The seventh annual Lionfish Challenge came to a close on Sept. 6, and the competition was stiff until the very end. Participants in this year’s tournament broke several records in their quest to earn the title of Lionfish King or Queen and Commercial Champion.
This year’s tournament boasted a total of 707 registered participants, the most in the program’s history. 196 divers conducted a total of 676 trips throughout the state during the 3-month tournament and brought in a whopping 25,299 lionfish. This is the highest tournament total since 2018. In the end, though, two participants prevailed. Here are the winners of the 2022 Lionfish Challenge:
Lionfish King (First place Recreational Division): Isaac Jones – 1,018 lionfish
Second place Recreational Division: Baye Beauford – 863 lionfish
Third place Recreational Division: Helen Rodney – 800 lionfish
Commercial Champion (First place Commercial Division): Paul DeCuir – 1,092 pounds of lionfish
Second place Commercial Division: Alex Fogg – 1,090 pounds of lionfish
Third place Commercial Division: Isidoro Bedoya – 1,008 pounds of lionfish
The 2022 Lionfish Challenge was sponsored by FloGrown, a Florida-based fishing and outdoor apparel company. FloGrown designed, printed and donated custom tournament T-shirts that were awarded to all participants who reached the first prize tier of the tournament.
The Lionfish Challenge is a summer-long tournament that rewards divers for their lionfish harvests. The tournament is open to everyone, is completely free to enter and participants can compete from anywhere in the state. Divers receive prizes based on the amount of lionfish they harvest and compete for the title of the Lionfish King/Queen or Commercial Champion.
Learn more about lionfish: MyFWC.com/Lionfish.
Keep up with our lionfish programs on our FWC Reef Rangers Facebook page: Facebook.com/FWCreefrangers.
For more information on FloGrown, visit: FloGrown.com.
For more of Florida fishing, tune to Reel Talk Radio Saturday mornings on ESPN SWFL.