Fishing in Florida Guide 2024

small sportfishing yacht in South Florida, fishing in Florida guide 2023

Florida boasts some of the finest saltwater and freshwater fishing in the USA, making fishing in Florida a top choice for anglers. Before you set sail or cast your line, ensure you’re well-versed in all legal requirements. Our comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know for a seamless fishing experience in Florida. Dive into the details now and get ready for a successful day on the water!

Do you need a fishing license in Florida? 

Yes, you need a license to go fishing in the sunshine state. However, it’s important to know that there are actually two fishing licenses. Both residents and guests to Florida are required to have a Florida hunting, freshwater fishing or saltwater fishing license if planning to fish in the state. In addition, if you want to keep the fish you catch, you need this license; however, if you just want to catch and release, a simple fishing license will do. Even if you are not planning on fishing yourself, but you are actively helping someone else fish, you still require a license. 

For more details, check out the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. 

How much is a Florida fishing license? 

The cost of your Florida fishing license will depend on the length of the license, what you want to fish, and whether you are a Florida resident or not.

Florida Saltwater Fishing license & permit prices on eRegulations.com
Original Source: https://www.eregulations.com/florida/fishing/saltwater/licenses-permits

Find the complete breakdown of Florida Saltwater Fishing license & permit prices on eRegulations.com.

What age do you need a fishing license in Florida?

Once you reach the age of 16, you legally need a fishing license in the sunshine state. Up until that age, you can fish without a license, however, you do need to abide by all other fishing rules and regulations under the age of 16. 

Do seniors need a fishing license in Florida? 

If you are a resident in Florida, you do not require a license to fish if you are over the age of 65. All you will need is a Florida driver’s license and identification card to prove your age and residence.  

If you are a visitor to Florida and over 65 however, you will still require a non-resident fishing license

Who is exempt from a Florida fishing license? 

As seen above, youth and children under the age of 16, as well as resident seniors over the age of 65 are exempt from carrying a Florida fishing license. 

How much is a FL non-resident fishing license? 

Non-resident fishing licenses are available in a few different formats, regardless of whether you want a saltwater or freshwater fishing license: 

  • Non-Resident 3-Day:  $17.00 
  • Non-Resident 7-Day:  $30.00 
  • Non-Resident Annual:  $47.00 

What fish are in season in Florida? 

With temperate weather year-round and an abundance of fish species and locations, it’s no wonder you can fish a variety of species year-round in Florida. 

A sample of fish you’re likely to find in Florida includes bass, bluefish, bonefish, flounder, snapper, king mackerel, mahi-mahi, sailfish, snapper, trout, swordfish, tarpon and wahoo.

What saltwater fish are in season in Florida right now?  

The fall is when saltwater fish really come into season in Florida. Blackfin and bluefin tuna, as well as mahi-mahi are popular to catch offshore during the autumn months, as well as sailfish, snook, and king mackerel  

angler in the ocean, fly fishing

What fish can you keep in Florida right now? 

Almost all fish you catch in Florida can be kept, as long as you follow the rules on how many you can catch and carry at one time. However, the following fish species are illegal to carry: 

  • Goliath Grouper (Jewfish) 
  • Nassau Grouper 
  • Atlantic Angel Shark 
  • Basking Shark 
  • Bigeye Sand Tiger Shark 
  • Bigeye Sixgill Shark 
  • Bigeye Thresher Shark 
  • Bignose Shark 
  • Caribbean Reef Shark 
  • Caribbean Sharpnose Shark 
  • Dusky Shark 
  • Galapagos Shark 
  • Great Hammerhead 
  • Largetooth Sawfish 
  • Lemon Shark 
  • Longbill Spearfish 
  • Longfin Mako Shark 
  • Manta Ray 
  • Mediterranean Spearfish 
  • Narrowtooth Shark 
  • Night Shark 
  • Roundscale Spearfish 
  • Silky Shark 
  • Sand Tiger Shark 
  • Sandbar Shark 
  • White Shark 
  • Florida Queen Conch 
  • Stony, Hard, and Fire Corals 
  • Sea Fans 
  • Bahama Starfish 
  • Long spine Urchin 

For more details on which fish you can catch and carry and bag limits, refer to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. 

Where are the best Florida fishing spots? 

Depending on what type of fishing you want to do – saltwater or freshwater – the sunshine state has a number of destinations to choose from. Some of our top fishing spots include: 

Where are the best saltwater fishing spots in Florida? 

There’s a plethora of saltwater fishing spots to choose from. Some not-to-be-missed destinations include: 

Where are the best saltwater fishing spots in South Florida? 

When looking to head to south Florida, you’ll find some excellent saltwater fishing spots. A few of the top picks by anglers include: 

fishing from a sportfishing boat

Where is the best Florida bank fishing? 

Bank fishing is for those who wish to fish but may not have a boat or way to head out on the water. In this case, there are plenty of fish to catch from the banks along Florida’s shorelines. A few Florida fishing spots to check out on the banks include: 

Where is the best inshore fishing? 

They don’t call it the world capital of fishing for nothing – alongside the excellent open water fishing, freshwater fishing, bank fishing and saltwater fishing, Florida also benefits from great inshore fishing spots such as: 

Florida Keys

How to fish for bass

Freshwater bass is a very popular fish to catch in Florida. Thanks to an abundance of these fish species and the sport they can be to catch, people flock to Florida’s freshwater sources to try their hand at catching bass. The best place to catch bass is in Florida’s ponds and lakes. For ponds you’re going to look for vegetation like lily pads and reeds, and break out a heavier line for fishing. Worms, speedworms and jerkbait are your best bet to catch bass in these ponds. Lakes, on the other hand, will often have bass hiding deeper in the middle of the lakes. Brush and reeds around the shorelines may hide some as well so you’ll have to judge based on the vegetation around. Similar to the above, you’ll want to use similar lures like those you’d use on the ponds.

When is redfish season in Florida? 

It is actually legal to fish redfish in Florida year-round – however, the best time to catch redfish in Florida is the fall.  

Can you open carry in Florida while fishing?

According to the Florida Statute website, “Chapter 790, Florida Statutes, which states that if you have a license to carry a concealed weapon or firearm, you are permitted to carry the weapon concealed on your person while in a state park. If you do not have a concealed weapons permit for your licensed firearm, you are permitted to ‘open carry’ that firearm while engaged in ‘fishing, camping, or lawful hunting or going to or returning from a fishing, camping, or lawful hunting expedition’ (Chapter 790.25, section 3, F.S.).”

YATCO Boating and Fishing Guides 

The world’s capital of fishing has a number of exciting fish species ready for you to catch. Whether you want to take in some inshore fishing, or wrangle in a big tuna off the Florida Keys, this region has a little bit of everything for you to explore. 

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