Angling for a million-dollar largemouth bass
Fish Busters' Bulletin
Tuesday, June 01, 2010
Media contact: Bob Wattendorf
Fishermen around Florida are assisting the Florida
Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) by filling out
surveys on bass fishing. The information gathered, along with
scientific information, will help create a draft Florida Black Bass
This plan is an evolving strategy to establish
Florida as the undisputed "Bass Fishing Capital of the World," in
addition to being the "Fishing Capital of the World."
Florida currently is the "Fishing Capital of the
World" based on the number of anglers, amount of time spent
fishing, economic impact and tourists who take advantage of our
resources. The most recent National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and
Wildlife-Associated Recreation again ranked Florida No. 1 in
in-state anglers (2.8 million), angler expenditures ($4.4 billion),
angler-supported jobs (75,068) and state and local taxes generated
by sport fishing ($440 million). In addition, Florida has far more
International Game Fish Association (IGFA) records than any other
state or country.
Similarly, Florida produces many of the world's
premier bass fisheries, and bass anglers spend more than 14 million
days each year here, which generates $1.25 billion for the state's
economy. With 3 million acres of freshwater lakes, ponds and
reservoirs, and 12,000 miles of rivers, streams and canals all
loaded with bass, Florida is a Mecca for bass anglers.
The Florida largemouth bass population is
genetically unique and has been stocked worldwide because of its
potential for rapid growth to trophy size (more than10 pounds).
Moreover, Florida has shoal, spotted and Suwannee bass, each of
which exist in discrete areas and require specific habitat and food
bases to maintain their populations. Programs such as the Black
Bass Grand Slam promoted in BassMaster Magazine are drawing more
attention to these limited populations - necessitating greater
attention to conservation practices.
Florida's native and widely dispersed populations
of black bass are available in thriving natural habitats
within a 30- to 60-minute drive from anywhere in the state, except
for the Keys.
BASS' top 25 bass of all time now includes 20 fish
from California, two from Florida, two from Japan and one from
Georgia. In both California and Japan, the bass in question
are imports that came from Florida.
To make the most of your fishing license dollars
and federal excise taxes on fishing tackle and motor boat fuels,
the FWC is beginning to hold meetings with a citizens' Technical
Advisory Group to look at the results of the first two waves of
public surveys. Visit MyFWC.com/BassPlan_Survey to see the
preliminary survey results, and sign up to review and comment on
the first full draft plan, due out sometime in August. The final
plan is anticipated to be approved in early January 2011 after
additional public input.
To encourage bass anglers to catch and properly
report Florida's next state record bass, BountyFishing is hosting a
Million Dollar Bass Bounty. The contest is open to all anglers
legally fishing in any public body of water in Florida from July 5
to Aug. 1. Sign-up costs $7 per day or $19 for one week, but the
first 1,000 entrants will receive a 50-percent discount and pay
just $38 for all four weeks. To sign up for the Florida Million
Dollar Bass Bounty or a free June fishing tournament, visit www.bountyfishing.com/FL.
BountyFishing.com provides anglers an opportunity
to compete in fishing contests to win cash and prizes from their
favorite fishing spots. To promote catch-and-release fishing,
BountyFishing uses FBI-strength image-analysis software to validate
winners based on catch photos. For a free trial offer of an
Internet-managed fishing tournament, visit
www.bountyfishing.com/FL. A part of your tournament fees goes
to the Wildlife Foundation of Florida, Inc., a non-profit,
public-support organization that enhances FWC conservation efforts.
However, neither the FWC nor the state of Florida endorses any
individual company, and Bounty Fishing is solely responsible for
its products and fulfillment of any offers.
BountyFishing will share information with the FWC
as part of the Black Bass Management Plan initiative. FWC
biologists are certain a largemouth bass exceeding the current
official record of 17 pounds, 4 ounces (set in July 1986) is
waiting to be caught. In 2008, an 18-pound, 8-ounce bass was
caught, photographed and released in Florida. It exceeded the
record but was not certified by an FWC biologist; nor was a
20-pound, 2-ounce hawg hooked in 1923, or several other bass
reported to our "Big Catch" angler-recognition program.