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

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.

FLORIDA FISH NAMEFORK LENGTHTOTAL LENGTH
Amberjack, GreaterYesNo
Amberjack, LesserYesNo
Banded RudderfishYesNo
BarracudaYesNo
Black DrumNoYes
Black Sea BassNoYes
Blackfin TunaYesNo
BluefishNo LimitNo Limit
Blue MarlinYesno
Blue RunnerNo LimitNo Limit
BonefishYesNo
Cobia (Ling)YesNo
Dolphinfish (Mahi-mahi)YesNo
FlounderNoYes
Grouper (all)NoYes
HogfishYesNo
Mackerel, KingYesNo
Mackerel, SpanishYesNo
Mullet, Striped/SilverNo LimitNo Limit
PermitYesNo
Pompano, AfricanYesNo
Pompano, FloridaYesNo
Redfish (Red Drum)NoYes
Red PorgyNoYes
Roundscale SpearfishYesNo
SailfishYesNo
SheepsheadNoYes
Snapper (all)NoYes
SnookNoYes
Spotted SeatroutNoYes
SwordfishYesNo
TarponYesNo
Tilefish, BluelineYesNo
Tilefish, GoldenYesNo
Triggerfish, GrayYesNo
TripletailNoYes
WahooYesNo
WeakfishNoYes
White MarlinYesNo
Florida fish measurement requirements (Tail Fork vs. Total Length)

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 to the Fork and Total Length.

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!