Baseball fans know what a grand slam is. It’s hitting a home run with loaded bases, putting four runs on the board. A grand slam can turn the tide on a game and lead an underdog to an upset.
But that ain’t the only grand slam. It’s such a great term that it’s been adopted by a host of other pursuits, from golf to horse racing to chess. Actually, baseball pirated the phrase from card gaming, where it was use at least 200 years ago. So it shouldn’t be a shock that we anglers stole it to apply to fishing.
For us, a grand slam is a list of fish species caught in the same day. Here in Southwest Florida, most fishermen know the Charlotte Harbor grand slam is a snook, redfish, spotted seatrout and tarpon. Take the tarpon out and it’s just a Charlotte Harbor slam, no grand. Some choose to make it more challenging by specifying that all the fish be of legal size, even when they’re all being released.
In other places, grand slams are different. After all, you have to catch what’s available. An acquaintance of mine once told me about the Minnesota slam, which he said was a pike, a walleye and a brown trout. There’s probably an Amazon slam in South America (I’ll guess it’s a peacock bass, a pacu and a piranha).
A few years back the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission decided they could use grand slams to promote Florida fishing by rewarding folks who could catch and document a slam with admission into a Grand Slam Club. Recipients get a certificate and a T-shirt, plus of course bragging rights.
For some reason, the Charlotte Harbor slam isn’t officially recognized. But there are a bunch to choose from. Here’s the authoritative list:
• INSHORE GRAND SLAM: Redfish, spotted seatrout, flounder.
• FAMILY GRAND SLAM: Any three fish in the same family (for example, red snapper, mutton snapper, lane snapper).
• BLUEWATER GRAND SLAM: Mahi, sailfish, wahoo.
• FLORIDA GRAND SLAM: Permit, tarpon, bonefish.
• SHORELINE GRAND SLAM: Sheepshead, whiting, pompano.
• REEFS AND RUBBLE GRAND SLAM: Black sea bass, gag, gray triggerfish.
• NEARSHORE GRAND SLAM: Cobia, tripletail, king mackerel.
• BAY AND ESTUARY GRAND SLAM: Mangrove snapper, snook, Spanish mackerel.
• SMALL FRY SLAM (ages 15 and under): Pinfish, grunt, catfish.
Most of these are a little bit of a challenge in our little part of the state. If you want that inshore slam, the red and trout are not too tough — but a flounder can be hard to come by. The bay slam might be easier, but only when the mackerel are around. The easiest might be the family slam. Heck, I’ve caught three different snapper species on one drop using a triple-hook porgy rig. And remember, there’s nothing in the rules that says they have to be keepers.
If you’d like to participate in the Florida Grand Slam program, all the information is readily available online at http://bit.ly/2PZ5t8h. And if you think this is hokey, that’s fine too. My take on it is that if it gets people on the water and excited to go fishing, it’s a good thing.
Contact Capt. Josh Olive at 941-276-9657 or Publisher@WaterLineWeekly.com.