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Fishing Report
Reports from those that know - the local guides.

Florida Saltwater Fishing Regulations
Recreational size minimums, bag limits, and closed seasons.

Record Catches State and World Records for Key West's many fish.

Tournaments
Annual calendar of fishing events.

Paint & Release
A collection of original fish illustrations.

Fishing Seasons
When are they biting? Our guide to what's hot.

Fishing Licenses
Regulations you should know and how to get a license.

Florida Saltwater Fishing Regulations

"Recreational Minimum Sizes, Bag Limits, & Closed Seasons"

Saltwater fishing in the Florida Keys and the State of Florida is subject to strict and specific rules and regulations..

This is a brief summary of regulations governing the taking of saltwater species in Florida for personal use. It is not intended or designed to provide specific information on commercial harvesting of these species. The failure to include complete laws, rules, and regulations in this summary does not relieve persons from abiding by those laws, rules, or regulations. State waters extend to 3 nautical miles on the Atlantic and 9 nautical miles on the Gulf. Federal rules apply beyond state waters. For species that do not have an established bag limit, more than 100 pounds or 2 fish per person per day (whichever is greater) is considered commercial quantities. A saltwater products license and commercial vessel registration is required to harvest commercial quantities of unregulated species.

This information is current as of September 2009, acccording to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Species
Minimum Size Limits
Closed Season
Daily Rec. Bag Limit
Remarks
Amberjack-Greater 28" fork Atlantic, 30" for Gulf   1 per person per day  
Amberjack-Lesser & Banded Rudderfish Not less than 14" or more than 22" fork   5 aggregate of lesser amberjack and banded rudderfish  
Billfish Sailfish 63", Blue Marlin 99", White Marlin 66"   1 per person per day aggregate bag limit Meausured tip of lover jaw to fork. Federal regulations apply in state waters. All landed fish must be reported to NOAA within 24 hours 800-894-5528. HMS permit required in fefderal waters.
Black Drum Not less than 14" or more than 24"   5 per person per day May possess one over 24".
Bluefish 12" fork   10 per person per day  
Bonefish 18"   1 per person per day  
Clams-Hard 1" thick across hinge May not harvest half hour after official sunset until half hour before official sunrise One 5 gal. bucket per person or 2 per vessel, whichever is less per day (whole in shell) Illegal to harvest from closed areas. Visit floridaaquaculture.com for allowable harvesting areas.
Cobia (Ling) 33" fork   1 per person or 6 per vessel whichever is less To sell or exceed the daily bag limit follow commercial regulations.
Crab-Blue   Sept. 20 - Oct. 4 Gulf state waters beyone 3 miles closed to traps; federal waters closed to traps 10 gallons whole per person per day 5 traps maximum. Trap requirements apply. Harvest of egg-bearing crabs prohibited. May not harvest 1 hour after sunset until 1 hour before sunrise.
Crab, Stone 2 3/4" claw May 16 - Oct 14 1 gal. Stone Crab claws per harvester or 2 gal. per vessel, whichever is less. 5 traps maximum. Trap requirements apply. Illegal to possess whole crab. Harvest of egg-bearing crabs prohibited.
Crawfish (Spiny Lobster) Larger than 3" carapace measured in the water. April 1 - Aug. 5. Exception: Sport Season (a.k.a. Mini Season) = last consecutive Wednesday & Thursday of July each year. Regular season: 6 per person per day Recreational trapping prohibited. crawfish permit required when license required. Special bag limit for 2-day Sport/Mini season. Contact FWC regional office for currect info on Sport/Mini season.
Dolphin (fish a.k.a. Mahi-Mahi or Dorado) 20" fork Atlantic   10 per person per day, not to exceed 60 per vessel per day. To sell or exceed the daily bag limit follow commercial regulations.
Flounder 12"   10 per person per day May be harvested by spearing. Snatching prohibited.
Grouper, Gag trianglediamond 24" Atlantic & Monroe County. 22" Gulf (excluding Monroe County) Closed in Gulf Feb 1 - March 31. 2 per person per day.

Not more than 2 fish may be Gag or Black Grouper, either individually or in combination in Atlantic and Monroe County.

Included within the 5 per person per day (Atlantic) and 4 per person per day (Gulf) Grouper aggregate bag limit.

Gulf - zero daily bag and possession limit for captain and crew on for-hire vessels.

Grouper-Black 24" Atlantic & Monroe Country; 22" Gulf (excluding Monroe Country) Closed in Gulf Feb 1 - March 31. 2 per person per day Atlantic & Monroe County; 4 per person per day Gulf (excluding Monroe County)

Not more than 2 fish may be Gag or Black Grouper, either individually or in combination in Atlantic and Monroe County.

Included within the 5 per person per day (Atlantic) and 4 per person per day (Gulf) Grouper aggregate bag limit.

Gulf - zero daily bag and possession limit for captain and crew on for-hire vessels.

Grouper-Red 20" Closed in Gulf Feb 1 - March 31. 5 per person per day Atlantic, 2 per person per day Gulf..

Included within the 5 per person per day (Atlantic) and 4 per person per day (Gulf) Grouper aggregate bag limit.

