Rules




Trophy Catch Rules

Overview

TrophyCatch is a citizen-science conservation rewards program for bass anglers that emphasizes live-release of largemouth bass weighing eight pounds and heavier. TrophyCatch bass submissions will be accepted year-round and require documentation for verification as explained below. For rewards and rule consistency, however, TrophyCatch is divided into seasons that begin on October 1st and end on September 30th the following year. For instance, Season 1 ran from October 1st, 2012, through September 30th, 2013. To earn rewards, all bass must be caught and submitted within the current season. However, anglers have until October 15th to submit a catch from the prior season. Therefore, announcements of the TrophyCatch champion for each season will not take place until the end of the calendar year.

Anglers must legally catch all fish entered into TrophyCatch, including possessing a proper freshwater license or exemption, in Florida waters using an active hook-and-line method (bush hooks, snatch hooks, set lines, trotlines are excluded as a method to take largemouth bass), and documented following guidelines below.

All bass submitted to TrophyCatch must be immediately released alive in the same water system where they were caught, and all participants must abide by State Regulations, including the length and bag possession limits.

To earn TrophyCatch rewards, and so the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) biologists can use the data in their research, the bass needs to be carefully documented as outlined below.

Submitted documentation will be reviewed by a team of biologists. If the fish’s weight is not clearly visible in the photo, the photo does not show the entire fish, or the submission is questionable in terms of the size of the fish, catch location, method of catch, or if the fish was released alive, the TrophyCatch team may verify or deny the entry based on their professional judgment.

The FWC reserves the right to modify these rules to ensure accurate weight information is collected for research and to ensure the live release of trophy bass back into the water system where they were caught. Decisions by FWC staff to approve or deny catches and/or program participation will be final based on the information submitted by the angler and the biologists’ expertise, experience with trophy-sized bass and fisheries evaluations, including, but not limited to photo analytics results.

 

Table of Contents

1. How to Document your Catch
    1.1. Angler Self-Documents Catch
    1.2. Tournaments
           1.2.1. Online Tournament Documentation
           1.2.2. Email Documentation
           1.2.3. Printed Weight Slip Documentation
    1.3. FWC Witness
2. Photo/Video Requirements
3. Scale Requirements
    3.1. Hand Scales
    3.2. Pan Scales
4. Terms for Participation
5. Awarding of Prizes
6. Inquiries and Submission Review

 

1. How to Document your catch

1.1. Angler Self-Documents Catch

    A. Anglers must submit at least one photograph/video displaying the entire fish from tail-to-scale, with no part of the fish cut out of the photo/video with the weight on the scale clearly legible. For catches to be considered for the TrophyCatch Lake Record program the GPS metadata must be included within the weight photo or video.

    B. Anglers are encouraged but not required to submit three or four additional photographs/videos of the fish: the whole fish on a measuring board with the length clearly visible, the girth, being released, and/or a brag photo of themselves with their catch. 

Weight, length and girth graphic.

 

1.2. Tournament Catches

    A. TrophyCatch defines a traditional tournament as a fishing event consisting of at least 6 registered anglers where fish are weighed on an official tournament scale (not weighed by an angler on a personal scale).

    B. Non-traditional tournaments should follow section 1.1 Angler Self Documents Catch to document their catch

         1.2.1. Online Tournament Verification

         • Provide a link to a specific tournament, sponsor, published newspaper, official club/tournament social media page or magazine article website with official tournament results. Tournament results must include your name, verified weight of the individual fish, along with the date and location of the tournament. Use the actual link to a publicly accessible website (no login required) that shows specific catch details.

Weigh-In Screenshot

 

         1.2.2. Email Documentation

         • Designated tournament directors may email official tournament results to TrophyCatch@MyFWC.com

         1.2.3. Printed Weigh Slip Documentation

         • Include a scan or photo of an official printed tournament weigh slip with the tournament information that includes your name, the verified weight of the individual fish, tournament date and location. 

Weigh Slip

 

 

1.3. FWC Witness

       • If an FWC employee, OPS or volunteer witnessed the catch being weighed, their first and last name may be provided to document your catch.

 

2. Photo/Video Requirements

    A. Anglers should submit high resolution photographs (good overall clarity, 3-megapixel camera or above recommended) that are clear enough to validate the submission.

