Experienced TrophyCatch anglers Adrian “Lunker Louie” Echols and Syl Sims recently caught the program’s first two Hall of Fame largemouth bass on Lake Istokpoga. Louie’s catch weighed 13 pounds, 14 ounces, and Syl’s catch weighed 13 pounds, 4 ounces and was caught using the Enigma fishing rod that he received for his Season 5 Hall of Fame catch.
“We are thrilled to celebrate Louie’s and Syl’s Hall of Fame club catches on Lake Istokpoga,” said KP Clements, TrophyCatch director. “Both of these gentlemen have numerous catches in the program, which highlights their great skill in catching the bass of a lifetime and their commitment to conservation by submitting their data to TrophyCatch to assist in the management of Florida’s trophy bass fisheries.”
Lake Istokpoga is five miles northeast of Lake Placid in Highlands County. This 27,692-acre lake boasts quality fishing for panfish, largemouth bass and many other game fish species. Since TrophyCatch was launched in 2012, there have been 430 TrophyCatch-approved largemouth bass weighing 8 pounds or heavier caught on Lake Istokpoga. A total of 347 fish have been entered into the Lunker Club (8-9.99 pounds), 81 into the Trophy Club (10-12.99 pounds), and Syl and Louie’s Hall of Fame catches make the first two Hall of Fame Club bass (13 pounds or more) caught on Lake Istokpoga in the program’s history. As an integral part of the TrophyCatch program, all of these bass were released, so these trophies still swim in Lake Istokpoga.
TrophyCatch Hall of Fame anglers each receive Bass Pro Shops gift cards, Spiderwire merchandise, a custom fiberglass replica mount made by New Wave Taxidermy, an Enigma fishing rod and a plaque from American Registry commemorating their catch.
TrophyCatch is a partnership between Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) biologists, anglers and fishing industry leaders such as Bass Pro Shops, that rewards the catch, documentation and release of largemouth bass weighing 8 pounds or heavier in Florida. In order to be eligible for prizes, anglers are required to submit photos or videos of their catch to TrophyCatch.com, showing the entire fish and its weight on a scale, before releasing it back into the water. FWC biologists use TrophyCatch data to make informed decisions about the management of Florida bass fisheries and to promote the catch and release of trophy bass.
The FWC encourages anglers to join TrophyCatch as citizen-scientists that assist in fisheries management and the conservation of Florida’s lakes and rivers. A TrophyCatch mobile app is available for download on both Apple and Android devices. For more information about the TrophyCatch program, email Amber Nabors at Amber.Nabors@MyFWC.com.0