The Fishing Slam

By Andy Whitcomb

Feb 28, 2023

Some anglers enjoy the challenge of catching multiple fish species. Here are some options for achieving a fishing slam.

Anglers go fishing for a variety of reasons. Some enjoy the solitude and relaxation while others look for camaraderie and perhaps a friendly fishing competition. One potential fishing tournament involves trying to achieve a “fishing slam.”

A “slam” is the achievement of catching multiple fish species of a particular compilation within a period. The International Game Fish Association recognizes a variety of slams achieved during one day. However a “Royal Slam,” of these salmon species: Atlantic, Chinook, sockeye, chum, pink, and Coho is achieved over a lifetime.

The origin of the word “fishing slam” might be from the “slam dunk” basketball. It could also be a baseball reference because although three usually is a “slam,” four species is often recognized as a “grand slam.” Five species, however, according to IGFA is a “fantasy slam.”

Types of Fishing Slams


Some slams are anatomical, such as with a billfish slam; others, can be location-based. Saltwater anglers in some areas may compete in a big game fishing tournament and chase an inshore saltwater slam consisting of a permit, bonefish, and a tarpon. Along the east coast however, another recognized saltwater grand slam may be considered a striped bass, bluefish, false albacore, and a bonito. An offshore slam in Hawaii is a billfish, mahi-mahi, wahoo, and a tuna species whereas in Florida, the billfish is a sailfish and there may be no tuna required.

There are freshwater based slams too such as a trout grand slam in Colorado of rainbow, cutthroat, brown, and brook trout if interested in a that type of a trout fishing tournament. Sometimes this needs to occur on the same water; sometimes, it counts as long as all four are caught on the same day. Bass anglers sometimes shoot for a bass fishing tournament slam too but this varies greatly by state. Usually, this is just the largemouth, smallmouth, and spotted bass. However, recognition of a “Georgia Bass Slam” requires catching all ten recognized black bass species.


How to Get Involved


Some anglers simply go fishing and, at the end of the day, try to determine if they achieved enough different species to complete a unique enough grouping for recognition in at least some fishing circles. Actually setting out for a slam by consciously targeting multiple fish species can be challenging. It often involves different presentations, lures, relocating, and quite a bit of luck. Plus, when you’ve started catching one species, switching target tactics requires discipline and dedication because you may be forced to break the old rule that “you don’t leave fish to find fish.”

Slams can be a good way to test your skills and expand as an angler, as you practice dialing into patterns of multiple fish species in a day. It also helps one appreciate the differences in behavior, colors, and features of each species. If that’s what it takes to get you and your friends on the water, why not see if you can create your own multi-species fishing “party theme?” Make the most of whatever fishing opportunities you have. Perhaps there is an “Urban, Micro Rod, Marshmallow Bait Fishing Slam” family fishing tournament challenge waiting for you!

Andy Whitcomb
Andy Whitcomb
Andy is an outdoor writer ( and stressed-out Dad has contributed over 380 blogs to since 2011. Born in Florida, but raised on banks of Oklahoma farm ponds, he now chases pike, smallmouth bass, and steelhead in Pennsylvania. After earning a B.S. in Zoology from OSU, he worked in fish hatcheries and as a fisheries research technician at OSU, Iowa State, and Michigan State.