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The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved extensive changes to restructure bass rules and guidelines as well as increase the effectiveness.

Operational on July 1, 2016, the new black bass conservation measures is authorized. On that date, freshwater anglers will be allowed to keep smaller largemouth bass. The perimeter of the bass’s length and many other specific rules for several different bodies of water will be reduced. “The intent is to simplify existing rules and increase abundance of larger bass statewide,” said Tom Champeau, director of the Division of Freshwater Fisheries Management.

Black bass are one of the most popular freshwater fish in Florida; they celebrated for its “trophy” potential.  These fisheries have developed as scientists learn more and more about their preferred environment, populations, and the impacts the bass take on from anglers. The scientists also experimented with the failures and successes of bass regulations which calculated their results to accommodating angler behaviors, approaches and choices.

After July 1, anglers will still be able to keep up to five black bass of any size, however only one bass 16 inches or longer in total length maybe be kept by each angler per day. “Anglers are practicing voluntary catch-and-release at record levels. While reduced harvest of large bass is beneficial, allowing more bass under 16 inches to be kept may improve some fisheries by reducing competition so other individuals grow faster and larger.”

Meanwhile, the FWC’s TrophyCatch program continues to reward anglers for registering, documenting and releasing bass heavier than 8 pounds. This incentive-driven, citizen-science initiative further ensures recycling of the trophy bass that anglers from all over the world come to Florida hoping to catch.”

The FWC will still be closely monitoring the results but hope the more simple rules will make it easier for anglers in the future! 

Here on the South Florida Waterfront, you can enjoy the excitement on not only saltwater fishing but also freshwater fishing!

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