In most cases, having your name placed on a “Dirty 30” list might not seem like a positive development, but a citation program created by Chris Bush of The Speckled Truth honoring anglers who land 30-inch speckled trout is an exception.
The program, inspired by a Virginia angler-recognition program, began Oct. 1, 2017, covering coastal states from Virginia to Texas. In its first year, 59 entries were certified as meeting the benchmark. So far, the list for 2018-2019 comprises 17 entries.
Sponsors are jumping in to increase the program’s stature in its second year. Now, along with a “Dirty 30” sticker, anglers will receive a “box chock-full of tackle,” according to Bush, who estimates the value at $70 to $80.
Anglers, however, aren’t the only ones who stand to benefit from the program. Tangible data leads to better conservation, Bush said.
“You want to have a measurable baseline.” Bush said. “The more information, the better you can preserve the fisheries.”
The data already has provided some interesting insights, Bush said, such as the fact that 87 percent of 2018’s trophy trout were caught on or around a new or full moon. And while catches were spread out somewhat evenly throughout the seasons, anglers were more successful using artificials from March to October.
Bush said anglers can use the growing information from the program to their advantage. “You still have to find them, but you stack the odds in your favor.”
The “Dirty 30” program is free to enter, but photos must include a measuring device. For more information on the program go to thespeckledtruth.com.