Anglers can grab cash for catches
J. Daniel Pearson
Under the Bobber
Love to bass fish?
Well thanks to a second-year program being offered by the state’s Black Bass Management Program (BBMP), catching that lunker bass could be worth a lot more than bragging rights to local fisherman.
Trophy Catch is a rewards program created by the BBMP to recognize trophy bass weighing more than 8 pounds that are caught in Florida.
This year’s program started last October and runs through Sept. 30.
The first step is to register online at www.myfwc.com/Trophycatch, where official rules, qualifications and catch verification requirements can also be found.
The awards program is free to enter for all licensed fisherman.
Those legally exempt from licensing can also participate in the program.
And get this: By registering you are placed in a prize drawing for a Phoenix 619 Pro bass boat and trailer, powered by a 200-horsepower Mercury outboard and a MotorCraft trolling motor. The drawing will be in October.
There are rules that must be followed to participate in the program, including all trophy bass submitted for recognition must be released alive.
But the rewards for doing so are impressive.
The program will recognize three levels, including the Lunker Club (8 to 9.99 pounds), the Trophy Club (10 to 12.99 pounds) and the Hall of Fame Club (13 pounds and over).
Certified members of the Lunker Club will receive gift cards totaling $100 from merchants such as Dick’s Sporting Goods, Bass Pro Shops and Rapala. Get into the Trophy Club and the gift cards will total $150 and Hall of Fame Club members receive $200 in gift cards and numerous other prizes.
The heaviest bass of the year winner will win a beautiful custom made Trophy Catch ring.
In addition, if the heaviest certified winning bass is caught from one of the renowned Kissimmee-area fisheries of Lake Toho (Tohopekaliga), East Lake Toho, Lake Cypress, Lake Hatchineha or Lake Kissimmee, a prize of $10,000 will be awarded by program sponsor Experience Kissimmee.
Although the program offers some great prizes, it also serves an important purpose, namely the survival and improvement of the bass fishery in the state of Florida.
The program hopes to create a statewide record system of trophy bass catches, while instilling a strong sense of the “catch and release” concept.
Trophy Catch also hopes to educate the public on role that huge “breeder” bass play on species’ population dynamics and to promote Florida as a destination for trophy bass fishing.
In short, by participating in this program, fishermen are providing valuable information to state scientists to help insure that Florida remains a premiere bass fishing state.
Quick Strikes: Martin Mann, a state fish biologist, sent me an incredible amount of outstanding information in response to last week’s article about specs.
I will share some of that information in a future column.
For those who like to snook fish, a reminder that the spring season is open for Gulf of Mexico waters from March 1 to April 30.
Fisherman can keep one snook measuring at least 28 inches but no more than 33 inches.
Atlantic snook season remains open until May 31, with a daily one-fish limit with a slot size of 28 to 32 inches. Please remember that you will need both a saltwater fishing license and a snook permit in order to catch and keep this popular game fish.
Contact Dan Pearson with story ideas, details of great catches and photos at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As always, tight lines and good fishing!