Highlands County Bass Tournament Exemptions for the next 28 days

For the period 4/28/2021 to 5/26/2021

Here is a list of bass tournaments in Highlands County which have requested exemptions for the next four weeks. This information is provided to FWC from bass tournament directors.

Lake Istokpoga

Sunday, May 9, 2021, Istokpoga Park at 2:00 PM; Highlander Tournament Trail with 100 participants.

Saturday, May 15, 2021, Istokpoga Park at 3:00 PM; Fishers of Men with 50 participants.

Sunday, May 16, 2021, Istokpoga Park at 3:00 PM; Xtreme bass series with 50 participants.

Lake June in Winter

Saturday, May 1, 2021, H.L. Bishop Ramp at 3:00 PM; Outcasts Bass Club with 30 participants.

Saturday, May 15, 2021, H.L. Bishop Ramp at 3:00 PM; Dixie Country Bass Club with 60 participants.

Lake Placid

Saturday, May 1, 2021, Public Ramp / Placid View Drive at 3:00 PM; South Florida Bass Club with 30 participants.

(Data as of Friday, April 23, 2021)

Tournament directors have until the day before their tournament to schedule or make changes to their tournament exemption. This exemption allows the tournament participants to have an exemption from fish length limits, but not bag limits, while participating in the tournament. All fish are required to be handled as stipulated in the permit, while doing everything possible to ensure a live release. Any dead fish are normally provided to a charity, such as a homeless shelter.

More information about black (largemouth) bass fishing tournament exemptions can be found here: https://myfwc.com/license/freshwater/bass-tournament/.

Many of the bass tournaments are coordinated through local fishing clubs, please reach out to the group specified for additional information. Weigh-ins are typically open to the public.

Sebring Elks Lodge #1529 FISHING Tournament

It was a hot, windy day on Lake Jackson last Saturday as 24 teams competed to win the Sebring Elks Lodge Fishing Tournament.

It was easy to spot the tournament anglers as they were all wearing the t-shirts given out at the early registration.

The team of Matt Thompson and Kendell Ogg took first place honors with 5 bass weighing 11.6 pounds earning them a check for $1000.00. They also had the big bass of the event weighing 4.9 pounds earning them an additional $320.00

Always near the top, the team of Corky and Tangie Neff came in second place with 5 fish weighing in at10.12 pounds and they received a check for $750.00.

And rounding out the top three places, just one ounce from second place, finishing in third was Chip Heck and Dave Burdick with 5 fish weighing 10.11 pounds worth $500.

Unlike most bass tournaments that apply for an exemption, allowing anglers to weigh in their five biggest bass, this tournament did not offer exemptions so each team was limited to the state of Florida fishing regulations which allow only one fish over 16”, making it a much tougher tournament.

Nick Tidwell did a great job as the Tournament Director/Weigh Master, as well as emcee for the event.

I stopped by to watch the weigh-in and it was a challenge just to find a parking spot. Booths were set up for registration and raffle tickets and after the official weigh-in, the band, California Toe Jam played some great music for most of the day and Harry Havery played solo for a couple of hours.

It was a very well-run tournament. Everyone had a great time!

Editor’s note: Don Norton, often referred to as “Red”, is a semi-retired bass fishing guide, custom rod builder and tournament bass fisherman. He was the owner of two local fishing tackle stores, REDS in Avon Park and REDS II in Sebring, and in addition to previously writing for Highlands Today the NEWS-SUN and the Coastal Angler, he also taught evening classes at the South Florida State College in Avon Park on bass fishing techniques and custom rod building. Don lives in Golf Hammock with his wife Lexie.

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