So dig into your garage for that idle rod and reel, pick up some bait at your local tackle shop and get out there to enjoy the outdoors. Under Florida law, all anglers fishing in salt or freshwater, whether from a boat or from shore, are required to have a license in their possession with few exceptions (seniors over 65 and children under 16).
Salt or freshwater fishing licenses are issued separately and cost $17 a year each for Florida residents. The free resident shoreline license covers pier fishing, and many fishing piers have blanket licenses to cover other anglers, resident and non-resident.
Charter captains will have a boat license that covers anglers on board, resident or non-resident. The state’s fishing -license-by-phone service is a beautiful thing, and it has come in handy more than once for me.
You are out on your boat, riding out to your fishing hole, only to discover your license had expired. I called from my cell phone, charged my renewal, and they issued my new license number on the spot.
One time I was caught without a pen, so I carved the number into my fish-measuring stick. Download the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission app “Fish | Hunt Florida from Apple App Store or Google Play, and you’re in business.
Bob Rowntree is a retired journalist who has lived in Florida for 40 years, all the while exploring back roads, hidden beaches and scenic parks with kayaks, travel trailer, beach toys and bicycles in tow. Co-founder of FloridaRambler.com with fellow journalist Bonnie Gross, Bob been writing about outdoor recreation around the state since 2010.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Executive Director Eric Sutton said the license-free fishing days offer a great opportunity to introduce someone to fishing. All bag limits, closed areas and size restrictions apply on these dates.
Once hooked, these fish take immediately to the air, make long runs, and fight all the way to the stern. But it’s also hard to beat Miami Beach and the Keys for epic sailfish action.
Florida -strain large mount bass will try to spawn all year round on the new and full moon phases. You can fish out of Belle Glade, Lewiston, Moore Haven, Lakeport, or Okeechobee with about equally good odds of landing a 10-pounder.
I like to be a homebody the first month of spring, and stick to my home waters of the Indian River Lagoon. The world record spotted sea trout, which weighed in over 17 pounds, was caught near Fort Pierce.
But the Indian River Lagoon is about 130 miles long, and you can catch bunker trout from Titusville to Jupiter. Most of the shook action takes place from Sebastian southward, although plenty of fish are caught in the northern end of the lagoon in years when we don’t get any freezes.
Give Jodie Lynn Charters a call, and they’ll put you on fish for sure. I would not feel like I’d lived that year if I had not pursued tarpon with a fly rod from the vantage of a flats' skiff in the shallows.
The Sun, Moon, tides, and weather all influence fish activity. For example, fish tend to feed more at sunrise and sunset, and also during a full moon (when tides are higher than average).
(But even during stormy periods, the fish aren’t going to give up feeding. When the breeze is from a westerly quarter rather than from the north or east.
It should come as no surprise that many Almanac readers love to fish. “The best way to fish in South Texas with chicken liver is to let it sit a while in the good Texas sun, then sprinkle a little garlic powder and a little chili powder on it.
“A wonderful bait I have found is hot dogs with chicken meat. Cut them in desired pieces and set in the sun to ‘dry up’.
You can put what you don’t use in the freezer with a few catalpa tree leaves. “To find the big cats, it would help out if you knew the underwater structure of the pond, river or lake.
A true hint in catfishing is never to use any type of scents (Cologne, powders, perfume, etc.) Don’t handle cigarettes or any type of tobacco products without washing your hands before applying baits, hooks, sinkers, new line, etc.
“The absolute best way I know to keep your liver on your hook while fishing is: Buy 1 or 2 old plastic ice trays. Place the hook and liver into the ice tray and let it freeze throughout the night before you go fishing.
Put three or four crickets and a couple of mill worms on a hook and hold on! Once you find them you can have a lot of fun catching all sizes.
Freeze water bottles then gently place them in the bucket. An exciting place to explore for anglers, here you’ll find a colorful variety of fish in the area, including bone fish, tarpon, and shook.
Sitting south of Cedar Key is Seahorse Reef, a popular area for experienced Gulf Shore fishermen. Covered with long and lush seagrass, Cedar Creek is considered one of the best launching points in the Big Bend area.
