How to Qualify

Eligible Fish Species and Minimum Qualifying Lengths And Weights (Effective 1 July 2012)

To determine length of fish, measure from the tip of the snout to the back of the tail fin with the fin squeezed together and the mouth closed. To determine girth, measure around the widest part of the fish. A Big Catch Poster icon_PDF.gif (2 MB) with these minimum qualifying sizes is also available, with illustrations of each fish to help you identify them. 

 

Species Adult Weight Youth Weight Adult Length Youth Length
Largemouth Bass 8.00 lbs 6 lbs 24 inches 18 inches
Shoal Bass 2.00 lbs 1.50 lbs 16 inches 12 inches
Spotted Bass 2.00 lbs 1.50 lbs 16 inches 12 inches
Suwannee Bass 1.50 lbs 1.00 lbs 14 inches 11 inches
Blue Catfish 25 lbs 18.75 lbs 36 inches 27 inches
Brown Bullhead 2.00 lbs 1.50 lbs 16 inches 12 inches
Channel Catfish 12.00 lbs 9 lbs 25 inches 19 inches
Flathead Catfish 25 lbs 18.75 lbs 36 inches 27 inches
White Catfish 5.00 lbs 3.75 lbs 22 inches 16 inches
Yellow Bullhead 1.50 lbs 1.00 lbs 14 inches 10 inches
Striped Bass 12.00 lbs. 9.00 lbs 30 inches 22 inches
Sunshine Bass 5.00 lbs 3.50 lbs 20 inches 15 inches
White Bass 2.50 lbs. 1.75 lbs 15 inches 11 inches
Blue Tilapia 5.00 lbs. 3.75 inches 18 inches 13 inches
Butterfly Peacock Bass 4.00 lbs. 3.00 lbs 18 inches 13 inches
Common Carp 20 lbs. 15.00 lbs 30 inches 22 inches
Jaguar Guapote 1.50 lbs. 1.00 lbs 13 inches 10 inches
Mayan Cichlid 1.00 lb. 0.75 lbs 11 inches 8 inches
Black Crappie 2.00 lbs. 1.50 lbs 14 inches 10 inches
Bluegill 1.00 lb. 0.75 lbs 10 inches 8 inches
Flier 0.50 lbs. 0.40 lbs 8 inches 6 inches
Redbreast Sunfish 0.50 lbs. 0.40 lbs 9 inches 7 inches
Redear Sunfish 1.25 lbs. 1.00 lbs 11 inches 8 inches
Spotted Sunfish 0.50 lbs. 0.40 inches 7 inches 5 inches
Warmouth Sunfish 0.50 lbs 0.40 lbs 9 inches 7 inches
American Shad 3.00 lbs. 2.25 lbs 18 inches 13 inches
Bowfin or Mudfish 8.00 lbs. 6.00 lbs 28 inches 21 inches
Chain Pickerel 3.00 lbs. 2.25 lbs 22 inches 17 inches
Florida gar 4.00 lbs. 3.00 lbs 28 inches 21 inches
Longnose Gar 15.00 lbs. 11.00 lbs 40 inches 30 inches
Oscar 1.25 lbs. 0.75 lbs 11 inches 8 inches
Yellow Perch 0.75 lbs. 0.50 lbs 12 inches 9 inches
Spotted Gar 4 lbs. 3 lbs. 28" 21"

FW_FishRangeFinder.png  Not sure where to find the different species? Try FWC's Fish Range FinderExternal Website!

Big Catch And Angler Recognition Program

The Big Catch Angler Recognition Program rewards anglers who catch a memorable-sized fish. Qualifying anglers receive a colorful citation showing the type fish they caught and a window sticker to proudly display their prowess.

In addition, anglers who release their fish get special recognition. An angler catching five "Big" fish of the same species will be recognized as a "Specialist," fish of five different species qualifies as a "Master Angler," and 10 different species as an "Elite Angler." A special youth citation and pin is given to an angler under age 16 for catching a fish that is at least 75 percent of the qualifying size (see above for specific sizes).

Results  for Specialists, Masters and Elite Anglers will be published. To qualify, the fish must be legally caught and exceed the minimum length or weight specified above. The catch must be documented by photograph and a BIG CATCH form completed.

NOTE: To certify a state-record fish, it must be legally caught and inspected by a FWC biologist and weighed on a certified scale. If you believe you have caught a record fish, keep it alive or place it in ice water. Do not freeze the fish because it will lose weight when thawed. As soon as possible, call the nearest FWC office to arrange to have a fisheries biologist meet with you.