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School Fishing Club Program

What We Do!

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) developed the School Fishing Club 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, or fill out the Online Application, 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 School Fishing Club 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 School Fishing Club Program a great success.

Deadlines for 2022-2023:

  • Grant Applications: September 16, 2022
  • Student Pre-Surveys: October 7, 2022
  • Conservation Projects: April 7, 2023
  • Student Post-Surveys: April 14, 2023

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 school fishing programs throughout the state of Florida.

Submit the Application to R3Fishing@MyFWC.com or complete the Online Grant Application.

The deadline for receiving applications is 5:00 p.m., September 16th, 2022. Applications received after the deadline will be ineligible for consideration.

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 School Fishing Club 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 School Fishing Club Program, your club is required to complete at least one conservation project activity each school year. The FWC Conservation Project format awards points per club participation in a pre-determined list of activities (below). 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 the end of the school year will receive the Grand Prize, with the runner-up and third place club receiving the Second Place Prize, and Third Place Prize. Check out the past winners and their projects!

The clubs’ coach will send their report of completed activities to R3Fishing@myfwc.com and the points will be approved and tallied to determine a winner. See important deadlines for the conservation projects at the top of the page. All schools MUST submit their pre- and post-surveys to be eligible for the competition. 

Approved Activities

Reduce Single-Use Plastics

  • 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.
  • Encourage school sports teams to commit to using reusable bottles instead of single-use plastic sports drink 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
  • Club creates and completes their own project related to reducing single-use plastics: (Must be another project not listed) 90 points

Waterway/Beach Clean-Up

  • Organize and host a community Waterway/Beach Clean-up (you can still earn 5 points per student for club member participation): 80 points per clean-up
  • 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.

Conservation Pledge

  • Sign the FWC and ASA’s Pitch It Pledge and/or “share your story” (https://www.pledgetopitchit.org/): 1 point per pledge, max of 100 points (non-club members can participate)
  • Taking a personal pledge to reduce use of single-use plastics and encouraging friends to take the pledge, as well: 1 point per pledge, max of 100 points (non-club members can participate)

Social Media

  • 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)

Monofilament Recycling

  • Volunteering to maintain a local Monofilament Recovery and Recycling (MRRP) bin: 90 points per bin
  • Building personal Monofilament Recovery and Recycling Program bins and providing them to school fishing club members, local fishing clubs, or public fishing areas: 5 points per bin

Additional Activities

  • Submit at least 5 photos of your club activities: student catches, clean-up, meetings, etc.: 25 points
  • Organize and host a Kids’ Fishing Clinic (FWC can provide a protocol and guidance): 90 points per event
  • Conduct a school screening of the movie Junk Raft; https://www.junkraft.org/videos: 40 points for hosting plus 1 point per student attendee (must send proof of attendance; sign-in sheet)
  • Club creates and completes their own project related to preserving the health and quality of aquatic habitats: (Must be another project not listed) 50 points

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 School Fishing Club 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

Have FWC Visit Your Classroom

To have the FWC visit your school's fishing club, please enter your request into the Ask FWC system.

Our Partners

FWC's School Fishing Club Program partners with organizations in the fishing industry to support our conservation project, focusing on reducing single-use plastics.

Our partners donate cool prizing to the program, which are given out to the top three schools, who compete in the conservation project, at the end of the year.

Thank you to all of our partners!

Note: 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. State laws prohibit false claims or fraud when claiming prizes.

Collage of fishing industry partner logos

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 brick-and-mortar schools may apply for this grant.

No, virtual or home schools are not eligible for the grant or program prizing; however, FWC can still send you hard copies of the curriculum and educational materials if you complete the program application before the deadline. FWC can still send you electronic copies of the curriculum and educational materials if you contact us at any other time. 

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

Absolutely, each school 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 Major League Fishing 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