Florida Saltwater Fishing Records
State records for the heaviest marine fishes caught in Florida waters, or in federal waters extending directly outward of Florida state line boundaries, are maintained for 81 species in all-tackle and fly-fishing categories. Catches must follow program rules and fishing regulations.
On Jan. 1, 2019, four new species were added to the Florida Saltwater Fishing Records program – blueline tilefish, schoolmaster, white grunt and red porgy. Catches for these newly-added species must be made on or after Jan. 1, 2019, to qualify. To suggest additional species to be considered for the records program, contact AnglerRecognition@MyFWC.com.
The angler’s signature on a completed application form must be witnessed by a notary. Species that pose a problem of identity require determination by a qualified fisheries biologist. Photographs must be submitted clearly showing the weight on the scale, the rod and reel used to make the catch, the angler with their catch and a full-length side-view of the fish for identification purposes.
Record recipients receive a certificate, decal and custom ink fish print.
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.
To participate in Florida's Saltwater Angler Recognition Programs, all fish must be caught by the angler being recognized in accordance with the Florida saltwater recreational fishing regulations at the time of the catch. This includes, but is not limited to, the angler being properly licensed or using an approved exemption, as well as using legal gear and fishing in saltwater where the angler has legal access.
Contact AnglerRecognition@MyFWC.com or 850-487-0554 for questions regarding these programs.
- All submitted fish must have been caught by the angler applying for recognition.
- After a catch has been submitted by an angler and approved by staff it cannot be used to qualify a different angler for recognition.
- Fish can be either caught and released or legally 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.
- Submitted photos must include the angler and show fish in whole condition with the exception of the removal of gills and guts.
- 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 must be caught in Florida state waters, in U.S. federal waters extending directly outward of Florida state line boundaries, or landed in Florida.
- Anglers may receive up to 10 prize packages per calendar year for the same recognition, such as 10 of a particular Grand Slam or 10 of a particular Reel Big Fish species. After this threshold, anglers will receive certificates and website level recognition, but will not receive a prize package for those recognitions. Once a new calendar year begins, the count to reach the 10 recognition threshold starts over again.
- FWC employees, including OPS, are not eligible to win prizes other than certificate level awards and website recognition.
- 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 (side views are best) 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.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) maintains state records for the heaviest marine fishes caught in Florida state waters or in federal waters extending directly outward of Florida state waters in all-tackle and fly-fishing categories. All-tackle is any gear that can be legally used to recreationally harvest a species. Fly-fishing tackle is gear made specifically for casting light artificial flies in which the rod is designed to use the weight of the line in order to cast. Catches must follow Florida's fishing regulations, General Angling Rules, Florida Saltwater Fishing Records Program Rules and Atlantic Highly Migratory Species rules (if applicable). Catches made in federal waters must also follow regulations for federal Gulf of Mexico waters or federal South Atlantic waters.
For some species, current regulations in Florida state waters, federal Gulf of Mexico waters and/or federal South Atlantic waters do not allow for the harvest, possession or landing of a record-sized fish due to maximum size limits or harvest prohibitions. Therefore, new records for some species may not be attainable at this time.
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. Scale certification must be within two years of catch date. 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 and the entire fish on the scale must be submitted (see Photograph Requirements below).
- 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 (0.5%) 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).
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 (showing certification within two years of catch date)
- Weight displayed on the scale (while the fish is on the scale)
- Close-up showing the weight displayed on the scale
- Full-length view of the entire fish being weighed on the scale
- Fishing gear 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
Submitted photographs may be used in FWC materials and should show anglers using proper fish handling techniques and wearing personal floatation devices when aboard vessels.
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
- Barracuda, great
- Bass, black sea
- Bass, striped (saltwater)
- Bonito, Atlantic
- Catfish, gafftopsail
- Catfish, hardhead
- Croaker, Atlantic
- Drum, black
- Drum, red
- Grouper, black
- Grouper, gag
- Grouper, goliath
- Grouper, Nassau
- Grouper, red
- Grouper, Warsaw
- Grouper, yellowfin
- Grunt, white
- Hind, speckled
- Jack, almaco
- Jack, bar
- Jack, crevalle
- Jack, horse‑eye
- Jack, yellow
- Kingfish (whiting)
- Mackerel, cero
- Mackerel, king
- Mackerel, Spanish
- Margate, white
- Marlin, blue
- Marlin, white
- Pompano, African
- Pompano, Florida
- Porgy, red
- Runner, blue
- Runner, rainbow
- Sailfish, Atlantic
- Seatrout, spotted
- Shark, blacktip
- Shark, bull
- Shark, dusky
- Shark, hammerheads
- Shark lemon
- Shark, mako
- Shark, spinner
- Shark, thresher
- Shark, tiger
- Shark, white
- Snapper, cubera
- Snapper, gray
- Snapper, lane
- Snapper, mutton
- Snapper, red
- Snapper, schoolmaster
- Snapper, vermilion
- Snapper, yellowtail
- Spearfish, longbill
- Tilefish, blueline
- Triggerfish, grey
- Tuna, bigeye
- Tuna, blackfin
- Tuna, bluefin
- Tuna, skipjack
- Tuna, yellowfin
- Tunny, little
Adding New Eligible Records Species to the Program
- If a species is not listed above, it is not currently eligible for a state record.
- To suggest additional species to be considered for the records program, contact AnglerRecognition@MyFWC.com. Suggesting a species does not guarantee that it will be added; staff will review species suggestions on a case-by-case basis.
- When a new 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.