FWC Looking for Feedback on New 16" Largemouth Bass Rule

Please consider taking the survey and be sure read the background information before jumping to conclusions about whether or not this is a good idea.

From Tom Champeau, Director of the FWC Division of Freshwater Fisheries Management:

Here is your chance to provide input about potential Florida bass management ideas. You are receiving this because you are signed up to receive updates on potential freshwater fisheries rule changes. We encourage you to read the additional information about the draft proposal and to complete a new survey.

The change being considered is a five-bass daily bag limit, only one of which may be 16 inches c. This means that each person would be allowed to keep up to five largemouth bass less than 16 inches, or four largemouth bass less than 16 inches and one largemouth bass 16 inches or longer each day.

This change would replace current length limits, but would not alter the current statewide bag limit of five bass.

Limited exceptions for specific fisheries that have special needs or opportunities would still be possible, such as high-profile, catch-and-release fisheries that need such a management approach, or even a few more liberal regulations where bass may be overabundant. Those would be limited exceptions and generally associated with fish management areas.

In addition, it is important to note that there is no intent to alter the simple Bass Tournament Exemption Permit process.

Currently, bass organizations holding tournaments may apply online for a temporary exemption to bass size limits. This is done to ensure the health of Florida freshwater resources while encouraging fishing participation from small clubs to major tournaments. Tournament organizers and sponsors must emphasize proper handling and care of bass to their participants and adhere to live-release guidelines stipulated in the permit. Moreover, in return for the temporary exemption to allow weigh-in prior to live-release of the bass, all tournament participants must forego any harvest. Hence, they are not allowed to keep what would otherwise be their five-fish bag limit. Any fish that accidentally die in a permitted tournament must be donated to charity or for research. Tournaments are not required to have a permit if they choose to abide by existing regulations (e.g., currently one bass 22 inches in total length or longer, or the proposed one bass 16 inches in total length or longer).

To learn more about largemouth bass, current and possible regulation changes, results of the last survey, and to take the new survey, go to MyFWC.com/fishing.

Besides filling out the survey, those interested in ensuring quality bass fishing can do two other things: Sign up for our TrophyCatch citizen-science program that rewards anglers for catching, documenting and releasing bass heavier than 8 pounds (see TrophyCatchFlorida.com), and purchase a “Go Fishing” largemouth bass tag for your vehicle or trailer (see http://bit.ly/FLbass-tag).

Thank you for continuing to provide input to enhance the future of bass fishing in Florida for today's anglers and generations to come.

Sincerely,

Tom Champeau, Director
Division of Freshwater Fisheries Management