I’ve been working downstairs this week, straightening up what’s going to be my new “writing” space. But digging it out has been an adventure. It’s astounding how much stuff accumulates, and you don’t really even realize the magnitude of the task till you start trying to sort and organize. Some of you probably know exactly what I mean.
But I’m making headway. In fact, I’ve moved the furniture and I’m about ready to paint the walls. In just a few minutes I’m off to the hardware, bound for the paint department to choose a suitable color.
What color should I choose? Many factors enter into that important decision, not the least of which is what will be the best background for a framed “Georgia Bass Slam” certificate.
What’s the Georgia Bass Slam?
Georgia’s Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division has introduced the Georgia Bass Slam “to recognize anglers with the knowledge and skill to catch different species of bass in a variety of habitats across the state, while also stimulating interest in the conservation and management of black bass and their habitats.”
How does the program work? It’s designed to recognize anglers in Georgia who, within a single calendar year, catch at least five of Georgia’s 10 different species of black bass (with “black bass” being the scientific catch-all category which includes the various species that bass fishermen know and love).
Didn’t know that there were so many bass species in Georgia? Neither did I. Eligible species include largemouth bass, spotted bass, smallmouth bass, shoal bass, Suwannee bass, redeye bass, Chattahoochee bass, Tallapoosa bass, Altamaha bass and Bartrams bass. Various species are found in locations all over the state, and I can tell you now that half the fun here is going to be tracking down and fishing waters that I have not fished before.
“Black bass are the most sought after species in North America, and for the Georgia Bass Slam we recognize ten different black bass,” says John Biagi, Chief of WRD Fisheries Management. “The Slam challenges anglers to explore new habitats and different techniques to go beyond the species they normally target.”
The Georgia Bass Slam rules are simple and straightforward. The fish must be legally caught on public water or on other water where you have permission to fish, and they must be of legal size if caught in waters where length restrictions apply. Where there are no minimum length limits, they have to be at least eight inches long.
To help you in your quest, Georgia DNR even provides an interactive map that not only helps you learn more about each bass species but also shows you the parts of the state where each of these bass species might be found. Check it out at georgiawildlife.com/fishing/angler-resources/GeorgiaBassSlam/SpeciesInformation.
After you catch each species, take several photos of the fish, including at least one photo of you with the fish plus one photo of the fish next to a measuring tape or on a measuring board, to confirm the species. Then simply email the photos to Georgia.BassSlam@dnr.ga.gov by midnight on Dec. 31. Be sure to include your name, fishing license number, length of the fish, weight if available and the name of the county and of the lake or stream where you caught it.
If you’re not sure of the species, you can still send it in and the experts at DNR will identify the fish from the photos and location info that you provide.
When you complete your Georgia Bass Slam, you will earn in addition to that personalized certificate for your wall two passes to the Go Fish Education Center and an assortment of stickers which will let you proclaim your achievement. You’ll also be recognized on the DNR website, at the Go Fish Education Center and elsewhere. You’ll be famous! In addition, all successful submissions for the calendar year will go into a drawing for an annual grand prize.
So that’s my new goal for 2017, kind of a second-quarter New Year’s Resolution if you will. I’m going to go out there and find those bass and earn that certificate. It sounds like fun and high adventure too.
Now off the hardware store for that paint so I’ll have a place to put that certificate.