July 16, 2021
Bass anglers in Florida are showing that the Sunshine State continues to be a destination for lunker largemouth bass.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, its TrophyCatch program, which awards anglers for bass catches of distinction each year, has eclipsed more than 100 approved Hall of Fame catches (those weighing 13 or more pounds).
The agency points out that Florida-strain largemouths grow bigger than many in other areas of the country, and, in fact, some state records have stocked Florida largemouth bass genes. The recognized Florida record, by the way, is 17.27 pounds (Billy O’Berry, July 6, 1986).
"TrophyCatch is a vital program in which FWC biologists receive valuable data from anglers. This information will continue playing a crucial role in management decisions," FWC Commissioner Gary Lester said in a news release. "Coming up on 10 seasons of TrophyCatch results continues to demonstrate that Florida is where it’s at when you’re talking year-round fishing for Florida’s lunker bass."
Along with detailed info in a survey from Hall-of-Fame anglers, FWC biologists analyzed data from the nine seasons of HOF bass entries:
While HOF catches were submitted from 23 counties across Florida, anglers in pursuit of the next HOF entry may do well by scouting waterbodies in the north-central part of the state.
Clay and Putnam counties led the way, accounting for about 30 percent of HOF catches. Anglers dedicated to being first on the water or last to leave might be a bit dismayed to learn that only 12 percent of HOF bass were caught at dawn or dusk. Rather, the majority were caught during midday or afternoon.
For anglers debating which lure to tie on — it’s difficult to argue with the tried-and-true plastic worm, which accounted for 41 percent of HOF bass and surpassed any other lure category on the survey.
Perhaps the most celebrated statistic that TrophyCatch would like to tout is that, through the Hall of Fame 100 promotion, 100 percent of these HOF bass were released alive.
To read more survey results and facts about HOF bass, visit: TrophyCatch.com. The TrophyCatch program rewards anglers who provide documentation of their catch and release of largemouth bass weighing 8 pounds or heavier in Florida. The FWC encourages anglers to join TrophyCatch to become citizen scientists and assist in the management and the conservation of Florida’s freshwater fisheries. The associated TrophyCare program promotes best handling practices for trophy bass to ensure that each TrophyCatch bass is released alive. For more information about the TrophyCatch program, email Laura Rambo Walthall at Laura.Walthall@MyFWC.com or go to TrophyCatch.com.