The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) maintains state records for the heaviest marine fishes caught in Florida state waters or in federal waters extending directly outward of Florida state waters in conventional tackle and fly-fishing categories. Fly-fishing tackle is gear made specifically for casting light artificial flies in which the rod is designed to use the weight of the line in order to cast, unlike conventional gear where the rod is designed to use the weight of the lure to cast. Catches must follow Florida’s fishing regulations, General Angling Rules, Florida Saltwater Fishing Records Program Rules and Atlantic Highly Migratory Species rules (if applicable). Catches made in federal waters must also follow regulations for federal Gulf of Mexico waters or federal South Atlantic waters.
For some species, current regulations in Florida state waters, federal Gulf of Mexico waters and/or federal South Atlantic waters do not allow for the harvest, possession or landing of a record-sized fish due to maximum size limits or harvest prohibitions. Therefore, new records for some species may not be attainable at this time.
Submission Requirements for Florida Saltwater Fishing Records
- The angler is responsible for submitting a complete application form.
- Information for witnesses to the catch and weighing must be recorded on the application form.
- The angler’s signature on a completed application form must be witnessed by a notary.
- The catch must be weighed using a certified scale on land. A certified scale is one that has been checked and certified for accuracy by government agencies or other qualified and accredited organizations. Scale certification must be within two years of catch date. A valid scale certification number must be included on the application form.
- A witness must view the weighing and have their information recorded on the application form.
- Photographs clearly showing the weight on the scale and the entire fish on the scale must be submitted (see Photograph Requirements below).
- No estimated weights will be accepted. Fish must be weighed on land (fish weighed only at sea or on other bodies of water will not be accepted).
- The weight of any sling, platform, or rope used (if one is used to secure the fish on the scale) must be determined and deducted from the total weight.
- Only weights indicated by the graduations on the scale will be accepted. Visual fractionalizing of these graduations is not allowed. Any weights that fall between two graduations on the scale must be rounded to the lower of the two.
Minimum Weight Requirements:
- In order to qualify for a record, a catch must weigh a minimum of 1 pound (.453 kg).
- To replace a record for a fish weighing less than 25 pounds (11.33 kg), the replacement must weigh at least 2 ounces (56.69 gm) more than the existing record.
- To replace a record fish weighing 25 pounds (11.33 kg) or more, the replacement must weigh at least one half of 1 percent more than the existing record.
- Examples: If the current record is 100 pounds (45.35 kg), the additional weight required would be 8 ounces (226.7 gm); if the current record is 200 pounds (90.71 kg), the additional weight required would be 1 pound (.453 kg).
- Submitted photographs should clearly show various views of the fish for identification purposes (see below for details).
- Species that are difficult to identify must be confirmed by a qualified fisheries biologist.
- A fisheries biologist does not need to identify the fish in-person unless there is a question of species identity (photographs will suffice in most cases).
Photographs must accompany all record applications. Applications without photographs will not be accepted. To qualify for a record, photographs must be submitted clearly showing the following:
- Scale used to weigh the fish (showing certification within two years of catch date)
- Weight displayed on the scale (while the fish is on the scale)
- Close-up showing the weight displayed on the scale
- Full-length view of the entire fish being weighed on the scale
- Rod and reel used to make the catch
- Angler with their catch
- Fish in various views for identification purposes
- Full-length side-view of the entire fish (the fins must be fully extended and not obscured with the hands)
- Side-view close-up of the head of the fish, from the tip of the mouth to the end of the pectoral fin (the jaw or bill must be clearly shown)
- Any other photos needed to accurately identify the species of the fish
Submitted photographs may be used in FWC materials and should show anglers using proper fish handling techniques and wearing personal floatation devices when aboard vessels.
Prizes for Florida Saltwater Fishing Records
Saltwater record-holders receive a certificate of accomplishment signed by the Director of FWC Marine Fisheries Management, a prize pack, recognition in various publications and a custom ink fish print to memorialize their catch courtesy of Fish Print Shop.
81 Species Included in the Florida Saltwater Fishing Records Program
- Amberjack, greater
- Barracuda, great
- Bass, black sea
- Bass, striped (saltwater)
- Bonito, Atlantic
- Catfish, gafftopsail
- Catfish, hardhead
- Croaker, Atlantic
- Drum, black
- Drum, red
- Grouper, black
- Grouper, gag
- Grouper, goliath
- Grouper, Nassau
- Grouper, red
- Grouper, Warsaw
- Grouper, yellowfin
- Grunt, white
- Hind, speckled
- Jack, almaco
- Jack, bar
- Jack, crevalle
- Jack, horse‑eye
- Jack, yellow
- Kingfish (whiting)
- Mackerel, cero
- Mackerel, king
- Mackerel, Spanish
- Margate, white
- Marlin, blue
- Marlin, white
- Pompano, African
- Pompano, Florida
- Porgy, red
- Runner, blue
- Runner, rainbow
- Sailfish, Atlantic
- Seatrout, spotted
- Shark, blacktip
- Shark, bull
- Shark, dusky
- Shark, hammerheads
- Shark lemon
- Shark, mako
- Shark, spinner
- Shark, thresher
- Shark, tiger
- Shark, white
- Snapper, cubera
- Snapper, gray
- Snapper, lane
- Snapper, mutton
- Snapper, red
- Snapper, schoolmaster
- Snapper, vermilion
- Snapper, yellowtail
- Spearfish, longbill
- Tilefish, blueline
- Triggerfish, grey
- Tuna, bigeye
- Tuna, blackfin
- Tuna, bluefin
- Tuna, skipjack
- Tuna, yellowfin
- Tunny, little
Adding New Eligible Records Species to the Program
- If a species is not listed above, it is not currently eligible for a state record.
- To suggest additional species to be considered for the records program, contact AnglerRecognition@MyFWC.com. Suggesting a species does not guarantee that it will be added; staff will review species suggestions on a case-by-case basis.
- When a new fish species is made eligible for the Florida Saltwater Fishing Records program by FWC, an effective date will be announced.
- Only fish caught on or after the effective date will be eligible for records.