New black bass fishing regulations that aim to protect larger trophy fish have been put into effect throughout Florida on Friday.
Each angler can catch only one largemouth bass that is 16 inches or longer with no minimum length limit per day. Suwannee, shoal, Choctaw and spotted bases now have a 12-inch minimum size limit, with only one that may be 16 inches or longer.
The three black bass fishing zones and 40 areas with special bass regulations have been eliminated, but the five-fish daily bag limit remains unchanged and still includes all species of black bass.
The new changes were developed from research about the fish population, as well as input given by anglers, according to a FWC news release.
“We are confident that these new regulations meet the desires of our bass anglers, ensuring that Florida lakes will continue to produce high quality fisheries,” said Tom Champeau, director of FWC’s Division of Freshwater Fisheries. “Florida’s reputation for trophy bass is one reason we are known as the Fishing Capital of the World and these new regulations will help provide our anglers with unforgettable fishing experiences.”
Florida contains five species of black bass: largemouth, Suwannee, shoal, Choctaw and spotted bass. Largemouth bass are the state freshwater fish and are found throughout Florida, while the other species are only found in rivers in the north central and northwest regions of the state.
The TrophyCatch program offers prizes for anglers who document and release largemouth bass weighing eight pounds or heavier.
More information about the new regulations are available on the FWC’s website.