Do I need a fishing license???

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Do I need a license or permit?

Florida Residents and Visitors need a Florida huntingfreshwater fishing or saltwater fishing license unless they are a member of one of the groups of people listed below.

A fishing license is required to attempt to take fish.  If you cast your line, catch nothing, catch and release, or catch and keep and you are not a member of one the groups listed below; you need a license.  A saltwater fishing license is also required to attemt to take any native or nonnative marine organisms, such as crabs, lobsters, and marine plants.

Some of these exemptions apply to “Florida Residents” only. Please be aware of the Florida state residency requirements.

These exemptions may also apply to hunting, saltwater fishing, or freshwater fishing, or all three.

You do not need a recreational hunting, freshwater fishing or saltwater fishing license or a *Florida waterfowl, migratory bird, deer, turkey, snook, spiny lobster, archery season, crossbow season, muzzle loading season permit or management area permit if…

  • You are a child under 16 years of age.  (Also exempt from federal duck stamp requirements.)
  • You are a Florida resident age 65 or older possessing proof of age and residency or possessing a Resident Senior Citizen Hunting and Fishing Certificate.  Residents age 65 or older may obtain, at no cost, complimentary hunting and fishing certificates from county tax collectors’ offices.
  • You hunt or freshwater fish in your county of residence on your homestead or the homestead of your spouse or minor child, or if you are a minor child hunting or freshwater fishing on the homestead of your parent.
  • You are a Florida resident certified as totally and permanently disabled and you possess a Florida Resident Disabled Person Hunting and Fishing Certificate.
  • You are a resident who is a member of the Armed Forces of the United States, you are not stationed in this state, and you are home on leave for 30 days or less, upon submission of orders.
  • You are hunting wild hog on private land.
  • You are observing or filming someone else who is fishing or hunting and you are not assisting in the take in any way.  If you help or assist in the take, whether you actively fish or hunt or not, you must have a license.

* These exemptions do not apply for the federal duck stamp.

Quota Hunt Permit Exemptions

You do not need a freshwater fishing license if…

  • You have been accepted as a client for developmental disabilities services by theDepartment of Children and Families .  The department must furnish proof to such clients.
  • You are fishing in a fish pond of 20 acres or less which is located entirely within the private property of its owner.  A fish pond is a man-made pond constructed for the primary purpose of fishing, entirely within the property lines of the owner and with no surface water connection to public waters.
  • You are fishing in a fish pond of 20 acres or more, whose owner has purchased a fish pond license at a fee of $3 per surface acre.
  • You possess a Resident Freshwater Commercial Fishing License
  • You are fishing in the St. Mary’s River or Lake Seminole (but not including tributary creeks in Florida) and have a valid Georgia fishing license.
  • You are freshwater fishing during Free Freshwater Fishing Days
  • You are a resident who is fishing with live or natural bait, using poles or lines that are not equipped with a fishing-line-retrieval mechanism, and you are fishing for noncommercial purposes in your home county.  However, you must have a valid fishing license to fish by any method in a fish management area.

You do not need a saltwater fishing license or a snook or spiny lobster *permit if…

  • You have been accepted as a client for developmental services by the Department of Children and Families .  The department must furnish proof to such clients.
  • You fish from a for-hire vessel (guide, charter, party boat) that has a valid vessel license .
  • You fish from a vessel, the operator of which has a valid vessel license issued in the name of the operator of the vessel.
  • You fish for recreational purposes from a pier with a valid pier saltwater fishing license.
  • You have a valid saltwater products license  or a valid FWC charter captain  license (does not apply to charter boat or U.S. Coast Guard licenses).
  • You are a resident who is fishing for mullet in fresh water and you have a valid Florida resident freshwater fishing license.
  • You are a resident who is saltwater fishing from land or a structure fixed to land who has been determined eligible for the food stamp, temporary cash assistance, or Medicaid Program by the Department of Children and Families (DCF). Proof of identification and a benefit issuance or program identification card issued by DCF or the Agency for Health Care Administration  must be on your person when fishing.
  • You are a resident who is fishing with live or natural bait, using poles or lines that are not equipped with a fishing-line-retrieval mechanism, and you are fishing for noncommercial purposes in your home county.  However, you must have a valid fishing license to fish by any method in a fish management area
  • You are saltwater fishing during Free Saltwater Fishing Days

* These exemptions do not apply to tarpon tags.

