Holidays bring fishing bonuses

Published: Thursday, November 14, 2013 at 10:37 AM.

These dates were planned around holiday weekends and events, such as National Fishing and Boating Week (www.TakeMeFishing.org/NFBW), which gets significant media coverage by promoting boating and fishing nationwide. The website is available to cross-promote local fishing or boating events as well.

In addition, VISIT FLORIDA, which promotes Florida as the “Fishing Capital of the World” (www.FishingCapital.org), designates June as Fishing Month.

April is among the best freshwater fishing months and the weather tends to be comfortable. It is a great time to host educational and outreach events that promote recreational fishing and conservation stewardship.

Florida’s license-free fishing days are the perfect opportunity for people to try, or introduce a friend to, some of the finest fishing in the world. Florida’s recreational freshwater and saltwater fishing industry has an $8.9 billion economic impact and supports nearly 80,000 jobs. Events like these help grow the industry even more.

Businesses with fishing ties such as outdoor retailers, fishing guides, marinas and outfitters; nonprofits that work with youth and conservation groups; and local governments promoting fishing in local waters will all benefit. The FWC encourages them to sponsor events on these free days. To learn more about promoting your freshwater fishing events, contact Bob Wattendorf (Bob.Wattendorf@MyFWC.com).

A great way to cross-promote is to encourage anglers to participate in angler recognition programs. For freshwater programs, go to TrophyCatchFlorida.com and register. Registering enters the angler into an October 2014 drawing for a Phoenix bass boat powered by Mercury. Anglers may submit photos of their catches for recognition. Big Catch certificates are available to those who post a photo of any of 33 different freshwater fishes that simply exceed a specified quality length or weight standard (see website for details). There are special certificates for youth who catch slightly smaller fish to encourage them. For aficionados, there are Master, Elite and Specialist certificates, or Slams for catching a variety of fish within a specified time frame.

However, the big prizes are reserved for anglers who catch, document and release largemouth bass over 8 pounds. To join the TrophyCatch clubs and claim prizes, anglers should photograph the entire fish (head to tail) on a scale with the weight legible, then release the bass and post the photo and information on the website. Not only do anglers acquire bragging rights and prizes, but they help conserve the resource by recycling these older trophy bass. Documenting these catches helps the FWC refine management strategies for trophy bass and provides support for promoting Florida as the premier bass-fishing destination.



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