Are Florida Fishing Used

Daniel Brown
• Saturday, 21 November, 2020
• 8 min read

Florida ’s rules and regulations are designed to help ensure the safety of all the people in Florida, visitors and residents alike, and to help make sure that one of the state’s most important economic engines is protected and maintained for future generations. Not knowing the rules puts people at risk of seriously damaging everyone’s current and future fishing opportunities.

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(Source: coastalanglermag.com)


Not knowing the rules also puts people in the position of breaking them, and that can mean incurring a fine or, in extreme cases, imprisonment. All anglers are legally required to be familiar with the rules and regulations governing the type of fishing they are doing.

Fishing in Florida in the winter can be challenging due to the constantly changing conditions. The key to angling success in Florida in the winter is understanding how these constantly changing conditions affect fish behavior.

Both resident and migratory game fish species undergo some type of migration throughout the year. As the front moves through it will bring strong northwest winds and perhaps a bit of rain.

This is a good day to stay home as conditions will not only be tough to fish, they can be downright dangerous. The next day will bring north and northeast winds, bright sunshine and cool temperatures.

That afternoon will warm up and the next couple of days will be very pleasant with mild temperatures and winds out of the east. Finally, the winds turn southwest then northwest as the cycle completes and then begins to repeat itself.

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(Source: www.youtube.com)

This means they must understand how these changes will affect the locations and feeding habits of the game fish that they are targeting. This is much more difficult in winter in Florida than it is at other times of year, as conditions are much more consistent in spring, summer, and fall.

Also, no matter which way the wind is blowing, docks in protected areas can usually be found that will offer anglers the chance to catch a few fish. Finally, water clarity is much less of an issue with sleepyhead, drum, and other bottom fish.

Bridges are usually found in deeper water and have abundant structure as well as good current flow. Seawalls, jetties, oyster bars, and artificial reefs are other productive areas to do some bottom fishing.

Sleepyhead, black drum, redfish, flounder, grouper, snapper, and shook will all be found in these spots. On shallow spots, anglers can simply pinch on a couple of splits shot 18 inches above the hook.

No matter what the rig, anglers should use the minimum amount of weight required to get the bait down to the bottom. In most applications, anglers bottom fishing in Florida in the winter will do well with a #1 live bait hook.

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(Source: www.youtube.com)

These extreme low tides can offer some outstanding fishing to patient anglers. Due to the extreme low tides and lack of water, fish will gang up in deeper depressions, holes, and channels.

Anglers who locate a pothole or channel in an otherwise very shallow flat can experience non-stop action. As the tide rises and the water warms, fish will move up onto the flat to forage in the afternoon.

While the game fish may be more in a mood to feed, they are also more difficult to locate as they scatter about over a large flat. Submerged grass beds in deeper water can be great spots to fish in Florida in the wintertime.

Game fish will seek out slightly deeper areas when water temperatures are low. The best approach when fishing the deep grass flats is to drift with the wind and the tide while casting artificial lures or live shrimp.

Often times in winter, the key to success when fishing the deep flats is finding “clean” water. Flats near the passes are especially prone to being covered up as the incoming tide floods the area with dirty water.

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(Source: www.fisheyesportfishing.com)

Fish will not be as active in the colder water and fast, aggressive retrieves that work in the summer are usually less effective in the winter. Soft plastic baits rigged on a jig head or swim bait hook are especially productive.

Many anglers go to scented baits as well as tipping the jig with a small piece of shrimp. Anglers casting spoons and plugs will also catch fish, especially if they go with smaller baits and more subtle presentations.

Live shrimp are also extremely effective when fished over submerged grass under a noisy float. Cold weather will push shook and other species up into area creeks, rivers, and residential canals.

Game fish move up into these waters as they are generally significantly warmer than the exposed, open flats. Along with shook, anglers can find jack crevasse, redfish, snapper, juvenile tarpon, and other saltwater species.

