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High School Fishing Program

What We Do!

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) developed the High School Fishing Program for students who are interested in learning how to become effective, conservation minded anglers. The goal is to teach students about ethical angling, conservation, Florida's aquatic habitats, basic fishing gear, and general fishing concepts to help create confident and responsible anglers. FWC works with each school, providing them with the curriculum, knowledge, and funding opportunities to run a successful fishing club. Each school will learn the curriculum, plan fishing activities, and conduct a conservation project by the end of the school year. Let's Go Fishing!

How to Get Started

Contact us at R3Fishing@MyFWC.com or 850-617-6012 to let us know you are interested in participating. The best time to get involved is early in the school year. Your school will need a program sponsor such as a teacher, coach or parent who will oversee the High School Fishing Program, usually as an extracurricular club or a team. The sponsor is responsible for setting up club meetings and fishing opportunities, submitting student documents to the FWC, teaching the core curriculum, helping the club work on their conservation project, and submitting the Florida's R3 Grant Application. Grant funding is not required to participate in the program.

Reach out to us! the FWC has many resources available to help you make your High School Fishing Program a great success.

Deadlines:

  • Grant Applications: January 15, 2021 
  • Registration & Pre-Surveys: February 5, 2021
  • Tournament: March 12 - April 30, 2021
  • Conservation Projects: Extended to May 21, 2021
  • Post-Surveys: Extended to May 21, 2021

Need Equipment? Check Out These Grant Opportunities!

The Florida’s R3 Fishing Grant Program is supported with funds from the federal Sport Fish Restoration Program, the FWC Division of Marine Fisheries Management, and the FWC Division of Freshwater Fisheries Management for the implementation of high school fishing programs throughout the state of Florida.

Sumit the Application to R3Fishing@MyFWC.com

The deadline for receiving applications is 5:00 p.m., January 15th, 2021. Applications received after the deadline will be ineligible for consideration. Deadline might be affected by COVID-19, updates coming soon.

If your fishing club is interested in obtaining rods and reels, the Fish Florida Fishing Equipment Program can help you get started.

Fish Florida is a non-profit organization that provides support to groups teaching people, especially children, about Florida fish, aquatic habitats and resource stewardship. The education is accomplished with displays, classes, seminars, presentations, clinics and other means designed to teach and promote responsible angling.

Program Outline

By participating in the High School Fishing Program, FWC provides school fishing clubs with the core curriculum, grant funding, and educational publications such as fishing lines, current fresh and saltwater rules and regulations, and our fishing clinic manual.

Core Curriculum Lessons

Fisheries Conservation Lessons

  • Lesson 1: Sport Fish Restoration
  • Lesson 2: Ethical Angling
  • Lesson 3: Fish Handling and Release
  • Lesson 4: Fishing Regulations
  • Lesson 5: Monofilament Recycling

Fish Habitat Lessons

  • Lesson 6: Florida’s Fisheries Habitats
  • Lesson 7: Tides, Currents and Habitats

Fishing Equipment Lessons

  • Lesson 8: Knot Tying
  • Lesson 9: Bait and Tackle
  • Lesson 10: Fishing Gear and Maintenance

Additional Lessons

  • Cast Netting
  • Filleting a Fish
  • Hooked a Pelican?
  • Fish Morphology and Dissection
  • Fishing Line Visibility
  • Make Your Own Lure
  • Different Fishing Techniques
A collage of three photos, each of a student holding an Engel backpack cooler.

To participate in the FWC High School Fishing Program, your club is required to complete at least one conservation project activity each school year. The FWC has partnered with Pure Fishing to support our campaign by focusing the required conservation project activity on reducing single-use plastics. This format awards points per club participation in a pre-determined list of activities. The clubs will be competing in a three-tier prizing structure with a Grand Prize, Second Place Prize and Third Place Prize. The club with the highest number of activity points by April 23rd, 2021 will receive the Grand Prize, with the runner-ups receiving the Second and Third Place Prizes, awarded by Pure Fishing, Berkeley, and Abu Garcia.

