Just like any sport or leisure activity, fishing can become fiercely competitive. Unfortunately, it has its fair share of braggarts and grandstanders, complete with embellished stories and exaggerated sizes of the catch. Regardless of fabrications, there exists a trophy. And not just a plastic-molded, gold- or silver-plated trophy with the pillars outstretched to the heavens. To the contrary, many trophies exist in the form of officially kept records.
I never fish for recognition; I prefer the pure enjoyment of being a part of nature, putting the elements together, catching a fish and then releasing the fish back to its natural habitat.
For some, a picture is a trophy. But for others, a picture isn’t enough. For the serious anglers, records are kept by the International Game Fish Association. The IGFA’s records honor the outstanding accomplishment of catching a collection of different game fish species by one angler in a single day. These records are compiled, neatly organized and dedicated to anglers in the form of “slams.” Slams are broken into eight categories: inshore, offshore, billfish, shark, tuna, salmon, trout and bass slams.
From there, it’s off to the races, with about 60 or so sub-categories. Let’s take for instance the “Inshore Slam,” which consists of catching up to three different species from a list of inshore residents, including tarpon, snook, bonefish, permit, redfish, trout and flounder. Add a fourth species and you have a “Grand Slam.” Chasing records while chasing fish puts an official tag on angling.
I’m never in search of the record books—I fish for pure enjoyment, yet I’m always aware and ready for a slam. You can be ready, too, but always remember, the key to a good fishing experience is the enjoyment of being a part of nature and just having fun.
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