Fishing Rules in Florida: What Can You Keep?

fishing rules in florida for black snapper
What are some fish that you can keep in florida

Learning What’s Legal and What’s Not

The Fishing rules in florida very depending on a lot of factors. Florida is well known as a fishing destination for anglers of all experience levels. In previous articles we have covered the basics as well as some tips for planning and preparing yourself for saltwater fishing here in the sunshine state. There are several more detailed rules that you should be educated about in regards to species specific regulations and limitations.

These regulations are in place to protect Florida’s wildlife and Florida’s fishing rules and regulations are designed to protect the state’s marine resources. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) regulates all saltwater fishing in Florida.
The FWC sets season limits, size limits, bag limits, and other regulations. For example, to fish for snook you must have a saltwater fishing license, and you can only fish for it during certain times of the year.

The FWC also sets the fishing rules in florida for freshwater fishing. You do not need a license to fish in freshwater, but there are some exceptions. For example, you need a license to fish. Some lakes are also considered “trophy bass lakes” and have special regulations.

What fish can you keep in florida

Florida Fishing Regulations for Selected Species

Tarpon: Tarpon fishing in Florida does not have a minimum size restriction, but there is a maximum. All tarpon larger than 40 inches must remain in the water. If you want to catch a tarpon larger than the state or world record, you can purchase a tarpon tag. Here are a few broad rules for fishing in Northwest Florida (the panhandle zone)by species.

Snook: In some jurisdictions, snook fishing rules differ. The most up-to-date information is available from the FWC. Otherwise, it’s crucial to note that snook fishing in Florida is purely recreational since no commercial catch or sale of snook is permitted.

Red Drum: Some red drum fishing rules differ by location in Florida. However, several of these areas share a few standards. In the panhandle Zone the bag limit for red drum is one fish per angler per day however only one fish per vessel per day. To harvest a red drum in the panhandle zone it must be at least 18 inches long and no more than 27 inches long.

Sharks: It is legal to catch one shark every day in Florida. Until your boat has come to a complete stop, all sharks must be intact. The kinds of harvestable sharks are divided into three categories, each with its own set of size restrictions.

Cobia: According to Florida fishing regulations, cobia caught in the Gulf of Mexico must be at least 36 inches long. You can catch two fish per boat.

Spotted sea trout: On average, in Northwest Florida, you can keep up to three spotted sea trout daily, during the season. The fish must be between 15 and 19 inches long, although there are methods to house larger specimens. For example, you may have one fish over 19 inches per boat.

Keeping fish in florida rules and regulations

Unrestricted Species

Several commonly caught species do not have any special rules or limits, such as:
Cero Mackerel
Blackfin Tuna
Great Barracuda
Jack Crevalle

Although there are no legal restrictions on equipment, some norms still apply as well. A common bag limit is defined as commercial quantities requiring a special license if you exceed the maximum recreational fishing limit.

Restricted Species

Fishing rules in Florida are very strict for some species. It is unlawful to capture, possess, land, purchase, trade, or exchange the following species:
Goliath Grouper (jewfish)
Nassau Grouper
Atlantic Angel Shark
Basking Shark
Bigeye Sand Tiger Shark
Bigeye Sixgill Shark
Bigeye Thresher Shark
Bignose Shark
Caribbean Reef Shark
Caribbean Sharpnose Shark
Dusky Shark
Galapagos Shark
Great Hammerhead
Largetooth Sawfish
Lemon Shark
Longbill Spearfish
Longfin Mako Shark
Manta Ray
Mediterranean Spearfish
Narrowtooth Shark
Night Shark
Roundscale Spearfish
Silky Shark
Sand Tiger Shark
Sandbar Shark
White Shark
Florida Queen Conch
Stony, Hard, and Fire Corals
Sea Fans
Bahama Starfish
Long spine Urchin

Photo from a destin, fl fishing charter week of

Know the Local Regulations

These are a few broad fishing rules in Florida, predominantly in the northwest Florida panhandle zone. We highly recommend that in addition to this article, you also reference the incorporated link to the FWC to educate yourself on any updates rule changes seasonal changes or closures in order to better protect floors wildlife and yourself.

Southern Country Charters is well equipped with a knowledgeable, qualified staff of licensed Captains that can answer any questions you may have about your Florida fishing So call Southern Country Charters at 850-739-3175 or click the booking link above to book an inshore or offshore trip and come explore our fishery, have fun, and catch fish!

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