Chase is on for biggest TrophyCatch bass from Osceola Co.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Media contact: Bob Wattendorf, 850-528-1060
Arthur Jackson created a memorable weekend for himself when he submitted two Lunker Club bass entries into the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) TrophyCatch program (TrophyCatchFlorida.com). He caught, photographed and released (what avid anglers call CPR) a pair of Florida largemouth bass – one weighing 8 pounds, 6 ounces; the other, 9 pounds, 7 ounces – in a neighborhood pond in Osceola County.
Capt. AJ Jackson has operated a guide service (Orlandobass.com) in Osceola County since 1970. He and his seven guides practice catch and release on all their trips. However, he was fishing for his own entertainment, virtually in his backyard, when he landed these two lunkers and reported them to TrophyCatch.
TrophyCatch is an innovative program initiated by the FWC in October to reward anglers for being great resource stewards when they legally catch and release trophy largemouth bass.
“The FWC wants anglers to register at TrophyCatchFlorida.com and review the rules in advance,” said KP Clements, the TrophyCatch coordinator. “This is so people like Capt. Jackson will know how to submit their catch for valuable rewards and provide important information about trophy bass in Florida.”
Just for registering, an angler is entered into a drawing for a Phoenix bass boat, Mercury engine, MotorGuide trolling motor and trailer.
“Knowing when, where and how often trophy bass are caught and released will help biologists determine which conservation programs are most effective and promote fishing destinations to help local tourism and businesses,” Clements explained. By providing incentives, industry partners such as Bass Pro Shops, Bass King Clothing, Rapala and Dicks Sporting Goods encourage “CPR,” which ultimately will help ensure that more of these bigger, older bass are recycled rather than being harvested.
Capt. Jackson was prepared with a camera and digital lip-grip scale so that he could quickly weigh and photograph the fish (see TrophyCatchFlorida.com for details and to track the competition). Although his measuring board was only 22 inches long, he also had a measuring tape and was able to determine the bass’ length and girth.
TrophyCatch includes three tiers to encourage reporting and live-releasing bass heavier than 8 pounds that are caught in Florida waters. Bass 8 to 9.9 pounds (Lunker Club) or those 10 to 12.9 pounds (Trophy Club) that are caught, documented and released can be reported online at TrophyCatchFlorida.com any time of the year. All that is required to qualify for the many prizes are a photo of the entire fish on a scale with the weight visible; a photo of the fish on a tape measure or ruler, showing the length (you may take one or two of yourself with the fish); and releasing the fish. Bass heavier than 13 pounds that are caught between Oct. 1 and April 30 each year must be certified by FWC staff to verify the weight and take genetic samples.
Certified catches that are released will be entered into the Hall of Fame Club, making the angler eligible for the prizes. The biggest bass of the year entered into TrophyCatch will earn a Super Bowl-like ring, from the American Outdoors Fund, for the angler who catches it. The World Fishing Network is partnering with the FWC to promote and manage the trophy bass website.
What made Capt. Jackson’s catches so special was that they are the first two Lunker Club bass from Osceola County. The Kissimmee Convention and Visitors Bureau has joined forces with the FWC to offer a $10,000 cash prize to the angler who has the largest bass from Osceola County validated in the TrophyCatch program by Sept. 30, 2013. In addition, if the largest bass is caught during a paid guided fishing trip, that guide will be awarded $2,500 from the Kissimmee CVB.
Terry Segraves, the famed professional bass angler and Kissimmee spokesperson, has now been joined by Capt. Jackson in getting to say, “My Trophy Swims in Florida.”