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Articles tagged with: Florida Rules and Regulations

Rules and Regulations for Spearfishing in Florida

Written by Capt. Noah on Wednesday, 28 August 2013. Posted in Fishing Advice

Using a spear gun, or throwing any form of sharp object to spear fish, is a disaster waiting to happen; unless you are responsible and follow the Rules and Regulations for Spearing (as stipulated by the Florida Fishing and Wildlife Conservation Commission). The sport of spearfishing is growing in popularity because of the primitive method it offers anglers. You need to swim underwater to get close to a fish without spooking it - if you are going to have any chance of catching it with a spear. So what are the rules and regulations regarding spearfishing in Florida?

  • You may not catch any freshwater fish with a spear. In fact, you are not allowed to possess any spear equipment near a body of fresh water.
  • It is prohibited to spear fish in any waters that are protected by Environmental Protection, Recreation and Parks. All spearing equipment must be safely stored away and remain unloaded at all times when in these areas.
  • Spearing fish is strictly illegal within 100yrds of any public place. This includes public beaches, commercial and recreational fishing piers or anywhere where public fishing and swimming is allowed; such as certain areas of bridges.
  • If any part of a jetty lies above sea level, you are banned from spearfishing within 100yrds of it. The only exception to this rule is if the jetty stretches over 1 500yrds from the shoreline. If this is the case, then you may spear fish near the last 500yrds of it.
  • You may not spear fish in Monroe County; from the north of Long Key all the way to the Dade County line.

When it comes to harvesting or selling fish that have been caught by spearing; anglers need to comply with the same rules that other anglers follow regarding bag limits, size limits, closed seasons and all Recreational Saltwater Fishing Regulations. In addition to this, there are specific species of fish that may not be hunted with a spear. Ever. If you are caught catching these fish with spears, be prepared for the consequences:

  • Blue Marlin
  • White Marlin
  • Sailfish
  • Swordfish
  • Spearfish
  • Spotted Eagle Ray
  • Sturgeon
  • Manta Ray
  • Sharks
  • Bonefish
  • Nassau Grouper
  • Goliath Grouper
  • Tarpon
  • Snook
  • Spotted Seatrout
  • Blue Crab
  • Stone Crab
  • Red Drum
  • Weakfish
  • African Pompano
  • Pompano
  • Lobster
  • Tripletail
  • Permit
  • Ornamental Reef Fish and their Families
    • Trumpetfish
    • Surgeonfish
    • Butterflyfish
    • Angelfish
    • Cornetfish
    • Porcupinefish
    • Trunkfish
    • Squirrelfish
    • Parrotfish
    • Damselfish
    • Seahorse
    • Pipefish
    • Puffers
    • Triggerfish (you may only catch Ocean Triggerfish and Gray Triggerfish)

Anglers who adhere to the rules and regulations set out by the Florida Fishing and Wildlife Conservation Commission are not likely to ever spear anyone accidentally. They are the future of the sport and ensure it will be allowed in the future. Those that do not comply will ruin the sport for everybody else; do not be among them.

Saltwater Fishing Rules and Regulations in Florida

Written by Capt. Noah on Wednesday, 28 August 2013. Posted in Fishing Advice

There are set rules and regulations in place to govern fish stocks in Florida’s saltwater. The goal is to ensure healthy populations continue to thrive into the future and sustain our need for fish consumption. There are closed seasons for certain fish, bag and size limits, catch and release encouragement, equipment requirements, license free fishing days, angler recognition programs and even plans in place to remove debris from Florida’s state waters. In the Atlantic Ocean, state waters extend to three nautical miles; while in the Gulf of Mexico they encompass nine miles. Further than that, the ocean falls under Federal waters.

