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. But before you start, you need to make sure you’re covered with a Florida fishing license. Luckily, these are easy to come by. Here’s our complete guide to everything you need to know before you get out on the water.
Types of Fishing License
Most residents and visitors to Florida need to purchase a fishing license before they cast a line. Get a saltwater fishing license to hook up on saltwater fish in the ocean, bays, and lagoons, or a freshwater fishing license for freshwater fish in lakes and rivers.
If you’re fishing in an estuary or another area that has a mixture of salt and freshwater fish, you need to be more careful. 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. Otherwise, make sure the gear you’re using is appropriate to the type of water you’re fishing. If you catch a fish you’re not covered for, make sure to release it immediately. For instance, if you’re fishing with a saltwater license for Redfish and accidentally hook up on a Largemouth Bass, you should release the Bass right away.
The good news for visitors to Florida is that saltwater fishing charters cover licensing for everyone onboard, 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. Read on and find out how.
Who needs a Florida fishing license?
Short answer — all non-residents over 16 and any resident aged between 16 and 65. If you’re trying to catch a fish in Florida, you’d better make sure you’re doing it legally. And watch out: even if you’re helping someone else fish by baiting their hooks and setting up their gear, you need a fishing license, too. There are some exceptions, though:
- If you’re on a registered Florida fishing charter in saltwater, you don’t need to purchase your own license.
- You don’t need a license to fish from a licensed pier.
- Florida residents with severe disabilities can fish for free with a Florida Resident Disabled Person Hunting and Fishing License.
- Military personnel from Florida can fish for free if they’re visiting home for up to a month.
- Florida residents receiving benefits or food stamps, you can do land-based saltwater fishing without a license.
- Any Florida resident can get a free shoreline fishing license, which allows you to fish for saltwater species from land or from structures attached to land.
Anyone who’s are eligible to fish without a license should make sure to bring proof that they are qualified to do so to show the Coast Guard. For instance, children under 16 should bring proof of age with them.
What if I’m a senior?
If you are age 65+ and are from out of state, you will still need a regular salt or freshwater fishing license. Senior Florida residents can fish for free but must bring proof of age and address. They can also get an optional and free Resident 65+ Hunt/Fish certificate.
How much does it cost?
The price of a Florida license depends on whether you’re a Florida resident or if you’re visiting from out of state. Vacationers can purchase licenses for 3 or 7 days, while residents are eligible for longer-term licenses.
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 Type||Period Covered||Cost for Resident||Cost for Non-Resident|