Our advice is to purchase both a salt and a freshwater license if you ’re planning to catch a variety of fish. If you catch a fish you ’re not covered for, make sure to release it immediately.
The good news for visitors to Florida is that saltwater fishing charters cover licensing for everyone on board, so toucan just sit back and enjoy your time on the water. Fish with a guide in freshwater, however, and you ’ll still need to purchase your own license.
Additionally, the following groups don’t need to pay to fish: Military personnel from Florida can fish for free if they’re visiting home for up to a month.
Florida's residents receiving benefits or food stamps can do land-based saltwater fishing without a license. Anyone whose eligible to fish without a license should make sure to bring proof to show the Coast Guard.
License President CostNonresident Cost 3-Day Freshwater N/A$17 7-Day Freshwater N/A$30 Annual Freshwater $$1747 5-Year Freshwater $79N/A 3-Day Saltwater N/A$17 7-Day Saltwater N/A$30 Annual Saltwater $$1747 5-Year Saltwater $79N/A Annual Freshwater/Saltwater Combo $32.50N/ATO count as a Florida resident for fishing purposes, you should either have declared Florida as your only state of residence or be a member of the US Armed Forces who is stationed in Florida. Apart from a small processing fee, all the money you spend goes to the Florida Wildlife Commission (FCC).
However, there are three species that need an additional tag or permit in Florida. Anglers in private boats also need a free permit to fish for popular reef species like Snappers and Groupers.
Toucan buy a Florida license online or at a number of registered retailers. These include Walmart, tax collector’s offices, and registered bait and tackle shops.
The most cost-effective way of getting a fishing license is going to your local tax collector’s office. That said, many people find the added convenience of getting licensed in Walmart, online, or at your local tackle shop is worth the small additional fee that these places charge.
The only exception is military personnel stationed in Florida, who count as residents for licensing purposes. This includes seniors, active and former military personnel, and those with disabilities.
You fish from a charter, guide or party boat that has a valid vessel license. You fish from a boat, the captain of which has a valid recreational saltwater vessel license issued in their name.
Increasing coastal development means access can be an issue, but there’s still plenty of great areas where toucan enjoy Florida fishing. Some will also offer the opportunity to slide a canoe, kayak or stand-up paddle board into the water, but all include plenty of space to fish from shore, or wade into coastal shallows.
The prominent paved jetty pier on the north side, complete with safety rails offers a safe, spacious platform for reaching the surf zone or the deeper water of the inlet. Incoming tides always bring a push of activity, but when the fall mullet run piles an enormous biomass in and around the inlet, anglers have a field day with bull redfish, giants nook, tarpon and the occasional cuber snapper.
Mangrove snapper, jacks, sleepyhead and black drum add to the mix; while the shallower end, along with the smaller south jetty may yield pompano, whiting and craters. When the fall cold fronts usher hordes of flounder out of the Indian River and toward the Atlantic, anglers line the rip rap for a shot at these tasty flat fish.
Several pull off spots provide casting access to the St. Johns River, or toucan take one of the interior roads through the campground to fish the Fort George Inlet on the north side. The mix here includes flounder, redfish, black drum, pompano, whiting, bluefish, Spanish mackerel and sharks.
Neoprene or insulated waders keep you comfy in the winter, but during the warm season, simply walk in with lightweight clothing and enclosed shoes. Tarpon often run this area anglers soaking live baits or sight casting big swim baits might put one in the air.
From the metered parking area to the pier is a bit of a hike, but it’s a straight shot down the walking promenade running along the cut. Both provide spacious access to a wide range of Keys favorites like snapper (mangrove, lane, mutton and yellowtail), tarpon, grouper, yellow jack, shook and porgies.
1) Fort DeSoto Park in south St. Petersburg leads the list on Florida ’s left coast. The gem of Pinellas County, this 1,136-acre park comprises Madeleine, St. Jean, St. Christopher, Bone Fortune and Mullet keys and complements an impressive angling menu with campgrounds, picnic shelters, bathroom/shower facilities, concessions, bait shop, dog park and historical significance.
Expect a good mix of shook, trout, redfish and flounder, along with mackerel, cobra, pompano, sharks and mangrove snapper at the piers. Boardwalks over the protected dunes offer access to the redfish, flounder and trout waters on the marsh side, but surf fishing is the big attraction.
On either side of the Dunedin Causeway, cast a bait over the pristine grass flats of St. Joseph Sound, or wade into the usually clear waters where speckled trout, mackerel and redfish roam. The main causeway bridge and the smaller one right before the island offer sleepyhead, black drum, shook and snapper opportunities.
The piers light attract bait fish, so expect everything from shook, to trout and the occasional bluefish to stake out these feeding spots. Spring and fall bring king fish within reach, while a summer tarpon bite can make things interesting.
Summer is prime time for big shook staging for their spawn; while fall sees voluminous bait fish schools exiting the inner bays, with several predators in pursuit. Shook is one of the top targets (especially in the lights), but you ’ll also find pompano, Spanish and king mackerel, tarpon, cobra, sharks and sleepyhead.
Tip: Local businesses rarely budge on the “restrooms are for customers only” thing (many have signs posted), so don’t expect any mercy, no matter how much you grimace and squeeze your knees together. Commercially produced aluminum pier/bridge carts with wide wheels will easily transport your rods, tackle bag, cooler and live bait well over pavement, rocks or sand; but for casual duties, a garden utility cart (some models fold) will suffice.
Waiting until you feel that cool downdraft can leave you and your gear exposed and out of options; so know where the nearest shelter lies and have a bug-out plan just in case. It starts with respectful spacing, so if you approach an area where others are fishing, take note of where their lines are set (short, long) and allow reasonable buffers.