One thing is certain, if you want to go fishing in the Florida Keys you need a license to fish.
This has been laid down by law by the state of Florida so there is no bending of the rules. But that is a small price for experiencing probably the greatest fishing anywhere in the world.
But before you go getting your credit card out there might be reasons why you can fish without buying one.
So let’s firstly take a look to see if you are applicable or not.
Those that do not need one.
Exempt from this law are anyone who is either under the age of 16 or Florida residents who are 65 years old or older.
Residents who are in the armed forces, stationed outside Florida and home on leave for 30 days or less.
Fishing on a man-made pond that is situated on private property.
Those fishing with can poles in their county’s of residence.
Residents of Florida fishing in saltwater from land or a structure attached to land.
Residents fishing in saltwater from a boat with a vessel fishing license.
You maybe wondering a few things reagrding these laws?
What the definition of "Land" is for a start.
Just to make sure that you don't make a mistake and start fishing without the right authority from some structure you find one day "Land" is defined as "The area of ground located within the geographic boundaries of the state of Florida that extends to a water depth of 4 feet."
This includes any structure permanently fixed to land such as a pier, bridge, dock or floating dock.
However it gets a little more complicated than this due to the Florida law stating that if you use a boat or another vessel to reach ground then you must definitely buy one to fish.
But hang on, it gets even more bizarre.
Well at least to me who isn't much of a fisherman, as the law also states that you need a license if you are wading in Florida waters or have broken the surface of the water wearing a face mask.
I hope you understand that last bit more than I do.
And the other thing that is quite useful to grasp is what Florida defines as a resident, as residents and non-residents end up paying differing amounts to fish.
The State of Florida decrees that anyone who has lived in Florida for six months continuously.
Anyone who has established a home in Florida
Any member of the US military stationed in Florida.
Any student studying in a college or University in the state.
And last but not least an alien who can prove residency status.
So E.T will be ok I guess!
The good news however is that you do not need a fishing license when you have charted one of the captains that work the waters all around the Florida Keys.
You see they will have a valid vessel salt-water fishing so their customers can dangle their worms into the Florida waters without a care in the world.
You also do not need a fishing license in Florida if you are fishing from one of the piers that have been issued with a saltwater fishing license of their own.
Where To Buy One
If you have now worked out that you are applicable and need to buy one, then to fish in Florida's Saltwater you can go to most bait and tackle shops and from any Monroe County Tax Collectors Office and buy one.
Click on the Monroe Tax Office Logo to the left for detailed information of the locations and websites for all the Florida Tax offices.
Most of the Florida cities have one, so this will make it easier for you to get going and throw your line happily into the Florida waters.
Resident Annual Freshwater OR Saltwater Fishing: $13.50
Non-resident Weekly Freshwater OR Saltwater Fishing: $16.50
Non-resident Annual Freshwater OR Saltwater Fishing: $31.50
Resident Annual Freshwater & Saltwater Fishing: $25.50
You can buy one online (www.myfwc.com) if you don't mind paying a $2.25 surchage with tax of 2.5% added on.
Alternatively, you may buy by phoning 1-888-FISH-FLORIDA and once again cough up $3.25 + 2.5% surcharge.