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 15, 2023
- Student Pre-Surveys: December 1, 2023
- Conservation Project Outline: December 1, 2023
- Conservation Projects: April 5, 2024
- Student Post-Surveys: April 12, 2024
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.
The deadline for receiving applications is 5:00 p.m., September 15th, 2023. Applications received after the deadline will be ineligible for consideration.
Submitting a grant application does not guarantee your club will receive the $500. Your school fishing club may still participate in the program even if your application is not accepted.
Applications determined to be eligible will be reviewed by an Evaluation Committee for merit and to ensure the proposed projects meet the needs of Florida’s R3 Fishing Grant Program. The Evaluation Committee will score all proposed projects using the Evaluation Criteria outlined in the Notice of Grant Funding. The scores assigned by individual evaluators will be used to calculate the average score, which will serve as the final score for the project.
Complete applications that meet the minimum required score will be ranked on a list in descending order according to total assigned points. Grants will be awarded to the highest-ranking applications until all available funds have been awarded. All selected applicants will be required to submit at least five student angler pre-surveys and a conservation project outline in order to receive funding. Program funding will be sent directly to the selected schools via check by December 1st or when the requirements for funding have been met.
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.
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
- Cast Netting
- Filleting a Fish
- Hooked a Pelican?
- Fish Morphology and Dissection
- Fishing Line Visibility
- Make Your Own Lure
- Different Fishing Techniques
The FWC Conservation Project awards points for club participation in a pre-determined list of aquatic conservation centered activities seen below. The clubs will compete in a three-tier prize structure with a Grand Prize, Second Place Prize, and Third Place Prize. The club with the highest number of activity points by the due date 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’ sponsor must send their report of completed projects and activities to FWC’s R3 Coordinator, Brandon Stys, via email (R3Fishing@myfwc.com) or fill out the Online Form by the due date to be eligible for competition prizing. The points will be approved and tallied by an evaluation team to determine a winner. All schools MUST submit their pre- and post-surveys to be eligible for the competition. Should there be a tie, a tie-breaker challenge will be issued for the two competing clubs to complete to determine their placement in the prizing tiers.
*Prizing will be awarded to each winning school, for a maximum of 20 participants.
- Organize and host a community aquatic clean-up day (you will be expected to advertise in your community for participation outside your club members): 80 points per clean-up; 1 point per participant, maximum of 100 points, may include non-club members, (must send proof of advertising and attendance; sign-in sheet).
- Participate in a local waterway or beach clean-up (such as CCA Trash Tour Stops, International Coastal Cleanup events, local clean-up events, or your school fishing club outing): 5 points per student angler, maximum of 100 points.
- Build a Monofilament Recovery and Recycling Program bin and volunteer to maintain it, visiting the site at least once every two weeks. Visit http://mrrp.myfwc.com/ for more info. All recycled monofilaments should be mailed into Pure Fishing, for more information contact Blume@purefishing.com: 50 points per bin built and maintained, maximum of 3 bins.
Kids' Fishing Clinic
- Organize and host a Kids’ Fishing Clinic (you will be expected to advertise in your community for participation outside your club members; FWC can provide a protocol and guidance): 100 points per event.
- Club creates and completes their own project related to reducing single-use plastics (Must be another project not listed): 90 points.
- 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.
- Club Photos: Submit at least 5 photos of your club activities: tournaments, clean-up, meetings, etc.: 25 points.
- Junk Raft: Conduct a school screening of the movie Junk Raft; https://www.junkraft.org/videos: 40 points for hosting plus 1 point per student attendee; max of 65 points (must send proof of attendance; sign-in sheet)
- Social Media: Promote your fishing club and its events, using the hashtag #FWCSFC, or local clean-up efforts hosted by conversation organizations on social media (such as the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, Florida state parks, refuge areas, and other county, state, and federal areas): 5 points per promotion; maximum of 50 points (send proof of promotion, such as a screenshot of the social media post, with this form)
- Conservation Pledge: Sign the FWC and ASA’s Pitch It Pledge (https://www.pledgetopitchit.org/ and pages 41-42 of this manual): 1 point per pledge, max of 25 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; email@example.com; (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
- Junk Raft
- FWC Saltwater Fishing YouTube Channel
- Saltwater Fish How-To Playlist
- Saltwater Fishing Training Series
- Lionfish Playlist
- Artificial Reefs Playlist
- Descending Devices Playlist
- Events Playlist
- Workshops Playlist
- Q&A Video
- 30-Second Fishing Video
- Angler Recognition Playlist
- Other Marine Fisheries Videos Playlist
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.
Angler Recognition Programs
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.
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.