The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is inviting anglers and others interested in conservation to its TrophyCatch program’s annual Hall of Fame Ceremony. The event will recognize the 11 anglers who caught and released largemouth bass weighing over 13 pounds that were submitted and approved during Season 7, which ended on Sept. 30. The ceremony will take place at Bass Pro Shops Gainesville, 2650 Bass Pro Shops Blvd., Gainesville, FL 32608 on Thursday, Nov. 21 at 7 p.m. TrophyCatch is a citizen-science conservation program for anglers who catch, document and release largemouth bass heavier than 8 pounds throughout Florida. The primary goal is to collect data about trophy bass to help the FWC better enhance, conserve and promote trophy bass fishing.
A key feature of TrophyCatch is prizing from industry partners to incentivize participation, and event host Bass Pro Shops has been an avid TrophyCatch conservation partner since the program’s inception in 2012. Bass Pro Shops gift cards are a staple of TrophyCatch prizing, with many participants using their cards to purchase additional fishing equipment to pursue more trophy bass. Data from catch submissions are used to guide fisheries and resource enhancement decisions, improving the conservation and management of Bass Pro Shops’ namesake in Florida. The company also supports other conservation efforts and research in Florida and elsewhere.
TrophyCatch prizing is based on size, with bigger catches netting bigger rewards. Anglers who caught Hall of Fame bass weighing over 13 pounds will be rewarded at the ceremony with a replica mount of their bass from New Wave Taxidermy, a customized plaque from American Registry and a $100 Bass Pro Shops gift card among other prizes. The Hall of Fame Champion for Season 7 is Brian Hammett who caught and released a 15 pound, 13 ounce bass from Orange Lake in Marion County.
“It is amazing to realize that each one of these largemouth bass would be the state record in more than half the country,” says FWC Commissioner Gary Lester who will be attending. “Florida is the Bass Fishing Capital of the World with its many trophy bass, thousands of lakes and ponds, and miles of rivers that offer quality, year-round fishing to residents and visitors alike.”
Visit TrophyCatch.com for more information about participating.