Boasting an abundance of guides and ship captains for hire and a variety of other land and water-based attractions, Key West is an ideal destination to visit with the entire family. A large fountain with a jumping sailfish sits in its town square, marking the centerpiece of the area’s 15 marinas ready to take out fishing and charter boat fleets.
Spring is the most popular season for catching underwater treasures, as the seagrass grows wild in these months making it an ideal time to spot Redfish, speckled trout, and sleepyhead. With over 140 vessels that cater to anglers, you have the chance to catch grouper, amber jack, snapper, mackerel, sailfish, Yahoo, tuna and even a blue marlin in this emerald Gulf of Mexico waters.
Those looking for a more leisurely experience can cast a line off the pier, as this city pairs laid-back vibes with crystal clear beach areas. It’s also a great place to go fly and kayak fishing, and if you’re with the kids, you might want to check out the chance to hand-feed tarpon at nearby Robbie’s Marina only a few miles from the park.
Fly and spin angling might win you saltwater game fish, while reef fishing is ideal for reeling in snapper and grouper. With both resorts and campsites peppered around the lake, visitors can stay overnight, as the area has plenty of guides and charters to direct you to the best spots.
Here you’ll discover a city listed on the National Register of Historic Places and old fish houses that date back to the original families, where both shrimp and grouper are sold to local restaurants. For those who rather go stargazing and appreciate the outdoors, head to Anastasia State Park to find 139 full-facility campsites that sit alongside the Atlantic Ocean.
Less touristy than its South Florida counterparts, here visitors will find an underrated gem with crystal clear waters stemming from the Gulf of Mexico. The area is famous for spotting an array of colorful redfish, flounder, tarpon and sea trout, and if you venture further offshore, it’s not uncommon to see fishermen reeling in king mackerel, blue marlin, tuna, and cobra.
Located on the southwest coast of Florida facing the Gulf of Mexico, Sarasota even has a handful of hotels that provide guides for hire. Catching shook, redfish, trout, grouper and Dorado is common, while the area’s offshore activities, from its vibrant arts scene to the stunning Siesta Key beach, are sure to keep the entire family entertained.
Often referred to as “The Fishing Capital of the World,” here you will discover an abundance of freshwater and saltwater hotspots to keep your vacation itinerary full, from the emerald waters in the Panhandle all the way down to the Florida Keys. Whether you want to go deep-sea fishing or prefer to cast a line off the pier, you can catch a monster bass one day and some pan fish for dinner the next.
Youth under 16 years of age Resident seniors age 65 or older with proof of age or residency or possessing an optional Resident 65+ Hunt/Fish Certificate Those freshwater fishing in your county of residence on your homestead (or the homestead of your spouse or minor child), or if you are a minor child freshwater fishing or hunting on the homestead of your parent. According to FCC, while the fishing license requirement is waived for all recreational fishers (residents and non-residents), all other rules apply.
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Non-residents who are 16 years of age or older are required to have Florida licenses and permits participating in hunting, freshwater fishing and saltwater fishing. Visitors who are listed on the National Saltwater Angler Registry are still required to have a Florida recreational saltwater fishing license unless they are a member of one of the exempted groups listed.
Non-residents using beach or haul seines for recreational purposes are required to have a commercial saltwater products license. A fishpond is a man-made pond constructed for the primary purpose of fishing, entirely within the property lines of the owner and with no surface water connection to public waters.
You are fishing in the St. Mary's River or Lake Seminole (but not including tributary creeks in Florida) and have a valid Georgia fishing license. That license is not a disability accommodation but economic accommodation for the segment of Florida's disabled population who may not be able to afford to pay for the license.
POOR day basically means the fish will either steal all your bait or will not even touch your line. The BEST day means that you will catch something almost every time you cast your line in the water.
Get the whole year’s worth of fishing dates and more in the print edition of the Farmers’ Almanac. Be sure to check out other great features like: gear & equipment, bait shops, license vendors, boat ramps, marinas, charters, fly-fishing shops, and fish refuges/hatcheries.