Approved Activities

  • Lead the creation of a school-wide recycling program, if not already in place: 100 points
  • Lead a school-wide campaign to reduce single-use plastic products (such as straws): 100 points
    • The club will receive points for meeting with their school administration to present their ideas and explore options for reducing single-use plastics. The school administration will sign a form (available by request from the FWC) indicating that the meeting was held. Points will be awarded on effort and not on implementation of the campaign.
  • Club creates and completes their own conservation project related to reducing single-use plastics. 90 points
  • Organize and host a Kids’ Fishing Clinic (FWC can provide a protocol and guidance): 90 points per event
  • Organize and host a Waterway/Beach Clean-up: 80 points per clean-up
  • Encourage school sports teams to commit to using reusable bottles instead of single-use plastic sports drinks or water bottles. Have the teams sign an “anti-single-use plastic agreement” and send the FWC photos of them using their reusable bottles: 70 points
  • Volunteering to maintain a local Monofilament Recovery and Recycling (MRRP) bin60 points per bin
  • Conduct a school screening of the movie Junk Raft; https://www.junkraft.org/videos: 40 points for hosting
  • Participate in Waterway/Beach Clean-ups: 5 points per school participant (can include non-anglers and parents/chaperones)
    • Ideas: CCA Trash Tour Stops, International Coastal Cleanup events, and/or local county clean-up events.
  • Sign the FWC and ASA’s Pitch It Pledge and/or “share your story” (https://www.pledgetopitchit.org/): 15 points
  • Taking a personal pledge to reduce use of single-use plastics and encouraging friends to take the pledge, as well: 10 points
  • Promote clean-ups within the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, Florida state parks, refuge areas, and other county, state, and federal areas: 5 points per promotion (send proof of promotion with this form)
  • Promoting your fishing club and its events on social media: 5 points per monthly promotion(s) (send proof of promotion, such as a screenshot of the social media post, with this form)
  • Building personal Monofilament Recovery and Recycling Program bins and providing them to school fishing club members5 points per bin per student
  • Building personal Monofilament Recovery and Recycling Program bins and providing them to local fishing clubs5 points per distributed bin

Tournament Overview

Dates: March 12 – April 30, 2021

As part of your school’s FWC High School Fishing Conservation Project, you can earn points and the chance to win prizes by participating in our first ever virtual fishing tournament! The top three schools in the tournament will receive points towards your club’s conservation project point total at the end of the year. Submit your catches on the iAngler Tournament app as you get out on the water to get in on the action.

  • 1st place overall school in tournament: 200 points
  • 2nd place overall school in tournament: 150 points
  • 3rd place overall school in tournament: 100 points

How to Earn Tournament Points

  • Each submission will receive 1 point
  • The club with the largest catch of each species will receive an additional 10 points for that catch
  • The club with the most diverse catch (most unique fish species caught) will receive 25 additional points

How to Get Started

  1. Have each participating student create a profile/account with iAngler Tournament. *make sure to enable camera access and location services
  2. Find the tournament by typing in the tournament name, FWC High School Fishing Tournament 2021, into the search bar.
  3. Register by clicking the "Register as Individual" button under the map on the right hand side of the page. *only students may participate
  4. Each student will be prompted to input a coupon code, this will change the price of the tournament from $1 to free. You can find the coupon code in the tournament email sent to all participating school coaches.
  5. Once the student has filled out the registration information, including school name, a tournament director will assign you to the correct school team.
  6. Go fishing and log your catch!

How to Log a Catch

  1. Click on the "Log Catch" button under the map on the right hand side of the page.
  2. Select your "Angler Name".
  3. Click the "My Current Location" to fill out the latitude and longitude.
  4. Select the "Target Species" of your catch.
  5. Add a photo: all photo must include a photo of the full length of the fish over a measuring device and the tournament identifier #HSF21.
  6. Add the length of your catch, weight is optional.
  7. Submit your catch and watch your teams points stack up!

