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Florida Saltwater Fishing FAQ

Frequently asked questions about Florida saltwater fishing. If you don’t find the answer to your question below, give us a note at our contact page and we’ll see if we can answer.

Where Can I Find Help with Florida Saltwater and Freshwater Fishing License Requirements?

We have a page that covers that here. It takes the guesswork out of figuring out how to stay legal in Florida.

Can I go Fishing in Florida?

Can you? Yes. What is required? Well, that’s an entirely different matter. There is an entire page filled with criteria you have to wade through to figure out what you need to do to legally take fish in Florida. And, it’s not even just taking fish. If your son is 10 and you’re baiting his hook, you need a fishing license, believe it or not. Read this page and then re-read it six times to try to figure out what you need to know. The state of fishing legally in Florida is rather ridiculous at this stage. No wonder people don’t know what the hell is going on.

Where is the best saltwater fishing in Florida?

St. Petersburg. I’m biased, and I prefer a kayak to any other platform for fishing, so my answer is the St. Petersburg area of Florida’s west coast. There are some incredible mangroves you can fish for speckled trout, snook, sheepshead, snapper, cobia, flounder, redfish, jack crevalle, snapper, and of course the spastic ladyfish! Feather Sound, Clearwater Beach Pier, Fort De Soto Park, all of these are incredible fishing spots. An angler need not leave this area and catch all sorts of fish. Bradenton and Sarasota are close, just to the south – prime fishing areas. The Sunshine Skyway Fishing Pier is also close by, and a prime spot for grouper and other amazing fish.

What is the best fishing in Florida (best fish)?

We dedicated an entire article to the Top 10 Best Fishing in Florida here.

What is the best bait for fishing in Florida?

There are basically two baits you can use to catch most fish in Florida 1.) Shrimp. Shrimp are great for most fish because their exoskeleton is soft and inside is a good bit of gooey nutritious stuff that fish need to survive. The problem with shrimp is that little bait-stealers like pinfish or reef fish will pick your hook clean with the precision of a surgeon and leave you with an empty hook often. 2.) Small baitfish. Baitfish from an inch long to twelve or more inches long can be great bait for other fish, especially when Deep Sea Fishing.

What’s an inshore slam?

An inshore slam is catching three different species of desirable fish on one outing, in this case while fishing inshore. An example would be catching a redfish, speckled trout, and a snook. Some ‘authorities’ attempt to limit the slam to certain species, but who really cares right? To our knowledge, nobody includes catching fish like ladyfish, needlenose, lizard fish, catfish, and other by-catch.

Inshore Grand Slams generally consist of catching 4 different species of desirable fish.

Where do you find lobsters in Florida?

Florida spiny lobsters are all over Florida, and yet there are some spots that you should target specifically if you have a craving for lobster on your plate. We created an entire guide for How To Catch Florida Spiny Lobster here.

GOLD COAST – off the shore of the counties of Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach are some nice reefs that hold lobsters. Far less crowded than the Florida Keys, there are prime spots to hit. Few will share their GPS, but you can start figuring it out yourself by getting out there on the water.

FLORIDA KEYS – the mecca for spiny lobster divers, most of the lobsters caught in a given year come from Monroe County – the Florida Keys.

In general, the east coast has lots of places to find lobsters. The further offshore you go, the better chance you have to find pockets of fantastic lobsters that haven’t been culled in a while.

Where are the 2020 / 2021 Florida Fishing Regulations?

You can always find the most up-to-date Florida Fishing Regulations at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission page here.

Do I need a license to fish in Florida?

Yes, almost certainly! There are saltwater and freshwater fishing licenses. Regulations are strictly enforced by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission who patrols the waters on boats and the shores in vehicles. Please follow the letter of the law closely when it comes to fishing in Florida – the penalties for breaking fishing laws are severe.

Find out WHO needs a fishing license here.

How can I learn about Florida saltwater canal fishing?

We have a Canal Guide for that! Well, we will anyway! Working on it.

How can I learn about Florida shoreline fishing?

We will have a Shore Fishing Guide for that!

Where can I get a Florida Non-resident or resident saltwater fishing license, and what about a 3-day fishing license? What is the cost?

Get your resident Saltwater only or Freshwater and Saltwater fishing licenses here. If you are a visitor and want to fish in Florida, you can get your fishing license for 3 or 7 days, or annual permit. Better to go to this page and read the details. If you ride a boat to a spot where you then fish, you need a full fishing license! Sometimes the rules are bizarre, best to go read the specifics.

Best tips for catching ___?

Are there seasons for catching all fish?

No, not all fish and marine life, just some. Snook, gag grouper, gray triggerfish, permit, red snapper, some other grouper, and hogfish all have restrictions. You must know what is legal to catch, fines are sever. Here are two graphics you can download to see which Florida fish have a season, and which you can catch year-round. These are links to another site, and the PDFs start downloading right away.

Saltwater Fish Seasons

Is kayak fishing in Florida dangerous?

You could die driving to your favorite kayak fishing location. You could die of a heart attack while loading or unloading your plastic kayak from the roof of your vehicle. There’s always a chance that you get caught in a tide and get pulled away from the mainland and can’t get back, though I’ve not heard it happen to any friends, we’re usually on Florida’s Gulf Coast and not fishing far offshore in a kayak. It’s possible.

Sharks can be a bit of a problem, and you can easily search YouTube and find many instances of sharks chasing kayaks and bumping them. I’ve not seen any kayak bitten hard by a shark, but it can occur. There is more risk if you’re bleeding your freshly caught fish alongside the kayak as you fish. There are all kinds of sharks in the ocean, and probably the scariest I’ve caught are small hammerhead sharks. If you’re interested in knowing more about Florida sharks, here’s our Shark Fishing page.

The Global Shark Attack File has recorded twenty-one attacks on kayaks since the early 1900’s (20th century). There were only 2 deaths attributed to sharks during that time. Kayak paddlers Tamara McAllister and Roy Stoddard in California. No deaths in Florida have been noted. Download the PDF to see the report on the incident, HERE. The PDF came from this address (http://sharkattackfile.net/spreadsheets/pdf_directory/1989.01.26.a-McAllister_Collier.pdf) – currently not secure, so I posted on our server so you can download it safely.

Are alligators or crocodiles a problem while fishing in Florida?

Alligators are primarily freshwater dwellers, though they can tolerate saltwater for a few hours or possibly days. They don’t prefer it, and they much prefer freshwater over saltwater.

Crocodiles prefer saltwater and brackish water (saltwater and freshwater mix) and they can be found at the southern tip of Florida – in the Everglades National Park where there are also alligators. It is the only place in the world where both reptiles can be found.

Do we worry about alligators or saltwater crocodiles while out on the water in our kayaks or while wade-fishing? No, not at all.

Florida Saltwater Fishing Guides

AmberjackBlack DrumBluefishCobiaDorado (Dolphin, Mahi-mahi), Speckled TroutGrouperGulf FlounderJack CrevalleLobsterPermitPompanoRed-bellied PacuRedfishRedfish IndexSalmon IndexShark FishingSheepsheadSnapperSnookTarponTarponTripletail. Don’t miss our new SHARK Fishing Guide.

Florida Fishing Style Guides

Deep Sea FishingShore FishingInshore Boat FishingKayak FishingPier FishingWade-fishing

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