The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is set to kick off the new year with a wave of excitement as its Catch a Florida Memory program unveils three fresh saltwater fishing record categories beginning January 1.

Here’s what you need to know:

New Categories: In addition to the existing All Tackle and Fly-Fishing Weight categories, FWC is introducing a Youth Weight category tailored for anglers aged 15 and under. Furthermore, Youth and Adult Length categories are being added to accommodate catch-and-release records.

Eligible Species: Species such as red drum, bonefish, permit, and snook are now eligible for records in the Youth and Adult Length categories. The Youth Weight category encompasses a variety of species, including blackfin tuna, cobia, dolphinfish, flounder, gray (mangrove) snapper, gray triggerfish, hardhead catfish, red grouper, sheepshead, Spanish mackerel, Spotted seatrout, and yellowtail snapper.

Qualification Criteria: To qualify for a Length Record, the fish must be caught on or after Jan. 1, 2024, measure at least 10 inches, and be measured using a flat length measuring device, with clear photos of measurement increments.

For a Youth Weight Record, the fish must be caught on or after Jan. 1, 2024, weigh a minimum of 1 pound, and adhere to the documentation requirements of the Adult Weight category.

Progressive Records: Once a record is approved, subsequent records must surpass the previous record by at least 0.5 inches.

Application Process: Anglers interested in securing a record must submit a completed application form, available at CatchaFloridaMemory.com/Records, featuring their signature and a notary stamp. The application should include digital or print photographs showcasing the gear used, the angler with their catch, various views of the fish, and required weight or length verification photos. Videos will be accepted for the Youth and Adult Length record categories.

Submission Timeline: Both youth and adult applications must be submitted within three months of the catch date.

Rewards for Record Holders: Anglers who achieve a new approved state record after Jan. 1 will receive a certificate, a Catch a Florida Memory decal, and a custom fish metal decor courtesy of the Metal Edge.

These exciting changes aim to recognize anglers for their fishing prowess while promoting diversity in the pursuit of different species, ushering in a new era for saltwater fishing records in Florida.

Image/Source: SpectrumNews13