January 08, 2015
Press release FWC
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's (FWC) TrophyCatch program awarded the Season 2 Hall of Fame winner, Joseph “Brooks” Morrell from Hampton, with the TrophyCatch championship ring from the American Outdoors Fund. Morrell caught, documented and released a 14-pound, 9-ounce bass to earn the top prize for Season 2 (Oct. 1, 2013, to Sep. 30, 2014).
He also documented a second Hall of Fame bass during Season 2 – a 13-pound, 12-ounce bass – becoming FWC's first angler to submit two Hall of Fame bass. Each Hall of Fame bass is memorialized with a fiberglass replica from New Wave Taxidermy, presented by FWC and TrophyCatch to the angler after the end of each season.
“Our partners have joined with TrophyCatch in an effort to help gather vital data for managing, encouraging the release of, and promoting our trophy bass fisheries in Florida through this innovative citizen-science program,” said KP Clements, FWC's TrophyCatch director.
Hall of Fame winners, who successfully catch, document and release bass heavier than 13 pounds in Florida, also win gift cards from partners Bass Pro Shops, Dick's Sporting Goods and Rapala, as well as apparel from Bass King Clothing and a Glen Lau DVD.
Len Andrews received a mount for his 13-pound, 12-ounce bass and was TrophyCatch's first triple-crown winner. He was recognized for catching, documenting and releasing at least one trophy bass in all three qualifying size classes: Hall of Fame Club (13 pounds or heavier), Trophy Club (10 to 12.9 pounds) and Lunker Club (8 to 9.9 pounds). Overall, he has entered 12 verified TrophyCatch bass in the past two years.
Hall of Fame prizes also went to Van Soles, a tournament angler from Haines City, who caught a 13-pound, 1-ounce bass while fishing in an event on the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes. At the time of Soles' submission he was eligible for a $10,000 added prize from Experience Kissimmee but the weight of his catch was surpassed by someone else's catch.
In Season 2, TrophyCatch expanded the rules to include submission of a photo and verified, published tournament records, because all tournament bass are carefully weighed and typically released alive. Soles was the first tournament angler to submit a Hall of Fame entry.
Tom Champeau, director of the FWC's Division of Freshwater Fisheries Management, pointed out that this program has already documented more than a thousand 8-pound-plus bass that were caught and released from all over Florida. FWC biologists are using this catch data, which is available to the public at TrophyCatchFlorida.com, to study and enhance trophy bass fishing throughout Florida.
All anglers already registered for TrophyCatch will be eligible to win the Season 3 Phoenix bass boat, powered by Mercury, equipped with a Power-Pole anchoring system and guided by Navionics. Season 3 club anglers with verified fish submitted into the program increase their odds of being drawn for the boat package, with 10 additional chances.