Additional regional gear restrictions may apply in your county. For further clarification, contact the local regional offices.
Reef fish gear rules (applies to species marked with ● on the Reef Fish regulations page)
- Gulf of Mexico: These regulations require the use of a dehooking device when recreationally fishing for reef fish in the Gulf of Mexico. All persons aboard a vessel harvesting reef fish must possess and use non-stainless steel circle hooks when using natural baits.
- Atlantic Ocean: Recreational and commercial fishers are required to use dehooking devices as needed while fishing for reef fish.
These rules apply to all members of the reef fish complex including groupers, snappers, amberjacks, red porgy, gray triggerfish, black sea bass, golden tilefish, banded rudderfish, speckled hind and others. For a complete species list, please visit MyFWC.com.
Hook-and-line anglers must tend their gear at all times to prevent people, marine life and shore life from becoming entangled in the line or injured by the hook. Also, it is against the law to intentionally discard any monofilament netting or line into or onto state waters. Monofilament line can entangle birds, marine mammals, marine turtles and fish, often injuring or killing them. Trot lines with 10 or fewer hooks are considered hook and line gear and must be tended at all times while deployed. Species identified with “T” in Saltwater Regulations cannot be harvested with multi-hooks (single hook with two or more points) in conjunction with natural baits.
The following types of nets may be used for recreational purposes in Florida waters:
- Bully nets (for lobster only) no greater than 3 feet in diameter.
- Frame nets and push nets (for shrimp only) no greater than 16 feet in perimeter.
- Hand held landing or dip nets no greater than 96 inches in perimeter.
- Cast nets measuring 14 feet or less stretched length (stretched length is defined as the distance from the horn at the center of the net with the net gathered and pulled taut, to the lead line). Cast nets may be used as harvesting gear for the following species only: black drum, bluefish, cobia, flounder, mullet, Florida pompano, red drum, sheepshead, shrimp, Spanish mackerel, spotted seatrout, weakfish and unregulated species.
- Beach or haul seines measuring no larger than 500 square feet of mesh area, no larger than 2 inches stretched mesh size, not constructed of monofilament, and legibly marked at both ends with the harvester’s name and address if a Florida resident. Non-residents using beach or haul seines for recreational purposes are required to have a commercial saltwater products license and legibly mark the seine at both ends with the harvester’s saltwater products license number. Beach or haul seines may be used as harvesting gear for the following species only: black drum, bluefish, cobia, flounder, mullet, Florida pompano, red drum, sheepshead, shrimp, Spanish mackerel, weakfish and unregulated species.
The use of powerheads, explosives, chemicals or the discharge of firearms into the water to kill or harvest marine life is prohibited in state waters.
Spearing is defined as “the catching or taking of a fish by bowhunting, gigging, spearfishing, or any device used to capture a fish by piercing its body.” Spearing does not include the catching or taking of a fish by a hook with hook-and-line gear or by snagging (snatch hooking). Spearfishing is defined as “the catching or taking of a fish through the instrumentality of a hand or mechanically propelled, single or multi-pronged spear or lance, barbed or barbless, operated by a person swimming at or below the surface of the water.” The use of powerheads, bangsticks, and rebreathers remains prohibited. The following is a list of species which are prohibited for harvest by spearing. Any other species not listed which are managed by the Commission, and those not managed by the Commission are allowed to be harvested by spearing.
- Billfish (all species) • Spotted eagle ray • Sturgeon • Manta ray • Sharks • Bonefish • Tarpon • Goliath grouper • Snook • Blue crab • Nassau grouper • Spotted seatrout • Red drum • Weakfish • Stone crab • Florida Pompano • African pompano • Permit • Tripletail • Lobster• Families of ornamental reef fish (surgeonfish, trumpetfish, angelfish, butterflyfish, porcupinefish, cornetfish, squirrelfish, trunkfish, damselfish, parrotfish, pipefish, seahorse, puffers, triggerfish except gray and ocean)
You may NOT spearfish (excluding bowfishing and gigging):
- Spearfishing of marine and freshwater species in freshwater is prohibited. Possession of a spear gun in or on freshwater is also prohibited.
- Within 100 yards of a public swimming beach, any commercial or public fishing pier, or any part of a bridge from which public fishing is allowed.
- Within 100 feet of any part of a jetty that is above the surface of the sea—except for the last 500 yards of a jetty that extends more than 1,500 yards from the shoreline.
- In Monroe County from Long Key north to the Dade County line.
- For any fish for which spearing is expressly prohibited by law.
- In any body of water under the jurisdiction of the Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Recreation and Parks. (Possession of spearfishing equipment is prohibited in these areas, unless it is unloaded and properly stored.) Fishermen who catch and/or sell fish harvested by spearing are subject to the same rules and limitations that other anglers in the state are required to follow.
- In Monroe County there are additional regulations for spearfishing. For more information call 305-289-2320 or visit www.floridakeys.noaa.gov.
You may NOT spear, bowfish or gig:
- In Volusia County inland waters with the exception of flounder and sheepshead using a spear with three or fewer prongs.
Permit, Florida Pompano and African Pompano
- Permit and African Pompano: Hook and line only in state waters; hook and line or spearing only in federal waters.
- Florida Pompano: Hook and line, cast net and beach or haul seine only in state and federal waters.