The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) TrophyCatch program, now in Season 8, commemorates its first Hall of Fame bass caught in the new season. Weighing 14 pounds, 2 ounces, it was caught and released in Lake Placid on Jan. 31 by Thomas Hendel, also from Lake Placid.

“I was excited to learn I caught the first TrophyCatch Hall of Fame bass of the season and amazed at the size of my catch,” said Hendel. “This is the first bass I’ve submitted to TrophyCatch. I look forward to continuing my participation in this program for years to come.”

“Since its inception in 2012, TrophyCatch has approved over 9,000 photo submissions of largemouth bass exceeding 8 pounds that have been caught, documented and released into the waters of Florida,” said Jon Fury, FWC’s director of the Division of Freshwater Fisheries Management. “There is no other program like this anywhere and it could not have been possible without Bass Pro Shops and all of our partners who are committed to the conservation of Florida’s trophy bass fishery for our more than 1.2 million freshwater anglers here in the Fishing Capital of the World. Together, we will continue to enhance and protect 3 million acres of lakes, and approximately 12,000 miles of fishable rivers, streams and canals.”

Lake Placid, in Highlands County, is a 3,400-acre lake on the south side of the town of Lake Placid. Lake Placid offers great opportunities for those looking to catch a high number of fish, as well as the chance at a lunker. This unique lake has a variety of vegetation and quality habitat types, including deep flats, ledges and humps not typical of most Florida lakes.

TrophyCatch is a partnership between the FWC, anglers and fishing industry leaders, such as Bass Pro Shops,

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