Florida Saltwater Fishing
Additional regional gear restrictions may apply in your county.
Reef fish gear rules
(applies to species marked with ● on Reef Fish)
- 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 non-offset 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. (New) When fishing for reef fish using hook-and-line with natural baits from a vessel, non-stainless steel, non-offset circle hooks are required N. of 28 degrees N. latitude and non-stainless steel hooks are required S. of 28 degrees N. latitude
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” 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 and not made of monofilament.
- Frame nets and push nets (for shrimp only) no greater than 16 feet in perimeter and not made of monofilament. Frame nets cannot be used in state waters off Dade County.
- 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).
- 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.
- Cast nets and 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 (see Coastal Species).
- No more than two nets can be fished from any vessel and no more than one net can be fished by any person not on a vessel.
The use of powerheads, explosives, chemicals or the discharge of firearms to kill or harvest marine life is prohibited in state waters.