWD Fly Fish Texas event, a yearly gathering hosted on Saturday, March 11 at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens. For information, visit the TPWD Web site at www.tpwd.texas.gov.


That same day, the second annual TRWD Flyfest event (www.trwdflyfest.com) is slated from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the River Park Trailhead on the Clear Fork of the Trinity River in Fort Worth.


The event is free and features a number of fly casting, fly tying, fly fishing and cooking demonstrations put on by such well known fly fishing gurus as Steve Hollensed, Rob Woodruff and Frank Smethurst among others.


Woodruff will teach on casting big flies for bass along with fly fishing for trout at Oklahoma’s Lower Mountain Fork River. He will also team up with his wife, Jenny Mayrell-Woodruff, who is herself an Orvis endorsed fly fishing guide on the Lower Mountain Fork River, to teach a fly casting class for women anglers.


Hollensed will teach several fly casting seminars including beginner and intermediate techniques.


Well known Central Texas fly tying expert Matt Bennett will be discussing advanced fly tying for native bass species swimming in Texas’ Hill Country streams. Those techniques will include methods that he uses to tie such patterns as his well known Bennett’s Lunch Money streamer pattern.


On the same weekend, the first ever Texas Fly Fishing and Brew Festival takes place on March 11-12 at the Plano Centre in Plano.


Sponsored by such entities as the Tailwaters Fly Fishing Company fly shop, fly rod manufacturer Temple Fork Outfitters and Southwest Fly Fishing magazine, the event has plenty of star power attending.


That’s because the speaker’s list includes well known fly fishing writer and fly casting instructor Lefty Kreh; casting guru Ed Jaworowski; iconic fly tyer Bob Clouser of Clouser Minnow fame; Orvis’ well-known writer, fly fishing spokesman and adventurer Tom Rosenbauer; and well-known photographer Brian O’Keefe among others.


Tickets are $25 per day, $35 for a two-day weekend pass and $25 for a VIP Festival After Party. Along with several free classes that are being offered, other fly casting and/or fly tying classes from such presenters as Bob Clouser, Frank Smethurst, Ed Jaworowski, Wanda Taylor and Fishy Fullum carry costs of $50 to $75.


For more information and the complete schedule, visit the event’s Web site at www.txflyfishingfestival.org.


Or you can contact festival director Beau Beasley by e-mail at Fishutopia@comcast.net or by calling at 703-402-8338.