Robert Burnett, 55, from Inglis, is one of the most productive participants in TrophyCatch, with 26 Lunker Club (8 to 9.9 pounds) and one Trophy Club entry (10 to 12.9 pounds). His story and videos highlight the success of catch-and-release.
Lake Panasoffkee is the fishing hole where some top anglers cut their teeth on bass fishing and it's also the place where anglers have a chance to win thousands of dollars on April 4 and through the year.
The April 4 date is the annual General Sumter's Last Stand Big Bass Tournament. Along with the tournament day events and prizes, anglers can try to reel in General Sumter himself, worth the big cash prize money.
Bill Stewart, 66, of Weeki Wachee, caught a 69-pound, 8-ounce blue catfish on the Choctawhatchee River, near Ebro, during the Choctawhatchee Catfish Roundup tournament on May 30. He beat the previous state record by 5 pounds.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) TrophyCatch program awarded a $40,000 Phoenix bass boat to Jill Ganey, of Tallahassee, during the Bass Pro Shops Southern Open on Lake Tohopekaliga-Kissimmee. It was a fitting venue, since it was at the Bass Pro Shops grand opening in Tallahassee in September 2013 where Jill actually registered for the TrophyCatch program.
Up North, anglers are hunkered down, dreaming of fishing in Florida. Here in the Fishing Capital of the World, freshwater sunfish are already on spawning beds in the southern half of the state. In north Florida, they are getting ready to come to shore to let loose the next generation of finned wonders.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) operates two freshwater fish hatcheries, which will stock more than 3.5 million fish again this year, with most being custom-designed striped bass hybrids -- aka sunshine bass.