    B. Anglers may upload a video snippet in MP4 format, up to 50 MB in size for one or more of the five photos. Suggested documentation includes beginning with a wide angle showing the entire fish (scanning the fish from the tip of the tail to scale) being properly held on the scale and then zooming in to ensure the weight can be read.

    C. Each digital weight photo must be an original unmodified photograph (no screenshots or photo of another photo).

    D. Supplemental photos/videos of the angler holding or releasing the bass, close-ups of the scale with at least half of the fish visible, images of the entire fish on a bump-board or tape-measure, and girth photos are encouraged to be submitted. However, the photo of the entire bass (including tagged bass) on the scale with the weight clearly visible is required. See TrophyCare page for proper techniques and tips.

 

3. Scale Requirements

    A. All scales must be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

    B. All scales must be properly tared in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.

    C. Any modification and/or manipulation of a scale that results in misrepresentation of a bass’ actual weight is grounds for denial of the submission and disinvitation to participate in TrophyCatch.

        3.1. Hand Scales

               A. Hand scales must be held by the designated handle without interfering with or touching the chain, shaft, or the fish while weighing.

               B. Visit TrophyCare for more information on how to use and interpret the weight on your scale.

        3.2. Pan Scales

               • When using a pan scale where a type of weighing bin (e.g., basket, tub, pan etc.) is used to hold the fish on the scale, the submitted photo must include the entire fish and the entire weighing bin clearly showing all sides and corners and the scale with the weight visible.

 

4. Program Terms for Participation 

To participate in TrophyCatch, the registered angler must have caught the submitted fish themselves, in accordance with the freshwater recreational fishing regulations of the State of Florida at the time of the catch. This includes, but is not limited to:

    A. The angler must be properly licensed or have a statutory exemption.

    B. The angler must use legal gear, meaning they must use an active hook-and-line method, which does not include bush hooks, trotlines, or bow, and follow length and bag limits of the waterbody.

    C. The angler must be fishing in fresh water or brackish waters within the state of Florida, where the angler has legal access.

    D. Each submission must be a unique catch and resubmission of a single catch is grounds for denial of the submission and disinvitation to participate in TrophyCatch.

    E. The angler must abide by all size, bag, season, and location-specific fishing regulations.

    F. Anglers who demonstrate a trend of submitting bass that fall outside of the established quality control guidelines may be required to provide additional documentation.

    G. Anglers must attest that they successfully live-released the bass in the water system where it was caught (after documenting it) and that it was able to swim off. Bass submitted to the program cannot be harvested or relocated.

    H. Bass must be handled in accordance with TrophyCare guidelines and live-released in order to qualify for TrophyCatch.

    I. Youth under 18 years of age are required to have their parent or guardian’s approval to participate.

    J. FWC employees including OPS are not eligible to win prizes other than picture and certificate level recognition.

    K. Submissions to TrophyCatch that are legally caught, but do not meet the program’s criteria will be considered for inclusion for the Big Catch program (BigCatchFlorida.com).

    L. To be recognized as an official TrophyCatch Waterbody Record, the catch must be approved as a TrophyCatch Club Winner. In order for catches to be considered for the TrophyCatch Waterbody Record program the GPS metadata must be included within the weight photo or video.

    M. Anglers should demonstrate respect for fellow anglers, TrophyCatch partners, FWC staff and the general public at all times.

    N. TrophyCatch reserves the right to limit prizing in the event of multiple submissions from an angler during the same season.

    O. Your submission to this program, including photos and other data provided to the TrophyCatch program , constitutes a release and license to TrophyCatch and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for use without compensation in perpetuity. Such use would typically include research, informational, and other public purposes, such as being posted on TrophyCatchFlorida.com, BigCatchFlorida.com, social media outlets, other third-party promotional use such as websites or publications, and in other related news releases, articles, brochures, advertisements, or reports.

