Florida Saltwater Fishing
Spearing is a general term that includes bow fishing, gigging, spearfishing (underwater), or the use of any other device to capture a fish by piercing its body. Spearing does not include snagging or snatch hooking by hook and line. Marine species harvested by spearing are subject to the same recreational regulations (e.g., bag limits, size limits, and closed seasons) as those marine species that are harvested by any other type of recreationally-allowed gear. The following is a list of species or groups of species that are prohibited from harvest by all forms of spearing in state waters:
- All prohibited species
- Billfish (all species)
- Crab (blue, stone)
- Caribbean spiny lobster (Panulirus argus)
- Goliath grouper
- Manta ray
- Nassau grouper
- Pompano (Florida and African)
- Red drum
- Sharks (all species including dogfish)
- Spotted eagle ray
- Spotted seatrout
- Marine life species (listed on Marine Life Regulations)
* Volusia County — You may not harvest by spearing in Volusia County inland waters with the exception of flounder and sheepshead, and only by the use of a barbed spear with three or fewer prongs.
* Special Local Laws also prohibit harvest by spearing in specific areas (Visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and select “Saltwater,” “Recreational Regulations,” “Full Text Rule by Species” and “Local Laws.”)
Spearfishing is a specific form of “spearing” 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.” In addition to the harvest species limitations above, you may not spearfish:
- For any species that cannot be harvested by spearing.
- For any species (freshwater or marine) in freshwater. Possession of spearfishing equipment in or on freshwater is also prohibited.
- Within the upper Keys no-spearfishing zone, which includes all state waters from the Miami-Dade County line down to and including Long Key.
- Within 100 yards of any designated public bathing beaches, commercial or public fishing piers, or portions of bridges where fishing is allowed.
- Within 100 feet of the unsubmerged portion of any jetty, except that spearing is allowed along the last 500 yards of any jetty that extends more than 1,500 yards from the shoreline.
- In or on any body of water under the jurisdiction of the Division of Recreation and Parks of the Department of Environmental Protection. Within these areas, the possession of spearfishing equipment is also prohibited except when such equipment is un-loaded and is properly stored upon watercraft passing nonstop through the area.
- Within the no-take areas of the Florida
Keys National Marine Sanctuary (Visit: www.floridakeys.noaa.gov.)
- Within any area where spearfishing is prohibited by a Special Local Law (Visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and select “Saltwater,” “Recreational Regulations,” “Full Text Rule by Species” and “Local Laws.”)
Powerheads, Bangsticks, Rebreathers
Harvest with the use of powerheads, bangsticks or rebreathers is prohibited in state waters, except that rebreathers are allowed for the harvest of lionfish. Within state waters, powerheads and bangsticks can be used for personal protection only, and cannot be used to harvest any species.