The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) reserves the right to deny any application to the Catch a Florida Memory - Saltwater Angler Recognition Programs and can change these rules at any time without notice. State laws prohibit false claims or fraud when claiming prizes. FWC employees, including OPS, are not eligible to win prizes other than posting pictures and certificate level recognition. Contact AnglerRecognition@MyFWC.com or 850-487-0554 for questions regarding these programs.
- The angler being properly licensed or using an approved exemption
- Using legal gear and fishing in saltwater where the angler has legal access
- All submitted fish must have been caught by the angler applying for recognition.
- Fish can be either caught and released or harvested for these programs.
- All harvest of fish must comply with current regulations. Florida Saltwater Recreational Fishing Regulations may be found online or by calling 850-487-0554
- An undersized or out-of-season fish can qualify, as long as they are promptly and safely released and not harvested (as evidenced by submitted photos).
- Any past catches that meet the requirements are eligible, as long as the required photos and documentation are provided.
- FWC reserves the right to deny any application to the Saltwater Angler Recognition Programs and can change these rules at any time without notice.
- State laws prohibit false claims or fraud when claiming prizes. Prizes are taxable and will be reported to the IRS as appropriate (please check with your tax advisor if you have any questions).
- Recognition will only be given to individual anglers, NOT groups. Do not apply for group recognition.
- Fish may be caught outside of state waters as long as they are released or legally landed in the State of Florida. For example, a fish caught in federal waters and landed in Florida would qualify. Similarly, a fish caught from a boat in Georgia state waters and then landed in Florida would qualify. In addition, a fish caught and released in federal waters off of Florida would also qualify.
- FWC employees, including OPS, are not eligible to win prizes other than certificate level awards and website recognition.
- Contact AnglerRecognition@MyFWC.com or 850-487-0554 for questions regarding these programs.
- Your submissions to this program, including photos and other data provided to the Florida Saltwater Angler Recognition Program, constitute a release for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to use them without compensation or further notice for research, information and other public purposes, such as being posted on the FWC website or being used in FWC publications and promotional materials. When photographs are required, the proper fish handling techniques and photo rules below apply.
Proper Fish Handling Techniques for Photos
- Anglers should handle their catch with wet hands only (do not use a towel), be careful not to poke fingers into eyes or gills and fully support the body weight of the fish by cradling it horizontally.
- If not held, fish should be photographed in a rubber-coated, knotless landing net rather than lying on a dock, cooler or boat deck.
- Measure length on a wet, cool surface. Do not place fish on hot, dry boat surfaces.
- Large fish that will not be harvested should not be removed from the water or boated, as this can injure the fish.
- Anglers’ faces must be included in photographs and fish must be in an unobstructed position so that FWC staff can verify the species.
- For more catch-and-release techniques, see the following: Catch and Release Brochure, Fish Handling and Gear
- It is preferred that anglers on vessels are photographed wearing personal floatation devices.
Eligible Saltwater Fish Species and Minimum Qualifying Lengths (effective 7/1/16)
|Saltwater Reel Big Fish Species||Length (Adult)||Length (Youth)|
|Black sea bass||17”||13”|
|*Measured by fork length. All other fish should be measured by total length.|
- To enter Saltwater Reel Big Fish catches, anglers must submit a completed Saltwater Reel Big Fish Application and photo-documentation to show the species and length of their catch. To be eligible, the fish must be legally caught and meet or exceed the minimum qualifying length; length is maximum length in inches. See the Saltwater Reel Big Fish page for a listing of species and whether to measure by total length or fork length.
- The catch must be photographed over a qualifying measuring device as well as in a photo with the angler who is applying for recognition. A qualifying measuring device is any length measuring device, such as a tape measure or ruler, where an accurate length measurement is clearly visible in the photograph and FWC staff can easily verify that the fish is over the required length. If the fish is longer than the length measuring device, then the verfied length of the fish will be the maximum length shown on the device or the minimum qualifying length, whichever is greater. Photographs may be posted on the FWC website, in regulations booklets or in other FWC publications.
- All Saltwater Reel Big Fish catches are eligible as long as they can be documented and have been caught in accordance with FWC regulations. Anglers do not have to harvest their fish to be eligible and are encouraged to release their catches alive. All harvest of fish must comply with current regulations, available at myfwc.com/Fishing or by calling 850-487-0554. Applications that are incomplete or fail to provide full documentation of requirements will result in disqualification. Saltwater Reel Big Fish applications will be accepted year-round.
Saltwater Reel Big Fish Recognition Tiers
- Tier 1: 5 different species
- Tier 2: 10 different species
- Tier 3: 15 different species
- Tier 4: Reel Big Master Angler – all 30 Reel Big Fish species
Prizes for Reel Big Fish Club Anglers
- Each time an angler submits a valid Saltwater Reel Big Fish Application, they will receive a t-shirt, certificate of accomplishment, various FWC saltwater publications and will become a member of the corresponding Saltwater Reel Big Fish Club. Anglers who are awarded at least five different Reel Big Fish species certificates may apply for Reel Big Fish Club Recognition Tiers for the opportunity to receive additional prizes. Successful participants will also receive one raffle entry for each verified submission to the program.
- To be eligible for prizes, anglers must comply with all rules for Saltwater Angler Recognition Programs and the Saltwater Reel Big Fish Program. Prizes typically arrive 4 to 8 weeks after approval (not submittal). All prizes are awarded pending availability. FWC reserves the right deny any application for the Saltwater Reel Big Fish Program and to change recognition prizes at any time without notice.
Submission Requirements for Florida Saltwater Fishing Records
- The angler is responsible for submitting a complete application form.
- Information for witnesses to the catch and weighing must be recorded on the application form.
- The angler’s signature on a completed application form must be witnessed by a notary.
- The catch must be weighed using a certified scale on land. A certified scale is one that has been checked and certified for accuracy by government agencies or other qualified and accredited organizations. A valid scale certification number must be included on the application form.
- A witness must view the weighing and have their information recorded on the application form.
- Photographs clearly showing the weight on the scale must be submitted.
- No estimated weights will be accepted. Fish must be weighed on land (fish weighed only at sea or on other bodies of water will not be accepted).
- The weight of any sling, platform, or rope used (if one is used to secure the fish on the scale) must be determined and deducted from the total weight.
- Only weights indicated by the graduations on the scale will be accepted. Visual fractionalizing of these graduations is not allowed. Any weights that fall between two graduations on the scale must be rounded to the lower of the two.
Minimum Weight Requirements:
- In order to qualify for a record, a catch must weigh a minimum of 1 pound (.453 kg).
- To replace a record for a fish weighing less than 25 pounds (11.33 kg), the replacement must weigh at least 2 ounces (56.69 gm) more than the existing record.
- To replace a record fish weighing 25 pounds (11.33 kg) or more, the replacement must weigh at least one half of 1 percent more than the existing record.
- Examples: If the current record is 100 pounds (45.35 kg), the additional weight required would be 8 ounces (226.7 gm); if the current record is 200 pounds (90.71 kg), the additional weight required would be 1 pound (.453 kg).
- Submitted photographs should clearly show various views of the fish for identification purposes (see below for details).
- Species that are difficult to identify must be confirmed by a qualified fisheries biologist.
- A fisheries biologist does not need to identify the fish in-person unless there is a question of species identity (photographs will suffice in most cases).
Photograph Requirements:Photographs must accompany all record applications. Applications without photographs will not be accepted. To qualify for a record, photographs must be submitted clearly showing the following:
- Scale used to weigh the fish
- Weight displayed on the scale
- Rod and reel used to make the catch
- Angler with their catch
- Fish in various views for identification purposes
- Full-length side-view of the entire fish (the fins must be fully extended and not obscured with the hands)
- Side-view close-up of the head of the fish, from the tip of the mouth to the end of the pectoral fin (the jaw or bill must be clearly shown)
- Any other photos needed to accurately identify the species of the fish
Prizes for Florida Saltwater Fishing Records
- Saltwater record-holders receive a certificate of accomplishment signed by the Director of FWC Marine Fisheries Management, a prize pack, recognition in various publications and a custom ink fish print to memorialize their catch courtesy of Fish Print Shop.
81 Species Included in the Florida Saltwater Fishing Records Program
|Amberjack, greater||Grouper, goliath||Mackerel, king||Shark, dusky||Snapper, yellowtail|
|Barracuda, great||Grouper, Nassau||Mackerel, Spanish||Shark, hammerhead||Snook|
|Bass, black sea||Grouper, red||Margate, white||Shark, lemon||Spearfish, longbill|
|Bass, striped (saltwater)||Grouper, Warsaw||Marlin, blue||Shark, mako||Swordfish|
|Bluefish||Grouper, yellowfin||Marlin, white||Shark, spinner||Tarpon|
|Bonefish||Grunt, white||Permit||Shark, thresher||Tilefish, blueline|
|Bonito||Hind, speckled||Pompano, African||Shark, tiger||Triggerfish, gray|
|Catfish, gafftopsail||Hogfish||Pompano, Florida||Shark, white||Tripletail|
|Catfish, hardhead||Jack, almaco||Porgy, red||Sheepshead||Tuna, bigeye|
|Cobia||Jack, bar||Runner, blue||Snapper, cubera||Tuna, blackfin|
|Croaker, Atlantic||Jack, crevalle||Runner, rainbow||Snapper, gray||Tuna, bluefin|
|Dolphinfish||Jack, horse-eye||Sailfish, Atlantic||Snapper, lane||Tuna, skipjack|
|Drum, black||Jack, yellow||Scamp||Snapper, mutton||Tuna, yellowfin|
|Drum, red||Kingfish (whiting)||Seatrout, spotted||Snapper, red||Tunny, little|
|Flounder||Ladyfish||Shark, blacktip||Snapper, schoolmaster||Wahoo|
|Grouper, black||Mackerel, cero||Shark, bull||Snapper, vermilion||Weakfish|
Adding New Eligible Record Species to the Program
- When an additional fish species is made eligible for the Florida Saltwater Fishing Records program by FWC, an effective date will be announced.
- Only fish caught on or after the effective date will be eligible for records.
- The raffle is being conducted by the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida, Inc., a registered 501(c)(3) corporation located at 2574 Seagate Drive, Suite 100, Tallahassee, FL 32301.
- Winners of the raffle drawing are eligible to receive one of a number of prizes including:
- Fishing reels, courtesy of the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida.
- Fillet knives, courtesy of Smith’s Consumer Products.
- Fish mounts, courtesy of Mount This Fish Company.
- Fishing gear, courtesy of EGO Fishing and Live to Fish.
- Gift certificates, courtesy of Ocean Waves Sunglasses, LLC.
- Additional raffle prizes will be announced as items are donated.
- Current employees of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission are NOT ELIGIBLE to apply for or win any of the Saltwater Angler Recognition Program raffle prizes.
- There is no cost to enter to win. Successful participants will be automatically entered into the raffle.
- To be eligible to win, participants’ applications must be verified by program staff by 4PM ET on the day prior to the raffle drawing.
- Participants will receive one raffle entry for each verified submission made to the program in the last three years.
- Participants cannot win multiple raffle prizes during the same calendar year.
- Winners will be randomly drawn by 11am ET on the third Thursday of every month.
- Drawings will be made at the office of the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida, Inc., using a computer program designed for random selection.
- The raffle item won will be mailed to the participant’s address on file or sent directly from the partner that provided the item.
- Void where prohibited by law.
- The Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reserves the right to use photographs of and quotes from the winner in publications, websites and video presentations. Each monthly raffle winner will be showcased on CatchaFloridaMemory.com and Facebook.com/CatchaFLMemory.
- Raffle prizes are taxable and will be reported to the IRS as appropriate. Please check with your tax advisor if you have any questions.