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Record-setting year for Catch a Florida Memory

By FLORIDA FISH AND WILDLIFE CONSERVATION COMMISSION - | Jan 6, 2021

FWC Adam Ball with a snook.

As we enter the season of giving, we’d like to give a “reel” big thank you to all our nearly 1,400 Catch a Florida Memory participants and partners who helped us reach over 15,000 saltwater fish submissions and 2,800 achievements recognized so far. 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. 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.

It’s not uncommon for us to see fishing records broken in the state of Florida. This year was no exception with a monster catch coming out of the 2020 Pelagic Shamrock Shootout. One might say that Anthony Beau Kelly and his fishing mates found a field of four-leaf clovers as they landed an all-time Florida state record bigeye tuna. At a whopping 71 inches and 194.8 pounds, this tunny was the pot of gold that Kelly and his mates were looking for in the tournament.

This year, we also recognized three new additions to our Grand Slam Tier 1 list — and that’s a big deal. We’d like to send a huge congratulations to Richard Brundage, John Dobbins and George Saridakis on this whale of an accomplishment. Dobbins qualified with several Family Grand Slams, a Bay and Estuary Grand Slam and multiple Inshore Grand Slams, while Saridakis got on this list with a Reefs and Rubble Grand Slam, an Inshore Grand Slam and a Family Grand Slam. Brundage recently made the list, with many of his qualifying catches occurring in November of this year, landing him an Inshore Grand Slam, Family Grand Slam and Shoreline Grand Slam.

Additionally, we’d like to give a huge shout out to Adam Ball and JD Malone who are the second and third anglers to ever reach the Saltwater Fish Life List 50-Fish Club — what an achievement! The two anglers have landed some very special catches like Malone’s bull red drum earlier this year and Ball’s yellowfin tuna many moons ago in 1986. It has been a spectacular adventure for both anglers to reach this point. We applaud them for their efforts.

Lastly, this year has seen countless anglers reach the Life List 10-Fish Club. This is one of the most exciting things that we’re seeing. It shows us 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.

FWC JD Malone with a bull red drum.

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. 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.

Participate today by visiting CatchaFloridaMemory.com. See how you and other anglers are doing by following the Catch a Florida Memory Facebook page at Facebook.com/CatchaFLMemory.