FWC and FOLA announce $5,000 winner during the Lake Apopka Fish Challenge
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, TrophyCatch and Friends of Lake Apopka congratulate Christian Greico from Tampa on catching the $5,000 prize trophy bass during the Lake Apopka Fish Tag Challenge, which began in January and ends May 31.
The incredible fish was caught during the Major League Fishing Toyota Series Southern Division, Harris Chain, Day 1 Weigh-In. FWC biologists previously tagged the 12-pound largemouth bass and gave it the name “Jim Thomas” in recognition of the Winter Garden environmentalist who founded FOLA. Greico contacted the FWC about his “Jim Thomas” catch and was awarded a $2,500 prize from FOLA and an additional $2,500 from Bass Pro Shops for his approval of the fish into TrophyCatch.
The Lake Apopka Fish Challenge offers anglers the chance to catch a tagged fish in Lake Apopka and return the tag to the FWC for a prize from FOLA. The fish challenge is also a study to see if the competition elicits changes to angler behavior and increases fishing efforts on Lake Apopka. Although “Jim Thomas” has been caught, there are still thousands of dollars’ worth of prize fish swimming around Lake Apopka.
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.