Tournament Rules

  • All submitted fish must have been caught by the angler/club applying for recognition.
  • All submitted fish must include the tournament identifier #HSF21; this can be written on a piece of paper, sticky note, or the angler’s hand. This identifier must be visible in the submission photo for the catch to qualify.
  • All submissions must include the length of the fish; weight is optional.
  • All submissions must include a photo of the full length of the fish over a measuring device that clearly and accurately displays the length of the fish.
  • Fish may be either caught and released or legally harvested.
  • All harvest of fish must comply with current fishing regulations.
  • An undersized or out-of-season fish may qualify, as long as they are promptly and safely released and not harvested (as evidenced by submitted photos).
  • All submitted fish must be caught between the tournament start and end dates. Fish caught before the start date will not be accepted.
  • Fish must be caught in Florida state waters, in federal waters extending directly outward of Florida state line boundaries or landed in Florida.
  • Your submissions to this program, including photos and other data provided to the FWC High School Fishing Tournament, constitute a release for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to use them without compensation or further notice for research, information and other public purposes, such as being posted on the FWC website or being used in FWC publications and promotional materials. When photographs are required, the proper fish handling techniques and photo rules below apply.

Your club is encouraged to seek sponsors. A great place to start is local bait and tackle shops and other local businesses, such as restaurants and sporting goods stores. Request to speak with a manager or business owner to discuss financial or product-based sponsorship opportunities. Sponsors are a great resource in helping your club expand, as they can help provide various resources such as funding, bait for fishing trips, additional equipment, or venues to host events.

  • Student Angler Federation (SAF) provides assistance in helping coordinate potential partnerships. Learn more at highschoolfishing.org.
  • Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) can assist your club in providing insurance for club participants. FLW can also help your club set-up individual events and tournaments. Learn more at flwfishing.com or (270) 252-1000.
  • iAngler Tournament can assist you by logging all your club activities and setting up unique club touraments to help your club’s progression throughout the program. Learn more at ianglertournament.com.

Seek out local guides, the Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) chapter members, the Future Fisherman Foundation, and West Marine staff for advice on fishing in your location.  Guides and experienced anglers are an invaluable source of information! Ask them where to fish (and why that location is a hot spot), and for advice on effective bait and tackle, as well as types of successful fishing techniques for your area. If you are searching for volunteers, reach out to local fishing clubs and youth organizations to request assistance.

  • Coastal Conservation Association of Florida: CCAFlorida.org; info@ccaflorida.org; (407) 854-7002
  • West Marine: Once contacted, West Marine will provide you with a direct contact to a High School Fishing program representative from a store near you. West Marine staff presence at your events can also be requested through your local program representative.westmarine.com; wmCustomerService@westmarine.com; (800) 262-8464

Angler Recognition Programs

Trophy catch

TrophyCatch transforms and activates the angling community into becoming “Champions of Conservation” by having anglers photo-document and submit pictures of their largemouth bass catches that weigh eight pounds or heavier to TrophyCatch. This catch-and-release program rewards anglers for their catches by placing them into a prizing category based on the weight of the fish.

The benefits of participating in TrophyCatch include collecting valid citizen-science information about trophy bass to help the FWC better enhance, conserve and promote trophy bass fishing.

Angler recognition logo

 

 

Catch a Florida Memory (CAFM) includes three saltwater angler recognition programs that allow participants to earn prizes, recognition and bragging rights all while supporting marine fisheries conservation. Benefits of participating include encouraging anglers to target a diversity of species which helps reduce fishing pressure on the most sought-after catches, expanding fishing experiences for seasoned anglers, cultivating an interest in saltwater fishing for those new to the sport, and strengthening marine fisheries conservation ethics. 

Frequently Asked Questions

No, only schools may apply for this grant.

The grant is for $500 per school club/team to purchase fishing supplies.

Absolutely, each fishing club/team may apply for the Florida's R3 Fishing Grant and participate in the program in consecutive years.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission does not provide insurance to participating schools. Clubs/teams should follow their school’s policies and procedures. Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) can provide insurance through their membership program. Visit https://www.flwfishing.com/ and click on “Members” to learn more.

Contact

For more information about the program you can contact:

Brandon Stys
Statewide Fishing R3 Coordinator
850-617-6012
R3Fishing@MyFWC.com