ST. PETE BEACH, Fla. — Sure, there are plenty of fish stories out there about the one that got away. But this one is about the thousands that did not get away.
“I got 1,999 in Mexico,” angler Steve Wozniak (not the Apple co-cofounder) told ABC Action New sports anchor Kyle Burger.
Wozniak is on a worldwide quest to land the most species of fish.
“I got my 100th species in August of 1999,” he said. “I got my 1,000th in July of 2010.”
He’s fished in 94 countries, reeling in big ones, little ones, red ones, and blue ones. He started keeping track with a buddy back in 1998.
“We got a legal pad from the waitress and we both listed our species. I had more,” Wozniak recalls. “I had about 75 at the time and said this is kind of cool.”
According to FishBase, there are around 34,600 different species. On a recent fishing trip in Tampa Bay, Wozniak caught his record-breaking 2,000th species.
“We got the leopard sea robbin, which is good because my nephew had caught a leopard sea robbin and I hadn’t,” Wozniak said. “I’ve been angry about that for about seven years.”
The leopard sea robbin was found near Pass-a-Grille. But to reach 2,000, sometimes he has to go beyond the friendly Florida waters.
“Especially when you are getting after these oddball things there is all kinds of stupidity that is going on, whether it’s walking through a swamp, or sneaking into a hotel fountain, which has been done.”
Along the way, he’s also set 211 international game fish association world records.
“My rules are you have to have a photograph of fish in hand that it can be clearly identified from, then a photo with me and the fish, which are a lot of selfies,” he said.
Destinations on his list where he’d like to fish next include the central Amazon, Indian Ocean, northern New Zealand, and the South Pole.