National Saltwater Angler Registration

Persons who are listed on the National Saltwater Angler Registry  are required to have a Florida recreational saltwater fishing license unless they are a member of one of the exempted groups listed on this page.

Shoreline saltwater fishing license

Residents who are fishing for a saltwater species (other than mullet in fresh water) from land or from a structure fixed to the land are required to have a no-cost saltwater shoreline fishing license unless they have a regular saltwater fishing license or are exempt.

Hunting Licenses | Freshwater Fishing Licenses | Saltwater Fishing Licenses

Goliath Grouper

Have you been lucky enough to see or catch a Goliath Grouper here in Charlotte Harbor?   Fishing among the seagrass shallows and artificial reefs in and around Boca Grande pass is known for its Tarpon…..  but also the Goliath Grouper!!! If you are lucky enough, they are something to see for sure!  Below is some interesting information provided by Florida State University and a great picture of our friend Capt. Jesse and a Goliath he was able to catch and release.

Goliath grouper is the largest of the western north Atlantic groupers. It can reach about 455 kg (800 lbs) and over 2 m total length. The following features can easily distinguish goliath grouper: broad head, round tail, small eyes, and short dorsal spines. They tend to have a brownish-yellow or greenish-gray mottled pattern and small black spots on their fins. Fish mature at 5 or 6 years of age at about one meter in length. They are relatively long lived, with individuals at least 37 years old found in exploited populations. It is possible, however, that older fish occurred in unfished populations. This species is very vulnerable to cold temperatures and red tide.

 Historically, goliath grouper were found in tropical and subtropical waters of the Atlantic Ocean, both coasts of Florida, and from the Gulf of Mexico down to the coasts of Brazil and the Caribbean. Most adults are found on shallow reefs, the deepest being about 150 feet. They form spawning aggregations of about 100 individuals at consistent sites from July through September. Fish may move up to 100 km from inshore reefs to these spawning sites, which typically occur on rock ledges, isolated patch reefs, and even on ship wrecks.

How about a day away to Cabbage Key?

Have y’all ever been to Cabbage Key? It consists of one hundred acres of tropical vegetation that surround the historic restaurant, inn and cottages. A panoramic view of Pine Island Sound is provided from the front porch of the open-air restaurant situated atop a thirty-eight foot Indian shell mound. There are no cars there, not even a paved road. You will find winding nature trails, picturesque views and relaxation . You can only get there by boat and its a beautiful ride there.  Stay for the day, have lunch, explore the island or escape for the weekend.  If you are interested… please give us a call and we will be sure you have some Goodtimes!

Please click here to go to their website.

Port Charlotte Florida Boat Rental

Keeping your boating fuel cost down

Whether you own a boat or you are renting a boat, I’m sure you will be interested on some gas saving tips to follow while boating here in Charlotte Harbor.  Take Me Fishing .org  has some great tips; just click on the link below and it will give you money saving ideas on the topics I have listed.

These gas saving tips will help you go faster and farther for less.  Reduce gas consumption and save money, what could be better?

•  Steer Smart
•  Put Your Boat on a Diet
•  Props Matter
•  Change the Oil and Plugs
•  Trim Properly
•  Study Your Gauges
•  Keep It Clean

Download PDF article

Understanding Red Tide

Red tide is a common name for a phenomenon also known as an algal bloom (large concentrations of aquatic microorganisms), an event in which estuarine, marine, or fresh water algae accumulate rapidly in the water column, resulting in discoloration of the surface water. It is usually found in coastal areas.

These algae, known as phytoplankton, are single-celled protists, plant-like organisms that can form dense, visible patches near the water’s surface. Certain species of phytoplankton, dinoflagellates, contain photosynthetic pigments that vary in color from green to brown to red.

When the algae are present in high concentrations, the water appears to be discolored or murky, varying in color from purple to almost pink, normally being red or green. Not all algal blooms are dense enough to cause water discoloration, and not all discolored waters associated with algal blooms are red. Additionally, red tides are not typically associated with tidal movement of water, hence the preference among scientists to use the term algal bloom.