Gulf - zero daily bag and possession limit for captain and crew on for-hire vessels.

Grouper - Snowy trianglediamond     1 per person per day Atlantic Included within the 5 per person per day (Atlantic) and 4 per person per day (Gulf) Grouper aggregate bag limit.
Grouper-Yellowfin & Yellowmouth 20" Closed in Gulf Feb. 1 - March 31   Included within the 5 per person per day (Atlantic) and 4 per person per day (Gulf) Grouper aggregate bag limit.
Grouper-Scamp 20" Atlantic & Monroe Country; 16" Gulf (excluding Monroe Country) Closed in Gulf Feb. 1 - March 31   Included within the 5 per person per day (Atlantic) and 4 per person per day (Gulf) Grouper aggregate bag limit.
Grouper-Warsaw & Speckled Hind     1 per vessel per day of each species Included within the 5 per person per day (Atlantic) and 4 per person per day (Gulf) Grouper aggregate bag limit.
Grouper-all others   Closed in Gulf Feb. 1 - March 31 for Rock Hind and Red Hind Included within 5 per person per day Grouper aggregate bag limit

Included within the 5 per person per day (Atlantic) and 4 per person per day (Gulf) Grouper aggregate bag limit.

Hogfish 12" fork   5 per person per day  
Mackerel-King 24" fork   2 per person per day Bag limit in Gulf-Atlantic fishery reduced to 1 when federal waters are closed to all harvest. Call SW Regional Office for details.
Mackerel-Spanish 12" fork   15 per person per day Transfer of Spanish Mackerel to other vessels at sea is prohibited.
Mullet-Striped (Black) & Silver    

50 aggregate per person per day;

Aggregate vessel limits: Feb 1-Aug 31: 100 per vessel, Sept. 1 - Jan. 31: 50 per vessel.

Mullet aggregate bag limit includes Striped and Silver. Call DMFM for addl. restrictions in Penellas and Charlotte counties.
Oysters 3" June, July, Aug. in Dixie, Wakulla, Levy counties. July, Aug, Sept in all other areas. 2 bags per person or vessel, whichever is less per day. 1 Bag=60 pounds or two 5 gallon buckets (whole in shell) Apalachicola Bay has summer & winter seasons/areas. Harvest from approved shellfish areas only. Visit floridaaquaculture.com for allowable harvesting areas.
Permit & Pompano Not less than 11" or more than 20" fork   6 per person per day aggregate of Permit and Pompano. May possess one over 20" of either Permit of Pompano. Vessel restriction: no more than 2 permit and pompano over 20" fork length at any time in any combination. Gigging, speaing, snatching prohibited.
Pompano-African Not less than 24" fork   2 fish per person or per vessel per day whichever is less. Hook & line gear only.
Red Drum (Redfish) Not less than 18" or more than 27"   1 per person per day Gigging, spearing, snatching prohibited. Harvest in Federal waters prohibited.
Red Porgy 14" Atlantic   3 per person per day Atlantic  
Scallops-Bay   Sept. 11-June 30 2 gallons whole or 1 pint meat per person per day, no more than 10 gallons whole, or 1/2 gallon meat per vessel anytime. Harvest allowed only in state waters of the Gulf of Mexico from the Pasco-Hernando county line to the west bank of the Mexico Beach Canal in Bay County.
Sea Bass-Black 12" Atlantic; 10" Gulf   15 per person per day Atlantic  
Shad     10 aggregate per person per day American, Alabama, Hickory are part of aggregate limit. Hook & line gear only.
Shark     1 per person or 2 per vessel per day, whichever is less. Practice of finning and filleting at sea prohibited. See list below for prohibited species.
Sheepshead 12"   15 per person per day Snatching prohibited.
Shrimp   April & May closed to Nassau, Duval, St. Johns, Putnam, Flagler & Clay counties. 5 gallons heads on per person or vessel per day, whichever is less. Must be landed in whole condition. Contact FWC Regional Office for closed areas.
Snapper-Black & Wenchman     Included within 10 per person per day Snapper aggregate bag limit.  
Snapper-Cubera Not less than 12" or more than 30" (see remarks)   Included within 10 per person per day snapper aggregate bag limit if under 30" Allowed 2 Cuber Snapper over 30" per person or vessel per day whichever is less. 30" or larger not included within the Sanpper aggregate bag limit.
Snapper-Gray (Mangrove) 10"   5 per person per day Included within 10 per person per day Snapper aggregate bag limit.
Snapper-Lane 8"   Included within 10 per person per day Snapper aggregate bag limit if harvested from Atlantic. Lane Snapper harvested from the Gulf of Mexico not included within the Snapper aggregate bag limit.
Snapper-Mutton 16"   Included within 10 per person per day Snapper aggregate bag  
Snapper-Red 20"Atlantic; 16"Gulf Aug. 15 - May 31 2 per person per day

Included within 10 per person per day Snapper aggregate bag limit. Note: Check www.MyFWC.com/Fishing for the most current regulations prior to fishing.

Gulf: Zero daily bag and possession limit for captain and crew on for-hire vessels.

