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Get Your Florida Saltwater Fishing License Online Before Your Trip

Susan writes about saltwater fishing in Florida and enjoying the Florida coast.

I hooked a lot of sheepshead and red snapper from this fishing pier at Cocoa Beach.

I hooked a lot of sheepshead and red snapper from this fishing pier at Cocoa Beach.

About Florida's Saltwater Fishing License

You need to carry a saltwater fishing license—paper or waterproof "hard card"—on your person the entire time you are fishing. If you cannot produce a saltwater fishing license when asked by a Marine Patrol Officer, you could be subject to fines and confiscation of your fishing equipment or more.

Get a license and have some fun salt water fishing

Get a license and have some fun salt water fishing

Who Needs a Florida Saltwater Fishing License?

In Florida, you need a different fishing license for freshwater than you do for saltwater fishing. You cannot use a saltwater license to catch freshwater fish.

Florida residents and non-residents pay different fees. You have a choice of three different licences: a one-year license, a five-year license or (for residents) a lifetime license.

Ninety percent of the money collected from fishing licenses goes to marine research, fish hatcheries, habitat restoration, building artificial reefs and law enforcement. You are contributing to the conservation of the fishing industry, for use in the future for your kids, by buying a saltwater fishing license.

A resident is defined as anyone who has resided in Florida for six months, United States Armed Forces who reside in the state, or any student who lives in the state. Anyone holding a Florida Driver's license can buy a Florida resident's saltwater fishing license.

TIP: You don't need a Florida saltwater fishing license if:

  • You are under 16.
  • You are a Florida resident fishing from land.
  • You are a retired Florida resident.
  • You are fishing from a pier that holds a Saltwater fishing license.

If you are a certified, permanently disabled person, living in Florida, you can get a permanent saltwater fishing license for free.

You can buy a Florida saltwater fishing license from any county tax office or from most bait and tackle shops. You can also purchase a saltwater fishing license online.

Red Fish at Sebastion Inlet

Saltwater Fishing License Costs

Resident License Costs

One-year: $17.00, plus $5.00 if you want a hard card

Five-year: $79.00 plus $5.00 for hard card

Lifetime resident-only card (13 Years and Up): $1001.50

You also need to buy a $10.00 tag to fish for snook and a $51.50 tag to catch a tarpon.

Non-Resident License Costs

One Year: $47.00

3 Days: $17.00

7 Days: $30.00, plus the same amounts for snook and tarpon tags. Even if you don't keep these fish, you still need a tag to have them in your possession.

Florida Snook Fishing

Saltwater Fishing Rules for Sport Fish

There are specific rules for catching sport game fish. The six main game fish in Florida saltwater are:

  • redfish
  • snook
  • tarpon
  • bonefish
  • sailfish
  • permit fish over 20 inches in length

The game fish most often caught are redfish, snook and tarpon.

Redfish cannot be kept if under 18 inches or over 27 inches, and you can only keep one per day.

Snook cannot be kept if less than 28 inches or more than 34 inches, and you can only keep two per day. The season for snook is closed statewide from December 15 to January 31, plus June, July and August. A snook tag is required in addition to a Florida saltwater fishing license. You can keep two snook per day.

You need a $50.00 tag to keep tarpon and are allowed to keep two per fishing day.

If you buy the proper saltwater fishing licenses with the tags, you will have no problems fishing in the salt and brine waters of Florida's coastal and intercoastal waters.

Have a great day fishing!

Fishing Licenses

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers

Question: Where do I buy a license for saltwater fishing in Florida?

Answer: You can by it online at this link or at any bait shop in Florida.

Question: At what age do you no longer need a saltwater license?

Answer: Florida residents don't need a license and any retired person age 65 or Military person doesn't require a license however you must have proof of age or military status if asked .

© 2013 Susan Britton


Susan Britton (author) from Ontario, Canada on January 22, 2013:

Yes ninety percent of the money goes to preserve Florida's marine life and supports the Florida Marine Patrol. It is a win win to bget a fishing license. Thank you for stopping in to comment. Have a great day.

That is a true fact Lipnancy. Thank you so much for your comment. I appreciate your time.

Nancy Yager from Hamburg, New York on January 22, 2013:

We all have to follow the rules with fishing. I do not know a true sportmen who wants to drain our resources

Shining Irish Eyes from Upstate, New York on January 22, 2013:

Suzzy - I like the fact that some of the money for the licensing fees goes back into the preservation of the environment, law enforcement and hatcheries.

Another interesting and useful hub.

Susan Britton (author) from Ontario, Canada on January 21, 2013:

Wow that was a long time ago. I love Vero Beach with it's quaint uptown area to shop in. There is great fishing in Vero also. Thank you movingout for your comment.

movingout from Georgia on January 21, 2013:

Being from Vero Beach, I fished many of these waters. Back before there was a bridge across Sebastian Inlet and wooden bridges at Wabasso. Very informative! Voted up!

Susan Britton (author) from Ontario, Canada on January 21, 2013:

Thank you peachpurple for stopping in to comment. The fishing license money goes to conserve our marine life. I am sure your fish are just as fun to catch and are as tasty as ours. Thanks for the vote.

peachy from Home Sweet Home on January 20, 2013:

I didn't know that you need a license to fish in western countries. Over here in Malaysia, many people cast their fishing rods into the sea without any license either. Of course, we don't have big fishes as tarpon or snook fish, just the normal archovies, talipia and gelam, small prey. Voted useful

Susan Britton (author) from Ontario, Canada on January 20, 2013:

Thank you WillStarr. The fact your Grampa got in trouble makes this memory all the better. Florida would have been swamp back then but I can only imagine the fish stories from that era.

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on January 20, 2013:

We both got badly sunburned, and Grandpa really caught it for that when we got back to Dunnellon (a little tourist town) that night. It's a great memory. That was in the early 50's when Florida was still mostly swamp.

Susan Britton (author) from Ontario, Canada on January 20, 2013:

That's a great memory Willstarr. I love to hear comments like yours. Thank you. I hope you find the picture.

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on January 20, 2013:

Many, many years ago, my grandfather took my cousin and me fishing off the wharf at Cedar Key Fl. We used up all his live shrimp bait on a school of trash fish! I still have that photo somewhere.

Good Hub!