  • Some species do not have set bag limits; but you will require a saltwater products license and a registered commercial vessel if catching over 100lbs daily per person. You may not harvest more than the bag limit and recreationally harvested fish may not be sold without a commercial license. The Recreational Saltwater Fishing Regulations involve complying with bag limits, size limits and available seasons. It is advisable to carry a copy of these regulations to ensure you adhere to them.
  • There are rules regarding the equipment used to catch reef fish. It is essential to use circle hooks that are not stainless steel in conjunction with dehooking devices (which must be blunt and smooth-edged). This is to increase the probability of survival after being caught and released. In addition to this, venting tools are required in the Atlantic Ocean. These are used to deflate swimbladders that are full of gas. The tool must be small, sharp and hollow (such as a 16-gauge hypodermic needle). Signs of an inflated swimbladder include bulging eyes, swollen bellies, stomach protruding from the mouth and intestines coming out of the anus.
  • Most of the fish species inhabiting Florida’s coastal waters are regulated, although some are not. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission have implemented standard rules for specific fish. It is advisable that you know exactly what is permitted before you head out to sea.
  • It is compulsory to obtain a Recreational Saltwater Fishing License, unless you are fishing from a charter boat. These are available online, at tax collector’s offices or at registered license facilities throughout Florida. There are non-resident licenses for your holiday, resident licenses if you dwell in Florida, lifetime permits, yearly licenses and permits for vessels and shoreline fishing.

While it is impossible for us to individually list all the regulations pertaining to every species swimming off the coast, it is advisable that you ensure you remain informed about all the rules involved with saltwater fishing. You can download the eRegulations from the Florida Fishing and Wildlife Conservation Commission or visit their website directly.


Freshwater Fishing Rules and Regulations in Florida

Written by Capt. Noah on Wednesday, 28 August 2013. Posted in Fishing Advice

In order to keep our freshwater fish populations healthy and thriving, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission are authorized to implement rules and regulations as the need arises. You will need to be continually aware of them to ensure that our freshwater fish species survive into the future; and there are Angler Recognition Programs to reward you for your efforts. Any breach of these stipulations will result in a hefty fine, or worse. Before you head off on a fishing trip to any of Florida’s freshwater dams, rivers and lakes; make sure that you are knowledgeable about the latest fishing regulations for the water area you are going to be fishing in. In fact, it is advisable that you carry a printed version with you, along with the required fishing licenses. While some regulations may change yearly, there are set rules that may not be broken.

Some fishing methods are illegal to use for catching game fish, yet they may be legal for non-game fish. We describe them below for you; but under no circumstances may any angler use any of the following methods to catch fish in Florida’s freshwaters. There will be severe consequences if you even attempt to use unauthorized methods such as these to take fish:

  • Unattached devices that float freely
  • Firearms
  • Explosives
  • Electricity
  • Spear guns
  • Poison
  • Chemicals
  • While diving or swimming underwater

Game Fish

There are specific bag and length limits on all freshwater game fish. These fish may only be caught on rods and reels, or poles and line; but an angler may use an unlimited number of fishing rods. Bowfishing, cast nets, trotlines, setlines or any other methods are strictly prohibited. Game fish include the following fish:

  • Largemouth Bass
  • Spotted Bass
  • Shoal Bass
  • Suwanee Bass
  • Black Crappie
  • Bluegill
  • Redear Sunfish
  • Flier
  • Redbreast Sunfish
  • Warmouth
  • Spotted Sunfish
  • Striped Bass
  • White Bass
  • Sunshine Bass
  • Butterfly Peacock Bass

Native Non-Game Fish

While permits are required to catch non-game fish, there are more methods that anglers are allowed to use. These fish can also be caught with bows and arrows, cast nets, trotlines, bush hooks and setlines. However, any method you may wish to use must be legal in the area that you are fishing and comply with their rules. In addition to this, game fish may never be used as bait. These are the non-game fish that are native to Florida:

  • Channel Catfish
  • White Catfish
  • Brown Bullhead
  • Yellow Bullhead
  • American Shad
  • Longnose Gar
  • Bowfin
  • Chain Pickerel
  • Florida or Spotted Gar
  • Alligator Gar (may only be taken by those with a Scientific Collector’s Permit)

All Sturgeons are protected by Federal Laws and in the State of Florida. If you catch one inadvertently, immediately release it back into the water alive and unharmed.

Non-Native Non-Game Fish

Besides Peacock Bass (game fish) and Triploid Grass Carp (stocked for vegetation control); all other non-native fish must be either consumed or disposed of. There are no bag or size limits and they can be caught using any legal method. However, game fish may not be used as bait. These fish wreak havoc on Florida’s freshwater systems and must never be released back into the water. This is a list of them:

  • Flathead Catfish
  • Blue Catfish
  • Jaguar Guapote
  • Mayan Cichlid
  • Oscar
  • Common Carp
  • Yellow Perch
  • Blue Tilapia

These are the Rules and Regulations for Freshwater Fishing in Florida that will never change. Please visit the website of the Florida Fishing and Wildlife Conservation Commission for the latest information.