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Fb68 AnglerRecognitiion Formatted

Fb68 AnglerRecognitiion Formatted

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Published by Bob Wattendorf
This Fish Busters' Bulletin describes several freshwater angler recognition programs in Florida.
This Fish Busters' Bulletin describes several freshwater angler recognition programs in Florida.

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Categories:Topics, Art & Design
Published by: Bob Wattendorf on Aug 29, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Florida Fish Busters’ Bulletin August 2011
Big catches still stroke angler egos
By Bob Wattendorf Somewhere back in time when humans and fish were evolving together,catching and consuming fish was a strict matter of survival. It isn’t difficult toimagine that before long it became a matter of pride for those early hunter-gatherers to bring home the biggest fish to show off and demonstrate their prowessas a fit member of society.By the time barter systems and commercewere developing, being able to take more fish thanwas needed and then sharing or trading themquickly was advantageous. For many, the adage of “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day;teach a man to fish and you feed them for alifetime” was a way of survival on the Americanfrontier. So as our society evolved, is it any wonderthat recreational fishing evolved to keep us close tonature and the water, and to let us challengeourselves and our piscatorial skills against the many finned wonders of the world?Recreational fishes and fishing have become so valuable (an annual $7.5billion economic impact just in Florida) that promoting catch-and-release and take-only-what-you-need approaches is essential. Habitat conservation efforts and
It wasn’t until the 1970’s that catch andrelease took hold, until then the more andthe bigger the stringer better.
carefully designed regulations that help sustain our fisheries – and especially thosethat protect and recycle the largest trophy fish – are becoming increasinglyimportant. As a result, long ago Florida created a “Big Catch” Angler Recognition program that still thrives today andhelps stroke the ego and id of each of us, which are pre-programmed by our nature to want to show off ourprowess and ability to thrive in nature. The “Big Catch”program provides a framable, full-color certificate and awindow sticker for anglers who catch any of 33 species of listed freshwater fishes that exceed a minimum lengthor weight. To create a further challenge for enthusiasts,if people catch five qualifying fish of the same species,they are recognized as a Specialist. If they report fivequalifying fish of different species, they become a Master Angler and if they takeand report qualifying fish representing 10 different species, they are an Elite Angler. The program allows youth to participate with fish that are approximately25 percent smaller than the adult qualifying size. Meanwhile, Big Catch encouragesanglers to fish for a variety of species and to travel to locate them, while promotingappropriate catch-and-release.Now an entirely new set of TrophyCatch marksand awards are in the works for trophy bass anglers. A sensational new TrophyCatch angler recognition
Flathead catfish are one of 33 species currently recognized in the Big Catch program encouraging anglers to fish for a diversity of species and in a variety of habitats.
program will be the hallmark of the long-term Florida Black Bass ManagementPlan, which the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)approved on June 9, 2011. FWC intends to ensure that Florida is the undisputedbass fishing capital of the world.TrophyCatch will be a full-fledgedinitiative to document largemouth basscaught, and preferably released, throughoutFlorida that are heavier than eight pounds.Incremental rewards and recognition will beprovided to anglers reporting bass in the 8-10, 10-12, 12-13 and greater than 13-poundcategories.The anticipated rollout for TrophyCatch is October 2012.“This program, driven by private dollars, can substantially enhance Floridabass fishing by addressing ecological issues and encouraging recycling of trophybass, but it will also have a great social and economic impact,” said Tom Champeau,director of the Division of Freshwater Fisheries Management.Biologists are developing specific handling guidelines to ensure anglers do thebest possible job of effectively releasing these fish while providing the FWC withvaluable research and marketing information. FWC representatives will certifybass over 13 pounds caught from October through April (beginning in 2012) forentry into the Florida Trophy Bass Hall of Fame. Sponsors, corporate partners and
 Big trophy bass like this one caught in 2011 on the Kissimmee Chain are sought after by anglers theworld over

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