Snapper-Schoolmaster 10"   Included within 10 per person per day Snapper aggregate bag limit.  
Snapper-Vermillion 12" Atlantic; 10" Gulf   10 per person per day Vermillion Snapper not included within the Snapper aggregate bag limit.
Snapper-all other 12"   Included within 10 per person per day Snapper aggregate bag limit. Includes: Blackfin, Dog, Mahogany, Queen, Silk & Yellowtail
Snook (all species)

Not less than 28" or more than 32" Atlantic.

Not less than 28" or more than 33" Gulf of Mexico, Monroe County, Everglades National Park.

Dec 15-Jan 31 Atlantic

Dec. - Feb., May - Aug. Gulf of Mexico, Monroe County, Everglades National Park.

1 per person per day. Snook permit required when saltwater license required. State regulations apply in federal waters. Illegal to buy or sell snook. Snatch hooks and spearing prohibited.
Sponge-Commercial Greater than 5" in greatest dimension measured across the top of the sponge   10 per person per day Includes: Sheepswool, Yellow, Grass, Glove, Finger, Wire, Reef, & Velvet sponge.
Spotted Seatrout Not less than 15" or more than 20" (statewide) except one fish over 20" per person Nov & Dec South Region; Feb N.E. and N.W. Regions (see regional definitions below) 4 per person per day South Region; 5 per person per day N.E. and N.W. Regions. (See regional definitions below)
Swordfish 47" lower jaw fork length, 29" cleithrum to keel length, or 33 pounds dressed weight.   1 per person or 3 per vessel whichever is less. All landed fish must be reported to NOAA within 24 hours 800-894-5528. HMS permit required in federal waters.
Tarpon     2 fish possession limit. Requires $50 tarpon tag to possess or havest. Snatching prohibited. Boca Grande Pass has seasonal regulations. Contact DMFM for currect information.
Tilefish, Golden triangle     1 per person per day Atlantic. Included within the 5 per person per day (Atlantic) and 4 per person per day (Gulf) Grouper aggregate bag limit.
Triggerfish 12" fork Atlantic; 14" fork Gulf.     Triggerfish except Gray and Ocean have live landing & live well requirements.
Tripletail 15"   2 per person per day Hook & line gear only. No snatch hooks.
Wahoo     2 per person per day To sell or exceed the daily bag limit, follow commercial regulations.
Weakfish 12"   4 per person per day  
Must remain in whole condition until landed ashore (heads & tails intact) Measured as total length. Total length is the straight line distance from the most forward part of the head with the mouth closed to the farthest tip of the tail with the tail compressed or squeezed together while the fish is lying on its side. Harvest prohibited by or with the use of any multiple hook in conjuction with live or dead natural bait.
Ornamental Tropical Fish and Plants
Regulations have changed and are too numerous to detail here. Visit www.MyFWC.com/Fishing for current regulations.
Prohibited Species
It is unlawful to harvest, possess, land, purchase, sell, or exchange the following species:
Nassau Grouper, Goliath Grouper (Jewfish), Sawfish, Atlantic Angel Shark, Bigeye Sixgill Shark, Bigeye Thresher Shark, Bignose Shark, Caribbean Reef Shark, Dusky Galapagos Shark, Longfin Mako Shark, Narrowtooth Shark, Night Shark, Sevengill Shark, Sixgill Shark, Smalltail Shark, Basking Shark, Whale Sharks, Spotted Eagle Ray, Sturgeon, White Shark, Sand Tiger Shark, Bigeye Sand Tiger Shark, Manta Ray, Spiny Dogfish, Longspine Urchin, Stony, Hard, and Fire Corals, Sea Fans, Florida Queen Conch, and Bahama Starfish. Harvest of live rock in state waters if prohibited.
FWC Regional Offices
Northwest Region Panama City (850) 265-3676 - North Central Region Lake City (386) 758-0525 - Northeast Region Ocala (352) 732-1225 - Southwest Region Lakeland (863) 648-3200 - South Region West Palm Beach (561) 625-5122
Seatrout Regions
"Northeat Region" means all state waters lying north of the Flagler-Volusia County Line to the Florida-Georgia border, and adjacent federal Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) waters.
"Northwest Region" means all state waters north and west of a line running due west from the westermost point of Fred Howard Park Causeway (28E9.350'N 82E48.398'W), which is approximately 1.17 nautical miles south of the Pasco-Pinellas County Line to the Florida-Alabama border, and adjacent federal EEZ waters.
"South Region" means state waters lying between the Flagler-Volusia Country Line on the Atlantic Ocean and the southern boundary of the Northwest Region on the Gulf of Mexico in Pinellas County and adjacent federal EEZ waters.

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Suggested Reading
"Outstanding...if you fish Florida, a must-have"
Florida fishing guide book
Sport Fish of Florida
by Vic Dunaway

More Info & Ordering

Keys Fishing Fact
The Florida Keys are located in the most biologically diverse area of the Atlantic Ocean. Due to the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean sandwiching the islands, while the warm Gulf Stream current meanders close by, the ocean surrounding the Keys contains more species of fish than anywhere else in the Atlantic.

"A Fishing Paradise"

 


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