Which Florida Fish are Measured by Tail Fork Length vs Total Length?

Florida fish length measurement is important to stay within legal limits of the law. Measuring from snout to fork or total length is different for each fish.

It’s crucial to understand that while saltwater fishing in Florida, there are two ways to measure the length of the fish you caught to see if you are within the legal limits. One is that you measure by the furthest part of the jaw and back to the middle of the fork in the tail.

This is used for fish with deep forks in the tail. The other way is to measure to the furthest point of the tail when it is bunched up together. You don’t get to choose which way to measure, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission has made determinations for each fish. You can see this in the table below.

Amberjack, GreaterYesNo
Amberjack, LesserYesNo
Banded RudderfishYesNo
Black DrumNoYes
Black Sea BassNoYes
Blackfin TunaYesNo
BluefishNo LimitNo Limit
Blue MarlinYesno
Blue RunnerNo LimitNo Limit
Cobia (Ling)YesNo
Dolphinfish (Mahi-mahi)YesNo
Grouper (all)NoYes
Mackerel, KingYesNo
Mackerel, SpanishYesNo
Mullet, Striped/SilverNo LimitNo Limit
Pompano, AfricanYesNo
Pompano, FloridaYesNo
Redfish (Red Drum)NoYes
Red PorgyNoYes
Roundscale SpearfishYesNo
Snapper (all)NoYes
Spotted SeatroutNoYes
Tilefish, BluelineYesNo
Tilefish, GoldenYesNo
Triggerfish, GrayYesNo
White MarlinYesNo
Florida fish measurement requirements (Tail Fork vs. Total Length). ©Vern Lovic at Salty101.com.

Please note, that some of the fish in the Florida Fishing Regulations PDF do not specify total length, when they probably should have. Some of the grouper, for instance, probably are measured by total length, but there is no “diamond” shape to signify that.

Here is a video showing HOW TO MEASURE FISH by FORK LENGTH and TOTAL LENGTH.

How to Measure a Fish

Twenty Four Fish are required to be measured by FORK LENGTH.

Twelve Fish are required to be measured by TOTAL LENGTH.

You’ll have to bring the chart above with you. Take a photo of it now with your mobile phone so you always have it.

Disclaimer – While we have tried our best to be accurate, some data may be incorrect. Data is always subject to updating and we may miss it for a while. When in doubt, check the PDF you can download here. But even so, that might not be the latest!