TALLAHASSEE — Springtime means tight lines for many anglers. With winter in the rearview, more and more people are chasing saltwater excursions that involve fishing. From surf fishing to offshore expeditions, there are opportunities for everyone to catch a Florida memory! You don’t even need a boat to access exciting on-the-water adventures. With an abundance of options to choose from, we are going to dive into some easy and unique ways that you can make your own Florida memory this year.
Fishing from Shore:
Fishing from shore is the act of fishing from land or mindfully wading into the water to catch fish with a rod and reel. This option is appealing as all Florida residents can get a shoreline license at little to no cost. This licensure allows anglers to fish from land or from structures attached to land, so long as the angler is not trespassing on private property. Learn more at MyFWC.com/License, and discover how and where to fish by visiting MyFWC.com/Fishing and clicking “Learn to Fish.”
While sandy beaches are most common, anglers may also opt to fish from rock jetties and fishing piers as well. Rock jetties provide structure that many species of fish are attracted to. On the other hand, fishing from piers often allows the angler to access deeper waters and possibly catch a wider range of species. Fish frequently caught from shore include: kingfish (whiting), saltwater catfish, seatrout, Florida pompano, black drum, flounder and redfish. It is important to have the correct rig set up for this type of fishing. A few recommended setups including the bottom-surf rig and fish-finder rig can be found MyFWC.com/FishingLines in the fishing rigs section. When using these rigs, live and frozen baits including shrimp and baitfish are great options.
Use circle hooks when fishing with natural baits to reduce the chance of gut hooking a fish. If a fish is gut hooked and you need to release it, cut the line as close to the hook as possible. Using non-stainless-steel hooks will allow hooks left in the fish to deteriorate faster. Additionally, you should crimp the barb down on your hooks to allow for faster and easier hook removal. For more information on how to crimp the barb of your hook watch this short videofrom YouTube.com/FWCSaltwaterFishing or visit MyFWC.com/FishHandling. If you’re interested in targeting sharks while fishing from shore, be sure that you get your Shore Based Shark Fishing permit before your fishing adventure begins!
Fishing from Paddlecraft:
Interested in an enjoyable alternative to fishing from shore that allows you to access nearshore waters without opting for a motorized vessel? Fishing from paddlecraft, such as a kayak, paddleboard or canoe, may be the solution for you. It is important that you are mindful of and abide by the laws in place for the specific type of vessel that you are using. For a complete list of regulations for each specific vessel type, visit MyFWC.com/Boating and click “Boating Regulations.”
Fishing from paddlecraft allows anglers to reach locations that would otherwise be inaccessible from land. In Florida, anglers frequently fish both inshore and offshore in paddlecraft. Novice anglers should stick to paddling inshore and only go offshore once they become more experienced. For their safety, anglers fishing from paddlecraft should always be considerate of all other vessels on the water. Great locations to fish inshore include saltmarsh creeks, mangrove shorelines, seagrass flats, oyster bars, bays and estuaries. Fishing from paddlecraft allows anglers to explore new and exciting locations to target various species of fish while enjoying the peaceful serenity of being on the water.
The float rig and fish finder rig, found at MyFWC.com/FishingLines, are only a couple of the many rigging options paddlecraft anglers can try. Rigs and bait options are largely dependent upon the fishing location and species that you’re targeting. Items recommended when fishing from paddlecraft include an anchor, anchor rope, personal flotation device (for each person), audible signaling device, bailer or bilge pump, drain plug and spare plug (if applicable), fender and fender rope (if applicable), navigation lights and bulbs, spotlight, headlamp or flashlight, pole or paddle, drift anchor, deck lines, towline, GPS, two-way radio, first aid kit, fire extinguisher (if required), flares, cell phone, water, food, sunscreen, and bug spray. Learn more by visiting MyFWC.com/Boating and clicking “Boating Safety.”
What are you waiting for? With a wealth of different ways to fish Florida waters, we encourage you to get on the water and catch a Florida memory today! Are you interested in learning more about saltwater angling in the state of Florida? Check out these valuable resources:
Saltwater Fishing - MyFWC.com/Marine
Catch a Florida Memory - CatchaFloridaMemory.com
Learn to Fish - MyFWC.com/FishingAdventure
Saltwater Fishing Tips - MyFWC.com/fishing/saltwater/outreach/how-to-fish/
Where to Saltwater Fish - MyFWC.com/fishing/saltwater/outreach/wheretofish/
Saltwater Fishing Regulations - MyFWC.com/fishing/saltwater/recreational
Fishing Lines Field Guide - MyFWC.com/FishingLines
Additional questions regarding Catch a Florida Memory or saltwater fishing? Contact AnglerRecogntion@MyFWC.com or 850-487-0554.
For helpful how-to videos and much more, find us on YouTube at FWC Saltwater Fishing. Check out the latest catches and see your achievements highlighted by following the Catch a Florida Memory Facebook page, Facebook.com/CatchaFLMemory, and view angler catches and much more on Instagram by following @MyFWC.
Your purchase of fishing equipment, motorboat fuel and a fishing license supports outreach and education efforts, such as this article. Learn more at MyFWC.com/SFR.