    P. TrophyCatch participants are also eligible to participate in varying monthly promotions, which will be advertised each month on the TrophyCatch Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/TrophyCatchFlorida) and Instagram page (https://www.instagram.com/fishreelflorida/). The prizes for these promotions vary from the TrophyCatch general prizing, but TrophyCatch program rules must still be followed for participants to be eligible to receive the monthly promotion prizes. Monthly promotion rules and prizes may vary and the FWC and TrophyCatch reserves the right to modify monthly promotion rules and prizes. Monthly promotion rules will be listed with each promotion announcement. By participating in any Facebook promotions, the participant agrees that their participation constitutes a complete release of Facebook and that this promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. TrophyCatch and the FWC are not responsible for the actions, content, information, or data of persons submitting photos or other third parties, on Instagram or Facebook.

 

5. Awarding of Prizes

    A. Neither the FWC nor the State of Florida endorse any individual company, and each company is solely responsible for their products/services and fulfillment of any offers.

    B. Product prizes may require additional processing and delivery time.

    C. Winners of the Phoenix boat drawing will be selected from qualified entries. Odds of winning will depend on the number of eligible registrants and approved catches received.

    D. Participants are responsible for all applicable taxes on both cash and product prizes/awards.

    E. By entering into the drawing and/or by accepting any prizes, each entrant hereby releases and holds harmless the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, drawing sponsor(s), drawing prize provider(s), and any of their commissioners, directors, officers, employees, volunteers, agents and representatives from and against any and all liabilities, costs, expenses, claims, and damages for which the FWC, drawing sponsor(s), and/or drawing prize provider(s) might otherwise become liable by reason of any accidents, or injuries to or death of any persons, or damage to property, or both, in any manner arising or resulting from, caused by, connected with or related to entering the drawing and/or accepting any prizes, regardless of how, where, or when such injury, death or damage occurs even if caused by the negligence of the FWC, drawing sponsor(s), and/or drawing prize provider(s).

    F. State laws prohibit false claims or fraud when claiming prizes; moreover, a decision is at TrophyCatch Director’s discretion and is final , if the legality or size of the catch is in question. FWC reserves the right to deny prizing or further participation in the TrophyCatch program or any other FWC-affiliated program if FWC determines that a submission was submitted fraudulently. Fraudulent submissions may include, but are not limited to, submitting photos not belonging to the individual claiming them to be theirs, altering photos or documents, claiming fish was caught in an area where it was not, recording a false weight or length, and any other act of dishonesty or fraud meant to circumvent the rules of this program. Any person who is denied an entry or prize will be notified.

 

6. Inquiries and Submission Review

    A. All program related questions please call us at 1-855-FL-Trophy (1-855-358-7674)

    B. All prizing and program questions please email us at TrophyCatch@MyFWC.com

    C. For questions about Fishing Licenses or Regulations please contact Licensing and Permitting

    D. For State Record questions please contact the appropriate Regional Office.

    E. If an angler wants to request a review for a submission that falls under Rule 4.K., they must complete the TrophyCatch Submission Review Form and email it to TrophyCatch@MyFWC.com within 30 days or within the current season following the date of the automated email whichever comes first. Any Submission Review Form received after the 30-day deadline will be reviewed without affecting the outcome of the catch . An individual catch can only be reviewed once. An angler can only have one active review request at a time and may only request 3 submissions to be reviewed during a season.

    F. The submission review shall take place no later than 30 business days from the reciept date of the written form. The TrophyCatch Director will share the outcome of the review and possible recommendations.

 

 

Fish Handling Guidelines

For fish handling guidelines visit TrophyCare.

TrophyCare Logo

State Record Rules

There are 33 eligible species of freshwater fishes for which the FWC maintains records. Certified state record fish must:

  • Be legally caught using an active hook-and-line method by sport fishing methods
  • Be identified by a Commission biologist
  • Be weighed by a Commission employee on a certified scale with an up-to-date certification stamp
  • Be caught by an angler with a valid freshwater fishing license or exemption

Anglers may be required to submit to a lie-detector test prior to certification of a state record.

  • Uncertified state records are believed accurate based on reliable witnesses and other evidence but are not certifiable, or they were caught by other than legal sport fishing methods. To set a new record, you need to exceed the certified records; the uncertified records are provided just for information. If you catch such a fish, contact the appropriate regional office. These records are updated as soon as they are verified.

Please note the FWC does not maintain state records for all species, and does not maintain line-classes. The International Game Fish Association is an additional source for certifying records, including length records, although neither group automatically recognizes the other's records due to differences in certification requirements.