You don’t want to accidentally hook up on a fish that you’re not covered to catch! 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 you can just sit back and enjoy your time on the water.
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. Saltwater/freshwater combo licenses are available for Florida residents only and allow you to fish all types of waterways, from the Gulf of Mexico, to the Atlantic, to inland rivers and streams.
Here’s our rundown of what residents and non-residents need to pay for the various available fishing licenses: 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). It’s all invested into keeping Florida ’s fishery healthy and sustainable.
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.
You can 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.