I can remember, growing up as a teen, I did not need a 'fishing' license to fish anywhere. I used to be you could just take a fishing pole and some bait out to your favorite fishin hole, bait the hook and drop the line in to 'fish'.
Now you have to have a fresh water fishing license if you want to fish in the fresh water areas around the state and you need a saltwater fishing license if you fish the Indian River Lagoon or the Atlantic or Gulf of Mexico areas (I would have thought we would have been vain enough to call it the Gulf of America but guess not). Getting a fishing license is not difficult and you can even do it over the Internet too. All that is needed is a computer with access to the Internet and a Credit Card. Your temporary license can be directly printed out on your computer printer and your regular license arrives in the mail (snail mail that is) in about 10 - 14 days.
The website to access the Florida Fishing and Wildlife Conservation Agency (issues the actual license) is:
On the website you have access to several different types of licenses the Florida FWC issues with a description of each type along with restrictions. If you plan to do any fishing in the state of Florida and you are older than 15 or younger than 65 please heed the warning and get a fishing license - the fines are MUCH HIGHER if caught and Florida Game And Wildlife Officers do patrol quite regularly! Just a friendly warning.
Now - there are some exceptions that do not require a fresh water or salt water fishing license! Here is what is listed in the exceptions section of the website:
You do not need a freshwater fishing license if...
■You have been accepted as a client for developmental disabilities services by the Department of Children and Family Services. The department must furnish proof to such clients.
■You are a resident who is fishing with live or natural bait, using poles or lines that are not equipped with a fishing-line-retrieval mechanism, and you are fishing for noncommercial purposes in your home county. However, you must have a valid fishing license to fish by any method in a fish management area.
■You are fishing in a fish pond of 20 acres or less which is located entirely within the private property of its owner. A fish pond is a man-made pond constructed for the primary purpose of fishing, entirely within the property lines of the owner and with no surface water connection to public waters.
■You are fishing in a fish pond of 20 acres or more, whose owner has purchased a fish pond license at a fee of $3 per surface acre.
■You possess a Resident Freshwater Commercial Fishing License.
■You are fishing in the St. Mary's River or Lake Seminole (but not including tributary creeks in Florida) and have a valid Georgia fishing license.
■You are freshwater fishing during Free Fishing Weekend (the first weekend of April).
I was not aware there was a "free fishing weekend!
As for saltwater fishing...
You do not need a saltwater fishing license or a snook or spiny lobster *permit if...
■You have been accepted as a client for developmental services by the Department of Children and Family Services. The department must furnish proof to such clients.
■You fish from a for-hire vessel (guide, charter, party boat) that has a valid vessel license.
■You fish from a vessel, the operator of which has a valid vessel license issued in the name of the operator of the vessel.
■You fish for recreational purposes from a pier with a valid pier saltwater fishing license.
■You have a valid saltwater products license.
■You fish for mullet in fresh water and you have a valid Florida freshwater fishing license.
■You are a resident who is saltwater fishing from land or a structure fixed to land who has been determined eligible for the food stamp, temporary cash assistance, or Medicaid Program by the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). Proof of identification and a benefit issuance or program identification card issued by DCFS or the Agency for Health Care Administration must be on your person when fishing.
NOTE: Effective Aug. 1, 2009 - Residents and nonresidents fishing for a saltwater species (other than mullet in fresh water) from land or from a structure fixed to the land are required to purchase a saltwater fishing license.
* These exemptions do not apply to tarpon tags.
Whew - seems like there are a great deal more 'items' to fishing than I remember as a teen!
Anyway - I am now the 'proud' owner of a Florida Saltwater and Fresh Water Fishing license and plan to start doing some fishing just as soon as the weather warms up a little more!
I am afraid some of the fishing I want to do has been affected by the recent cold snap we had in January - we are not used to 28-Deg. F weather and the water temperature in the Indian River Lagoon actually dropped to around 48-Deg. F. which has caused some of the fish in the area to die off due to thermal shock. Needless to say there are some species of fish that are now off limits until their numbers improve. I am in the process of checking to see if catch-and-release is still allowed of if they are totally off limits to catch at all (wonder how they stop that little trick!).
More to follow... Stay tuned!!!