At first glance, you might think that obtaining and paying for a Florida fishing license is quite simple. However, there are many variables that must be considered before choosing and paying for the license you need, and cost can vary a lot depending on the type of license being purchased.
The most simplistic scenario is this: a one year shoreline saltwater license for a Florida resident, for which there is no fee. But even this simple example rapidly becomes more complicated with changing factors. For a one year saltwater license for a Florida resident onboard watercraft (rather than shoreline), there is a $17 fee. And this same saltwater license for a non-resident is $47. Additional permits may also be necessary depending on the fish being caught. Clearly, this is a little more complex than one might expect. Let's take a look at some of the most important factors in licensing costs.
Resident Or Non-Resident
The first item when determining the cost of a license is residency. Those who live in Florida typically pay less for fishing licenses. One challenge that can complicate this seemingly basic consideration has to do with temporary living situations. For example, many people choose to spend part of the year in one state and part in another. Residency for the purposes of a fishing license will depend on what is considered your 'primary' residence for tax purposes.
Where you choose to fish also will have an effect on the cost of the fishing license that you obtain. Different licenses are available for those who wish to fish off of the shoreline, off of a pier, from a boat, or in deeper water conditions. The price of a license typically increases as the location chosen gets more difficult to reach. That is to say, shoreline or pier fishing licenses tend to be cheaper than boat or deep sea fishing licenses.
Saltwater Or Freshwater
The distinction between saltwater and freshwater fishing licenses must be made prior to fishing. The reason for this differentiation is based on the fish that you may catch. Although the price is similar for freshwater and saltwater fishing licenses, that does not mean that they are interchangeable. If you are caught fishing without the proper license, you will be fined.
It should also be noted that there are additional permits that must be held in order for certain fish to be caught. For example, snook cannot be caught and kept without a snook fishing permit. There are also temporary licenses for occasional fishermen. For example, for only $17 a non-resident can get a three day saltwater license. This enables visitors to legally fish during a trip without having to purchase an annual license.
Combination licenses are available. For example, a salt water, fresh water, and hunting license for a Florida resident for one year is only $48. Longer-term licenses, such as a five-year license, can also be obtained for those who know they will need it
All fishermen should take note that there are days when fishing can be done without a license, so-called “license-free” days intended to encourage people to try the sport. License-free saltwater days are usually the first Saturday and Sunday in June, the first Saturday in September, and the Saturday following Thanksgiving. License-free freshwater fishing days tend to be the first Saturday and Sunday in April and the second Saturday and Sunday in June. It's a good idea to check online for up-to-date information on the dates and locations of these events.