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The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) High School Fishing Program congratulates Punta Gorda Middle School fishing team as the Grand Prize winners of the FWC’s High School Fishing Conservation Project Competition. The students completed five conservation projects including cleaning up multiple waterbodies in their local area and organizing a fishing clinic for their local elementary school.

All student anglers participating in the FWC’s 2021-22 High School Fishing Program were required to complete at least one conservation project to qualify for funding associated with the program. Prizing from FWC partners was offered for the conservation project winners as incentives for student anglers to complete multiple conservation initiatives throughout the year. FWC’s Conservation Project Competition awarded points per club participation in a variety of conservation-minded activities aimed to reduce the impacts of plastic pollution.

FWC’s High School Fishing program welcomed 24 new and 13 returning student angling clubs in Florida to the program in 2021, offering funding for clubs committed to complete the provided FWC curriculum, as well as pre- and post-tests, and at least one conservation project. Club mentors worked with their club to provide support and hands-on training in knot-tying and fishing gear assembly, as well as assistance with the clubs’ local events to increase student anglers’ confidence in the sport of fishing.

“We are extremely proud of the passion and dedication to conservation these student anglers have shown,” said Tom Graef, FWC’s director for the Division of Freshwater Fisheries Management. “Encouraging the next generation of anglers to take part in activities that help their communities and our Florida fisheries at the same time is a win for all involved.”

Information about the 2022-23 High School Fishing program will be announced in the summer of 2022. For more information about the High School Fishing Program, you can visit

Punta Gorda Middle School won the Grand Prize package of custom fishing rods from Mud Hole Custom Tackle, curated tackle packs and hats from Baitstick and assorted tackle from Pure Fishing. A. Crawford Mosley High School won the Second Place Prize, and Palatka Junior Senior High School won the Third Place Prize.

“Supporting youth education is so important to our mission at Mud Hole Custom Tackle,” said Anthony Youmans, Mud Hole’s Education Program Director. “We’re honored to contribute to the Grand Prize in this year’s competition and are always supportive of FWC’s efforts to lead conservation projects here in Florida, our home state.”

Mud Hole Custom Tackle, based in Oviedo, is the world’s largest supplier of rod building and tackle crafting goods and instruction. From rod building and repairing, to fly tying and lure building, Mud Hole is the leading e-retailer and mail order supplier to hobbyists, small manufacturers and large OEMs, worldwide. Offering a superior shopping experience, rapid fulfillment, stellar customer service, and world class online content and instruction, Mud Hole Custom Tackle is the trusted source for the rod building and tackle crafting community. 

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