Allison Stattner is rocking the fishing world. A participant in Florida’s Saltwater Angler Recognition programs, Stattner is one of only a handful of elite Saltwater Fish Life List “30 Fish Club” members, joining the ranks when she checked the permit of a lifetime off her list back in May. This means she has caught and documented 30 of 71 different species of fish in Florida and has been rewarded for her fishing efforts.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) Saltwater Fish Life List is part of the Catch a Florida Memory program and is designed to increase the diversity of saltwater fish targeted by anglers, reducing fishing pressure on the most commonly sought-after fishes. The wide array of species also leads anglers to try different fishing locations and techniques, expanding experiences for avid anglers and cultivating interest in fishing for those new to the sport.
Stattner’s permit was caught while fishing out of Bahia Honda Key. She was ready to head back in from a day of tarpon fishing, but the captain suggested that she throw out one last bait before slack tide.
“The reel started screaming faster than any other tarpon bites,” said Stattner. “We waited for the fish to jump. Nothing. Maybe 15 minutes later I started to see color off the bow - my permit daydream!”
Stattner posed for a quick photo with her catch, then released the estimated 35- to 40-pound permit back into the water.
Only 10 other anglers currently hold the “30 Fish Club” distinction for Catch a Florida Memory’s Saltwater Fish Life List.
Anglers receive prizes and recognition as they work on their Saltwater Fish Life List, starting with the “10 Fish Club.” The “50 Fish Club” and “71 Fish Club” distinctions have yet to be reached, so the big question is: Who will complete their Saltwater Fish Life List and become the first Life List Master Angler?
The Saltwater Fish Life List isn’t the only way to get recognized through Catch a Florida Memory. Anglers of all ages and skill levels can also earn prizes when they submit a Saltwater Grand Slam (three specified fish caught in 24 hours) or Saltwater Reel Big Fish (30 different species that meet a minimum qualifying length).
Catch-and-release fishing and responsible fish handling practices are encouraged to help minimize stress on fish, and anglers do not have to harvest their catches to qualify. Photos of the angler with each fish are required.