BASSMASTER Tournament Record A Tribute To Florida's Conservation Efforts
KISSIMMEE, Fla.- (January 21, 2001) "In 34 years of conducting professional
fishing tournaments, no one at the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society has ever
seen anything like this," said B.A.S.S. National Tournament Director Dewey
Kendrick is referring to the mammoth catch recorded by Arizona's Dean Rojas
at this weekend's Florida BASSMASTER Top 150 on Lake Tohopekaliga in
Over the course of the four day event Rojas brought in an amazing 108
pounds, 12 ounces of bass, shattering the organizations previous high mark
of 91 pounds, 3 ounces, for a four-day event by over 17 1/2 pounds. In
fact, Rojas claimed the record after only 3 days of competition.
"I spent 20 years on Lake Toho," said Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission
Director of Freshwater Fisheries Ed Moyer, "I've never seen anything like
this before. This is a tribute to lake management practices over the last
decade and is a great example of our management practices."
After an amazing day 1 total of 45-2, also a B.A.S.S. record for a single
day catch, the stage was set for Rojas' amazing feat.
"When I was a kid, I saw stringers of big bass in old photos at fishing
camps in the area," said Osceola County Commissioner Chuck Dunnick. "This
week I saw fish like I saw in those photos. What we saw this week is just
the tip of the iceberg. The county commission has dedicated money, and for
the first time received federal money, to work on the lake during a
scheduled drawdown. The lake will truly be a tremendous fishery in three to
"This is a great fishery," said Rojas. "The management practices have
definitely made Lake Toho a top fishery in Florida and nationwide.
Practices such as catch and release, which began with B.A.S.S. and its
members also help to ensure that this fishery will continue to be great."
The work that enabled this to take place actually began as far back as 1992
when the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) instituted new
regulations and policies to return the state's inland fisheries to their
previous greatness. One of the first regulations that was instituted by the
FWC was a reduction on the daily bag limit from 10 bass of any size to five
bass that had to meet a minimum size limit of either 12- or 14-inches
depending on the location.
The FWC's practice of simultaneously enhancing water quality, restoring
littoral habitat, and replacing noxious weed growth with desirable,
productive aquatic plant species has had a tremendous impact on the quality
of not only Lake Toho, but also on the other lakes of the Kissimmee chain.
As a result of these actions, anglers can expect many years of quality
fishing from Florida's fisheries.
"To a natural resource manager that has followed FWC's efforts for many
years," said B.A.S.S. Conservation Director Bruce Shupp, "This is a tribute
to a courageous and aggressive restoration project on the Kissimmee system.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission should be commended for their
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