Anglers fishing brackish rivers will also have the opportunity to land freshwater species such as large mouth bass, catfish, and gar. Creeks and rivers are great places to fish in Florida in the wintertime for several reasons.

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(Source: www.thehulltruth.com)

First off, as previously mentioned, shook, jacks, and other saltwater game fish will migrate up into these bodies of water in the winter. In brackish rivers in creeks, bluegill and tilapia are abundant and are great forage for larger game fish.

While the scenery might not be as nice as when fishing creeks and rivers, these canals are generally more accessible to anglers in larger boats. Most canals are dredged and therefore fairly deep within an abundance of structure including docks and seawalls.

In most instances, artificial lures are the best choice when targeting shook and jacks in rivers, creeks, and canals. More often than not, game fish will be scattered throughout the body of water as opposed to being bunched up in one spot.

Tributaries entering the main channel, particularly on an outgoing tide, are excellent spots as well. The top two artificial lures for fishing Florida creeks and rivers are shallow diving plugs and soft plastic baits.

Plugs are great “locator” baits as they will cover a lot of water fairly quickly and tend to elicit reflex strikes. These plugs are cast out towards likely shoreline cover and structure and brought back to the boat using a sharp twitch or two followed by a pause.

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(Source: www.thehulltruth.com)

Plugs are also terrific lures to use when trolling, which is a very effective technique that will locate fish in a short amount of time. However, the same basic baits anglers use for inshore saltwater fishing will produce and rivers as well.

Shad tail and fluke style baits can be used either on a jig head or a swim bait hook. They are also good choices when the water temperature is low and fish may not actively chase a faster moving plug.

For this reason, in order to fish efficiently, most anglers real the bait back in quickly after working at the first several feet. It’s not that the fish have lockjaw, or that they don’t eat, you just need to switch up your strategies from other times in the year.

If you cast a line or catch and release, you need a fishing license. Someone who is passively participating (setting decoys, calling birds or baiting hooks), whether actively fishing or hunting or not, must have a license and appropriate permits.

Pursuant to Florida Statute 379.354, the following individuals are EXEMPT from recreational hunting, freshwater fishing or saltwater fishing licenses as well as Florida waterfowl, migratory bird, deer, turkey, shook, spiny lobster, archery, crossbow, muzzle loading and management area permit requirements (unless noted, these exemptions do not apply to federal duck stamp requirements): Youth under 16 years of age (also exempt from federal duck stamp requirements).

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(Source: www.onlyinyourstate.com)

Disabled veterans or active or reserve duty military service members and their immediate family members and assistants, who are participating in a permitted outdoor recreational event, for which the Commission has issued a Military/Disabled Veteran Event License Exemption Permit to the event organizer. 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.

Individuals who possess a Resident Freshwater Commercial Fishing License. Florida's residents who are fishing for mullet in fresh water who hold valid Florida resident freshwater fishing license.

Florida's residents saltwater fishing from land or a structure fixed to land who have been determined eligible for the food stamp, temporary cash assistance, or Medicaid Program by the Department of Children and Families (DCF). Proof of identification and a benefit issuance or program identification card issued by DCF or the Agency for Health Care Administration must be in possession when fishing.

Florida's residents saltwater fishing with live or natural bait, using poles or lines that are not equipped with a fishing -line-retrieval mechanism, for noncommercial purposes in their home county (does not include fish management areas within the home county). In state waters, reef fish species include groupers, snappers, amber jacks, gray trigger fish, red porgy, sea bass, dogfish and tile fish.

When fishing with natural bait, non-stainless steel circle hooks are required Hooking device Circle hooks are made so that the point is turned perpendicular to the shank to form a circular or oval shape.

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(Source: www.thehulltruth.com)

Other gear, such as venting tools or descending devices, can also be used to aid in the release of fish suffering the effects of barotrauma, which is the expansion of gases in the swim bladder when a fish is pulled up from depths greater than 50 feet. To learn more about barotrauma, venting tools, descending devices, and other ways to properly handle and release fish, please visit our Fish Handling & Gear page.

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