KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Yesterday the pros and co-anglers left their mark on the TrophyCatch angler recognition program administered by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The awareness campaign is a statewide system that documents catches of trophy bass, of which there were many caught from the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes.
TrophyCatch rewards anglers catching bass weighing between 8 and 13 pounds with gift cards, merchandise, and in some categories a fiberglass replica of the catch. The fish must be photographed and released back into the fishery where it was caught.
The goal of the program is to instill awareness of Florida’s world-class largemouth fishery while promoting conservation of the resources. More information is available at the TrophyCatch website.
Morganthaler’s Classic warmup
You might reason that Chad Morganthaler is in training for his second consecutive Bassmaster Classic. He’s been in the Kissimmee area since January 3. The pro from Illinois isn’t a snowbird, although extended stays are common for he and wife Debbie. Home is an RV with all of the comforts of home while they build a permanent home in Missouri.
“Florida is a good place to get primed for an event like the Classic,” he said. “There are so many little idiosyncrasies that make you really think twice about what you’re doing.”
Florida has also been good to Morganthaler. He won the 2013 Bassmaster Classic Wild Card presented by Star Tron. The win earned him a spot in the 2014 Bassmaster Classic, his first appearance since 2006.
Lanier’s role reversal
Two years ago Daniel Lanier led Day 1 in the pro division of the Open held on the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes. After Thursday, he’s there again but this time as a co-angler. The role reversal came after he missed the cut for the pro side. He’s also got some catching up to do. In 2013, he led with a whooping 29 pounds, compared to Thursday’s weight of 11-9.
Mosely’s emotional high and low
Brock Mosely’s 19-9 bag included a hefty 9-15 largemouth to land the pro from Mississippi in 7th place. The day was an emotional one for the Ole Miss graduate who came into the pro ranks from the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series. He returned to the weigh-in at noon after hearing the news.
Eaker by the numbers
Guy Eaker’s re-entry into the Bassmaster Tournament Trail marks his 287th event of all time. That ranks the North Carolinian eighth on the all-time list of most tournaments fished by a pro angler.
Shryock’s livewell scare
After catching a limit Fletcher Shyrock did what most pros do with a full livewell. He checked the health of his catch. The fish were floating on the surface. After regaining his composure, the Ohio pro discovered grass clogged in the livewell plumbing. In minutes, three of the fish came back to life after unclogged the hole. On the next cast he landed a 5-pounder to boost his confidence for the remainder of the day.
You can quote me
Byron Kenney on his coming into the Opens from the Carhartt Bassmaster College Series: "I got me five squeakers today, but I sure am glad to have them. It's pretty cool to come straight from the college series and into the Opens. I think Brett (Preuett) and I are the only ones to do so for the Southern Opens."