Largemouth Bass Tournament Catch Results in Florida

Largemouth bass catch data and other information were compiled from records generated from a Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission tournament permitting system implemented in 1975. Popular tournament waters were determined and ranked according to success rates, average weights, and weights of "big bass" reported by tournament sponsors. Commission records indicate 645 bass tournaments were permitted from 1975-1982 with more than 57% staged in the St. Johns River/Rodman Reservoir area, Lake Okeechobee, and the Kissimmee chain of lakes. Between 1978 and 1982, mean tournament success rates statewide were computed at 0.27 bass/hour, while Lake Okeechobee ranked highest at 0.40 bass/hour. Highest average bass weights were reported from the Clermont Chain at 1.18 kg, and statewide weights averaged 0.86 kg. Orange/Lochloosa lakes produced the largest "big bass" reported with a mean weight of 4.26 kg. Results from 1978 to 1982 were compared with preliminary tournament data compiled from 1975 to 1977, and indicated success rates increased in the 3 major tournament areas and statewide, while average weights remained constant. Trends indicate mean weights of "big bass" from major tournament waters and all other areas decreased during data periods. Overall results indicate that competitive fishing currently poses no direct threat to largemouth bass fisheries in Florida.

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