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FB100 April Highlights Photo Contest Formatted

FB100 April Highlights Photo Contest Formatted

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April 2014, Fish Busters' Bulletin by Bob Wattendorf of the Florida FWC about great spring fishing, a photo contest and more.
April 2014, Fish Busters' Bulletin by Bob Wattendorf of the Florida FWC about great spring fishing, a photo contest and more.

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Florida Fish Busters’ Bulletin  April 2014
 April freshwater fishing in Florida is full of fun, opportunities and rewarding challenges
By: Bob Wattendorf
Freshwater anglers have enjoyed wonderful fishing in 2014 across Florida, and this spring should provide more of the same. Pro-anglers just enjoyed a very successful Bassmasters Elite Tournament on the St. Johns River. On March 23, Chris Lane, originally from Lakeland, won with a four-day total of 90.13 pounds, bringing in 20 bass during the four days. Of the top 12 finishers, 11 filled their five-bag limit all four days. However, the success of the pros is just one indicator of how great the winter fishing was and what is likely to continue all through spring. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) incentive-based conservation program titled TrophyCatch rewards anglers for participating in citizen-science, by catching, documenting and releasing largemouth bass heavier than 8 pounds. Besides the immediate gratification of releasing these older bass to fight another day, anglers provide valuable information about the number and distribution of these trophy bass and what it takes to sustain a trophy fishery. Biologists compare the findings to existing conservation programs such as habitat restoration efforts, aquatic
Len Andrews, 74, visits Florida every year just  for the bass fishing, and it pays off. This is his 13-pound, 12-ounce Hall of Fame entry from Lake Kingsley. Follow Facebook.Com/TrophyCatchFlorida to see where the big ones are being caught.
vegetation management strategies, bass stocking histories and various regulation management approaches to determine what works best. Between Jan. 1 and March 23, 2013, anglers entered 54 Lunker Club (8-9.9 pounds), 31 Trophy Club (10-12.9 pounds) and one Hall of Fame bass over 13 pounds. During the same time period this year, there were 220 Lunker Club entrants, 89 Trophy Club and 3 Hall of Fame bass entrants. Part of that three-fold increase was due to simplified rules and more anglers being aware. Nevertheless, it is clear that Florida is producing and recycling vast numbers or trophy bass. So you never know when you may find a lunker on the end of your line. To be prepared, go to TrophyCatchFlorida.com now, register and check out the rules and prizing. Just registering makes you eligible for a random drawing in October for a Phoenix bass boat powered by Mercury and equipped with a Power-Pole. However, every time you have a TrophyCatch bass verified, your name is entered 10 more times. Moreover, every verified bass earns you not only bragging rights on the Web but also a customized certificate, decal and club shirt, plus at least a total of $100 in gift cards from Bass Pro Shops, Dick’s Sporting Goods and/or Rapala. Bigger fish earn greater
Not only professional anglers and adults catch and release trophy bass in Florida. You never know what memories and fish the next cast will bring.
rewards: Anglers who have 13-pound plus Hall of Fame entries also get a $500 fiberglass replica of their catch.  All three Hall of Fame entries from this winter (there was one caught in the fall by Van Soles on Lake Kissimmee) came from semi-private Lake Kingsley in Clay County. Len Andrews, 74, from Richmond, Va., in a recent two-week period, caught and released 12 Florida largemouth bass over 10 pounds, capped by a TrophyCatch Hall of Fame entry that was verified as 13 pounds, 12 ounces. Andrews also became the first “Triple Crown” winner by documenting a Lunker Club, Trophy Club and Hall-of-Fame bass. All of the hundreds of bass he’s caught on Lake Kingsley have been with a Zoom 6-inch lizard. Fellow Lake Kingsley angler Joseph “Brooks” Morrell recently reported three huge bass that he caught, documented, released and entered into TrophyCatch. These included the second and third Hall of Fame entries this season (Oct. 1, 2013, to Sep. 30, 2014). These two bass weighed 13 pounds, 12 ounces, and 14 pounds, 9 ounces and were caught March 1 and 8, respectively. The third bass Morrell caught, on March 9, weighed 11 pounds, 13 ounces. All of his catches were enticed to take an artificial crawfish bait. His 14 pounder is the current season leader. If it holds up, he will earn the TrophyCatch Championship ring in October, which is donated by the American Outdoors Fund.
 Brooks Morrell's 14 lb, 9 oz Hall of Fame catch was 27 3/4 inches long and had a girth of 21 inches. It is currently the largest bass in TrophyCatch Florida's second season.

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