The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) TrophyCatch program awarded a $40,000 Phoenix bass boat to Jill Ganey, of Tallahassee, during the Bass Pro Shops Southern Open on Lake Tohopekaliga-Kissimmee. It was a fitting venue, since it was at the Bass Pro Shops grand opening in Tallahassee in September 2013 where Jill actually registered for the TrophyCatch program.
Jill and her family wasted no time, taking the new boat for a test ride, learning all the high-performance features of her brand new Phoenix 619-Pro.
At the end of its second season (Oct 1, 2013 to Sept. 30, 2014), TrophyCatch had 8,494 registrants, each of whom had at least one opportunity, whether they submitted a fish or not, to win the bass boat. In addition, each verified bass heavier than 8 pounds that was caught, properly documented and released created another 10 opportunities for the registrant to win.
Shortly after the end of the season, Margie Perleberg, Business Development Manager for Mercury Marine, one of TrophyCatch’s partners, randomly drew five finalists from among nearly 20,000 chances. The five finalists were Jill Ganey, Anthony Acevedo, Skyler Stahl, Rex Rothing and Lenard Andrews, each of whom were portrayed on Facebook.com/TrophyCatchFlorida the week leading up to announcement of the winner.
Watch the family’s reaction to winning the new boat here:
A young woman from the audience during the Gumbo Wars in Orlando last November drew Ganey’s name from among the five finalists. Because the Ganeys weren’t able to be present at the drawing, arrangements were made to transfer the boat later and provide safety training.
Jill Ganey, her husband, Ken (a sergeant with the Leon County Sheriff’s Office), and their children, Austin and Tori-Beth, enjoy the angling life, living right on Lake Jackson in Tallahassee. Jill is an FSU alumna and was a paralegal but left the profession to concentrate on raising her children. Ganey pointed out that she heard about TrophyCatch and met some of the staff during the Grand Opening of Bass Pro Shops in Tallahassee, which was when she registered.
“We are pleased the boat went to Jill and her family, who will put it to good use,” said Tom Champeau, director of the FWC’s Division of Freshwater Fisheries Management, noting that it was the luck of the draw. “This award reiterated that you don’t have to enter a verified bass to win with TrophyCatch, or even be present at the final drawing to win. Just register at TrophyCatchFlorida.com for free.”
The Phoenix 619-Pro bass boat is equipped with a Mercury Marine engine, MotorGuide trolling motor, Power-Pole anchoring system and Navionics chartplotter. The boat and accessories were donated to TrophyCatch by corporate partners, at no cost to the state. KP Clements, director of TrophyCatch, said, “These partners have joined with TrophyCatch in an effort to promote conservation, gather vital catch data and basically invest in Florida’s trophy bass fisheries through this innovative citizen-science program.”
Go to TrophyCatchFlorida.com to learn more about the program and register for next year’s drawing. Then, be sure to document (a photo on a scale with the entire bass visible) any bass heavier than 8 pounds that is caught and released in Florida. TrophyCatch.com is also the place where people can learn details about more than 1,000 trophy bass already caught, documented and released in just two years.