A Record Year for Catch a Florida Memory Fishing Program

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Lily Naylor adds a spotted seatrout to her Saltwater Fish Life List, with brother Peyton cheering her on. Photo by Jeff Naylor.

Lily Naylor adds a spotted seatrout to her Saltwater Fish Life List, with brother Peyton cheering her on. Photo by Jeff Naylor.

Almost 1,400 participants and partners participated in Catch a Florida Memory, a program that encourages anglers to learn more about Florida’s vast recreational fishing opportunities by enticing them to target multiple species during fishing trips, garnering more than 15,000 saltwater fish submissions and 2,800 achievements.

“Having your support and watching you all make the most out of this strange year has inspired us as we prepare for some real big things in 2021,” said the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in a statement. “But before we re-bait the hook for next year, we would like to look back at what has been a grand slam of a fishing year for so many of you.”

2 Florida Catch

It’s common for fishing records to get broken in the state, and this year was no exception — a monster catch came out of the 2020 Pelagic Shamrock Shootout. Anthony Beau Kelly and his fishing mates landed an all-time Florida state record bigeye tuna that measured a whopping 71 inches and 194.8 pounds.

The state also recognized three new additions to its Grand Slam Tier 1 list — Richard Brundage, John Dobbins and George Saridakis — “that’s a big deal,” the group wrote.

Adam Ball and JD Malone are the second and third anglers to ever reach the Saltwater Fish Life List 50-Fish Club; the two anglers landed catches like Malone’s bull red drum earlier this year and Ball’s yellowfin tuna many moons ago in 1986.

JD Malone with his bull red drum.

JD Malone with his bull red drum.

Countless anglers reached the Life List 10-Fish Club, evidence that new anglers are participating and catching a diverse array of saltwater species, not just the same few.

In fact, the over 5,200 fish that were submitted in 2020 by nearly 700 different anglers reached close to 1,000 achievements.

“As we look ahead to 2021, we encourage anglers to continue adding to their life lists. There are an abundance of saltwater species out there that will help you qualify for different Catch a Florida Memory achievements,” wrote the FWC. “Continue to enjoy being outdoors, catch an assortment of fish and invite your friends to do the same. After all, while we enjoy seeing anglers catch fish, we enjoy watching them catch Florida memories even more.”

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