License-Free Saltwater Fishing Across Florida This Weekend

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission wants you to grab your rods and reels for some license-free fishing this weekend.

“License-free fishing days provide an excellent opportunity for those who don’t yet have a fishing license to experience fishing, take youth fishing, or for avid anglers to introduce a friend to fishing without having to purchase a license,” FWC wrote in a release. “On these days, the fishing license requirement is waived for all recreational anglers, including both residents and non-residents.”

The waiver, which lasts from Saturday, June 1, to Sunday, June 2, is good for saltwater fishing. It also includes crabbing, lobstering and scalloping, whether from a boat or shore.

Rules such as bag and size limits still apply, so check with FWC for the regulations you must follow.

If you’re wondering where the fishing hotspots are, the South Florida Reporter ranked the top fishing destinations across the Sunshine State. Their list is as follows:

  • Daytona Beach

  • Fort Lauderdale

  • Key Largo

  • Key West

  • West Palm Beach

In addition to just being great all around vacation destinations, the South Florida Reporter notes that these places have an excellent mix of exotic species to catch.

But on the off chance you aren’t close to any of these places, Take Me Fishing mapped out where to fish and boat up and down Florida. The website also offers plenty of saltwater fishing tips for newbies, such as the best time to fish to the best saltwater bait and lures.

This license-free fishing weekend also happens to line up with National Fishing and Boating Week, which starts June 1 and ends Sunday, June 9.  

Now, every great fisherman loves to show off their catches. Well, there’s no better way than with Catch a Florida Memory. Anglers who participate in any of FWC’s Saltwater Angler Recognition Programs can submit what they reeled in to Catch a Florida Memory where they “earn prizes, recognition and bragging rights while supporting marine fisheries conservation.”

So if you catch the saltwater fishing bug, make sure to buy a license following this free weekend and start racking up catches to become a member of all four Catch a Florida Memory recognition clubs.

If you happen to miss out on the action this weekend, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is allowing license-free freshwater fishing the following weekend, June 8 and 9.

You’ll want to show off those freshwater reels by heading over to TrophyCatch, FWC’s Freshwater, Citizen-Science, Angler Recognition Program. The program focuses on the conservation and promotion of trophy bass fishing.

Please note, due to algae bloom wreaking havoc on freshwater fish populations, FWC has extended several conservation measures. Until May 2020, snook, red drum and spotted seatrout will be catch-and-release only.

“We know that the bay is in trouble… trout are especially in trouble. There are a few snook and redfish left in the bay, but the trout almost got entirely wiped out,” local fishing captain Johnny Walker told ABC 7 in Sarasota.

With the rule in place, Walker expects the trout “will get at least one spawning season, maybe two spawning seasons, before being able to be caught.”