Today, Governor Rick Scott and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) announced that Friday, Nov. 29 will be a license-free freshwater fishing day, and Saturday, November 30 will be a saltwater license-free fishing day.
Governor Scott said, “License-free fishing days serve as a great opportunity for families to enjoy the incredible fishing opportunities that Florida has to offer. After the Thanksgiving holiday, families will be able to head to the water with their visiting guests and experience some of the best fishing in the world.”
Florida’s license-free fishing days are an opportunity for people to take advantage of Florida’s outstanding fishing. Florida’s recreational freshwater and saltwater fishing industry has an $8.9 billion economic impact and supports nearly 80,000 jobs. While providing recreational opportunities that encourage healthy, active-outdoor fun, these license-free fishing days also help grow the industry and promote conservation stewardship.
There are eight license-free fishing days per year, where the requirement to have a recreational fishing license is waived for residents and visitors. All other fishing and boating rules and regulations still apply (see MyFWC.com/Fishing for details).
Dec. 28 will be the last freshwater license-free fishing day for 2013.
Beginning in 2014, all eight license-free fishing days will fall on the same weekend days from year to year, allowing potential anglers to plan fishing trips in advance and businesses and nonprofit groups to plan events around these fishing license holidays. The recurring days will be:
- First Saturday and Sunday in June
- First Saturday in September
- Saturday following Thanksgiving
- First Saturday and Sunday in April
- Second Saturday and Sunday in June
The FWC offers several angler-recognition programs to help promote fishing and share memories. Freshwater anglers can go to TrophyCatchFlorida.com to be entered in a drawing for a bass boat and motor. If they catch, document and release a trophy largemouth bass over 8 pounds, they can submit a photo of the entire fish (head to tail) on a scale to claim great rewards—starting with a $50 gift card, custom T-shirt and certificate. For other recreational freshwater fishes (33 species included), a simple photo of a fish that exceeds the designated minimum length or weight will get them a Big Catch certificate and bragging rights on the website.
For saltwater anglers, the challenge is to catch a “slam” by catching three different species of saltwater fishes in the same day. Four different groupings of popular sport fish are included to promote the diversity of marine fisheries the state has to offer. For an application and to learn more about this program, which is conducted in collaboration with the International Game Fish Association, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing, then click saltwater and Grand Slams.
Logo courtesy Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission