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Saltwater Fishing

Recreational Fishing Information

Special Provisions

Please see the “Fishing Licenses” section (pg. 30) for more information on Mississippi recreational saltwater sportfishing licenses and Mississippi’s free saltwater sportfishing days (pg. 31). A recreational saltwater fishing license is required for all methods of recreational finfish harvest.

It shall be unlawful for recreational fishermen to sell or offer for sale any seafood caught in or landed in the state of Mississippi, and only licensed commercial fishermen may catch and sell seafood. Furthermore, it shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to purchase, buy, barter for or trade for any seafood caught in or landed in the state of Mississippi that was caught or landed by a recreational fisherman or that was transported into the state of Mississippi by a recreational fisherman.

It is lawful for any restaurant to possess, prepare and serve lawfully recreationally caught marine finfish to the persons who caught the finfish (MS Code § 49-7-56).

Recreational fishermen not fishing in Mississippi waters may transport and land fish that meet the minimum size and creel limits of the waters in which they were legally caught. Said recreational fishermen must possess a valid saltwater sportfishing license as may be required in the waters where the fish were caught. In the absence of minimum size or creel limits in another jurisdiction, Mississippi law will prevail.

Charter and Head Boats

Persons on a licensed charter boat or head boat may possess a two-day bag limit only when complying with the following conditions and only for the species listed in subsection H as listed below:

  1. Charter boats must be less than 100 gross tons and meet U.S. Coast Guard requirements to carry six or fewer passengers.
  2. Head boats must hold a valid certificate of inspection issued by the Coast Guard.
  3. The charter boat or head boat must possess a federal reef fish permit if fishing for reef fish or in possession of reef fish in federal waters.
  4. The charter boat or head boat must have two Coast Guard-certified captains aboard (as required by Coast Guard regulations for trips over 12 hours).
  5. Each person aboard the charter boat or head boat must possess a certificate issued in the name of the chartering company, stating the time and date the charter left the dock, and the trip must be in excess of 24 hours.
  6. For-hire vessel captains and crew are prohibited from retaining a recreational bag limit of Red Snapper, Greater Amberjack and Spotted Seatrout.
  7. King and Spanish Mackerel, snappers (Red, Vermilion, Lane, Gray, Mutton, Yellowtail, Schoolmaster, Cubera, Dog, Mahogany, Queen, Blackfin, Silk and Wenchman), groupers (Misty, Snowy, Yellowedge, Warsaw, Speckled Hind, Red, Yellowfin, Black, Gag, Scamp, Yellowmouth, Rock Hind and Red Hind), Hogfish, Gray Triggerfish, Lesser Amberjack, Banded Rudderfish, Almaco Jack, Goldface Tilefish, Anchor Tilefish, Blackline Tilefish, Blueline Tilefish and Greater Amberjack.

It is unlawful for charter or recreational fishermen to possess fish with heads, tails or flesh removed until landed at the final destination; however, fish may be gutted, scaled or have the gills removed. Any charter or recreational fishermen fishing outside of state territorial waters over 24 continuous hours may possess filleted fish in Mississippi waters, but only if a float plan is filed with the MDMR in advance and a signed copy is aboard the vessel. Float plans are available at the MDMR during regular working hours and must be submitted prior to the vessel’s departure on the fishing trip. A float plan does not allow anglers to possess a two-day catch limit.

Mississippi Sport Fish Acoustic Tagging Project

Biologists with MDMR are tracking Red Drum, Southern Flounder and Cobia in Biloxi Bay, Pascagoula Bay and Mississippi Sound using acoustic telemetry. Small acoustic transmitters are surgically implanted in the body cavity of Red Drum and Cobia, while transmitters are externally affixed to Southern Flounder. All acoustically tagged fish are also externally tagged with blue dart tags for recapture reporting purposes. The goal of this project is to gain a more robust understanding of seasonal movements and habitat use in MS state waters to enhance the management of these recreationally important species. Please release and report tagged fish by calling MDMR at 228-374-5000. Include the ID number on the dart tag, length of the fish, capture date and location of the catch. Your reporting efforts will greatly help to collect data.