Reeling in records: New saltwater state records set by Catch a Florida Memory anglers 

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

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For immediate release: April 4, 2024
Media contact: Emily Abellera,

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Reeling in records: New saltwater state records set by Catch a Florida Memory anglers 

Two Catch a Florida Memory anglers have had a record-setting spring, reeling in three new Saltwater State Records this year so far! In January 2024, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) Division of Marine Fisheries Management launched three new Saltwater State Records Categories; Adult and Youth Length categories for catch and release records and a Youth All-tackle Weight category. The opportunity to set a Saltwater State Record is open to all anglers fishing in Florida but it’s no surprise that anglers from FWC’s Catch a Florida Memory program have taken the lead in being the first to achieve these prestigious recognitions.

julia with snapper and cobia

Julia Bernstein – Youth All-Tackle Weight – Cobia and Mangrove (Gray) Snapper  

Julia Bernstein was ready for action in January when she set out to catch her latest records and her day started with a bang! 

“‘Are those all cobia?’ I couldn’t believe it, as we pulled up to the wreck, there was a dark cloud on the surface of the ocean. Sure enough, it was a large school of hungry cobia, and they were ready to eat!” Bernstein quickly hooked up to two smaller fish but in her words, “Third time was the charm, it was an even larger cobia! We had a great afternoon, we caught six fish from that school, one of which became the Florida [Youth] State Record and one of which is a pending IGFA Junior Record.”

To finish the exciting day, they made one last stop. Bernstein quickly dropped her line in the water and hooked up shortly after reaching the bottom.

“I worked hard to get it off the bottom and then reeled as fast as I could. Good thing I did, turned out to be a state record mangrove snapper!”

Bernstein credits her captain, Dale Bittner out of Key West, for her success, expressing deep gratitude for the lessons he has shared over the years and his skill in locating the fish that day. Bernstein logged a 20-pound, 15-ounce cobia and 1-pound, 8-ounce mangrove (gray) snapper to land her two new state records. 

ingold with red drum

Joseph Ingold – Adult Length – Red Drum

Not to be outdone, fellow Catch a Florida Memory angler Joseph Ingold found his luck while kayaking in Panama City in February. While the windy day started off slow, an exploratory cast in a new location during transit really paid off.

“About halfway down I hadn’t gotten a single hit, so I cast my paddle tail and let it sink to the bottom while I grabbed a new lure to tie on. Once I got my new lure ready, I started to reel in my paddle tail to switch it out. About five seconds after I started to reel it back in, the redfish hit.” Ingold thought he had snagged the bottom initially, but then it began to run, pulling his kayak around for a bit.

Once he saw the fish the real work began, “I got super excited and loosened up my drag at that point, I really didn’t want to break her off since I was only using 10-pound test. When I landed the fish, I honestly didn’t even think about submitting it for the new length record. I actively participate in the Catch a Florida Memory programs so I just took pictures for myself and for the Reel Big Fish program. After I submitted for a Reel Big Fish, I was curious if anyone had submitted for the new length record and, to my surprise, it was still vacant. So, I took all the pictures I had and put in my application.” After a strong release, his 36.25-inch red drum has earned him the new state length record. 

Both new record holders will receive certificates and letters of recognition from the Director of Marine Fisheries Management, along with custom metal sculptures of their record species supplied by The Metal Edge. The Metal Edge came onboard as a Catch a Florida Memory Premier Partner in 2023 and has been an enthusiastic supporter of the new records categories, ensuring successful anglers receive special pieces reflecting their achievements.

There are plenty of vacancies left. Visit to see open categories and applicable rules. To qualify for a record, a completed application form must be submitted with the angler’s signature and a notary stamp. Applications must be accompanied by digital or print photographs clearly showing the gear used to make the catch, the angler with their catch, various views of the fish for identification purposes, and required weight or length verification photos. Videos will be accepted for Youth and Adult Length record categories. Both Youth and Adult applications must be submitted within three months of the catch date. As always, we strongly encourage practicing best fish handling, especially for the Length category submissions, using wet hands and keeping fingers out of the eyes and gills. We also encourage Length category submissions to be kept in the water during measuring or to wet the length measuring device. Visit or for more best handling guidelines for bonefish. You can also check out our promo video for information on the new record categories and best fishing practices. 

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