By Captain David Lifka
In an effort to help encourage responsible angling, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has developed a variety of Saltwater Angler Recognition programs to “Catch a Florida Memory.” With up to 11 different categories to in which to participate, almost anyone with modest to extreme angling skills can win prizes along with recognition of their catches by Florida Fish and Wildlife and possibly even the International Game Fish Association.
The list of categories includes nine different Grand Slam challenges along with a Saltwater Fish Life List Club program and a Saltwater Reel Big Fish program.
To qualify for a Grand Slam, three specific species of fish must be caught within a 24 hour period. A Small Fry Grand Slam also exists for anglers under 15 years of age.
The Saltwater Fish Life List Club lists 71 species of fish that can be caught in a lifetime in Florida waters. Catching 10 different fish from the list will get you in the club and started on your way to Life List Master Angler, a milestone reached when you have completed the list.
The Reel Big Fish program consists of a list of 30 species of saltwater fish. To qualify to become a member of this somewhat exclusive club, an angler must catch a fish that meets the minimum size set for that specific fish from the list. The list consists of adult and youth minimum qualifying lengths.
With many of the designated species of saltwater fishes inhabiting our local waters, qualifying and gaining angler recognition should be an obtainable goal for most. A red, a seatrout and a flounder make up an Inshore Grand Slam. A Shoreline Grand Slam consists of a sheepshead, whiting and Florida pompano. There is also a Family Grand Slam, which would consist of any three fish in the same scientific family. Around here the Sciaenidae Fish family is pretty prominent. More commonly recognized as the drum family of fishes, such fish would include reds, black drum, croaker, weakfish and more.
By going to http://catchafloridamemory.com/ you will be able to find all necessary information regarding the specific of rules for participants.
Fishing Report: For the river seatrout, north of the Buckman is always good this time of year. Slow trolling off the end of docks or working downtown bridges day or night is a good bet. For the kids, enjoy the temperatures and take them to a nearby dock or pond for some easy bream fishing.
Whether you catch one, some, or none, the quality time spent fishing will last lifetime.