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Is Florida Fishing License Free

author
Brent Mccoy
• Monday, 07 December, 2020
• 5 min read

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).

florida fishing license resident purposes count
(Source: fishingbooker.com)

Contents

A shook or spiny lobster permit are also not required on these days. If you are child under 16 or a senior 65 or older, no physical license is required.

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.

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.

fishing venice pier florida fl guide sharkys boating rentals beaches
(Source: nokomisflvacationrentals.com)

On these days, the fishing license requirement is waived for all recreational anglers, including both residents and non-residents. A shook or spiny lobster permit are also not required on these days.

Reading Time: 5minutes Fishing is such an important part of life in the Sunshine State that you’ll find it hard not to pick up a rod while you’re here. Most residents and visitors to Florida need to purchase a fishing license before they cast a line.

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. Fish with a guide in freshwater, however, and you’ll still need to purchase your own license.

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.

fishing license need age
(Source: www.tetrahook.com)

Anyone whose eligible to fish without a license should make sure to bring proof to show the Coast Guard. The price of a Florida license depends on whether you’re a Florida resident or if you’re visiting from out of state.

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).

This means your license is helping people enjoy this world-class resource for years to come. You can catch most fish with a regular salt or freshwater license (as long as they’re legal to target).

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.

fishing license surf md oc ocean fish
(Source: ococean.com)

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. Unlike some states, annual fishing licenses in Florida are valid for 12 months from the date they were issued.

You’ll always know whether you’re still covered, as the expiration date will be printed on the license itself. You can fish Georgia's sections of the St Mary’s River and Lake Seminole with an FL license.

Senior Florida residents don’t need a license to fish or to harvest Shook and Lobster. Importantly, you must carry proof of age and address at all times while fishing.

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.

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Sources
1 crystalriverfishing.com - https://crystalriverfishing.com/charters/grouper/
2 www.fishingcharterscrystalriver.com - https://www.fishingcharterscrystalriver.com/shallow-water-grouper-fishing/
3 floridafishingadventures.com - https://floridafishingadventures.com/grouper-fishing/
4 fishingbooker.com - https://fishingbooker.com/fish/grouper-gag/us/FL/crystal-river
5 theonlinefisherman.com - https://theonlinefisherman.com/2020/09/23/how-far-out-into-the-gulf-will-you-have-to-travel-from-crystal-river-to-catch-dolphin-or-grouper/
6 forums.floridasportsman.com - https://forums.floridasportsman.com/discussion/264857/crystal-river-shallow-water-grouper
7 landsendmarina.com - https://landsendmarina.com/blog/2013/08/26/catch-gag-grouper-around-tampa-bay/
8 shallowsightings.com - https://shallowsightings.com/
9 homosassafishingreport.blogspot.com - https://homosassafishingreport.blogspot.com/
10 us.eventbu.com - https://us.eventbu.com/crystal-river/4th-annual-hooked-up-for-tata-s-fishing-tournament-aug-26th/2582327
11 crystalriver.claz.org - https://crystalriver.claz.org/classifieds/vehicles/boats
12 traveltips.usatoday.com - https://traveltips.usatoday.com/fishing-guides-crystal-river-florida-58188.html