Some red tides are associated with the production of natural toxins, depletion of dissolved oxygen or other harmful effects, and are generally described as harmful algal blooms. The most conspicuous effects of these kind of red tides are the associated wildlife mortalities of marine and coastal species of fish, birds, marine mammals, and other organisms

Click here for local, current information

Fishing Lure Suggestions

Fishing Lure Tips

As you understand more about the environment fish live in and how they behave, you will learn which fishing bait or lure is best for specific fish during different seasons of the year. Here are some examples to help you get started

Fishing Jigs

Fishing jigs have weighted metal heads and a tail made of animal hair, soft plastic, feathers or rubber. Anglers sometimes add a minnow or piece of pork rind to the fishing jig’s hook. Fishing jigs can be used to catch nearly every kind of freshwater and many saltwater fish.


Poppers are small fishing lures used with spin-casting tackle. These fishing baits are very good for pan fish and other fish that feed on the surface such as trout and bass. Poppers get their action from a cupped face carved or molded into the front of the lure body.


Spoons are metal lures designed to mimic the action of a swimming baitfish or minnow. They’re one of the most popular of all fishing lures because they’re easy to use and are versatile. Depending on where and how you’re fishing, you’ll want the right spoon – casting, weedless (or topwater), jigging or trolling spoons. Different spoons have different actions. And there are a variety of colors depending on the type of water and species you’re fishing. Ask your tackle shop which ones you need.


Plugs have a plastic or wood body and are designed to be used on top of the water or at depths below the surface. Topwater or floating plugs are designed to float on the surface. Diving plugs have plastic or metal lips so they will dive to a certain depth. These diving plugs are often called crankbaits because they are often used with bait casting reels that operate like a crank.


Spinners have one or more blades that spin, or revolve, around a straight wire shaft. Some spinners have tails made of soft plastic or animal hair.

Plastic Baits

Soft-plastic worms, minnows and crayfish are available in many sizes and colors. You can use them with or without a weight. Sometimes, plastic fishing baits are used with a jig head, spinner or spinner bait. Some plastic baits have a scent built into them that is attractive to fish.

Spinner baits

Spinner baits are lures with one or more blades that spin around a safety pin-type shaft. Most spinner baits have skirts made from animal hair, vinyl, rubber or other materials.

Surface Fishing Lures

Surface fishing lures are made to imitate things like mice, lizards, frogs, larger crawling insects and smaller injured fish. Surface fishing lures usually have a solid body made out of wood or plastic, carry one or two treble hooks and have an eyelet at the front to attach your fishing line.

  • Waddlers get their action from a scooped metal dish attached to the front of the lure body.
  • Fizzers get their action from the angler and from one or more blades attached to the lure body.
    Fizzers get their name from the fizzing noise they create that imitates the buzzing wings of a drowning insect or a freaked-out rodent.

Catching a fish with a surface lure can be a real rush. Sizeable fish can create quite an explosion when they hit the bait.

Blade Fishing Lures

Blade fishing lures are a weighted, fish-shaped blade made with a swinging hook and designed for fishing in deep water.

Buzz Fishing Lures

These are safety-pin lures for surface fishing that have a propeller blade on one piece of wire and a weighted body, skirt and hook on the other.

Crank Lures

A crank lure – more commonly known as a crankbait – is a fish-like hard lure or plug designed to swim under the surface, often made of plastic or wood. Some are combined with replaceable soft plastic tails.

Tube Lures

Made of soft plastic, these tubular lures are fished with special weighted hooks inserted into the hollow body.

Vibrating Lures

Oh, the wonderful world of technology. A vibrating lure contains a tiny motor that sends out a sound-producing vibration to attract fish. The lure body simulates a living creature. A programmed microprocessor is used to randomly operate the motor.

There are many different types of lures out there and once you find the one that works… your more than likely to stick with it.  Hopefully this information will assist you in making your selection.  Thank you to for proving the above information to share with our followers.

Florida Manatees

Goodtimes Boat RentalFlorida Manatees are found in shallow, slow-moving rivers, bays, estuaries and coastal water ecosystems of the southeastern United States. They can live in fresh, brackish, or salt water. Manatees prefer waters that are about one to two meters (3-7 feet) deep. Along the coast, manatees tend to travel in water that is about three to five meters (10-16 feet) deep, and they are rarely seen in areas over six meters (20 feet) deep. This habitat provides them with sheltered living and breeding areas, a steady, easily obtainable food supply and warm water — all of which they need to survive.  There are plenty of manatee to see in Charlotte Harbor… so keep your eyes open, slow down and turn off your engine if they approach your boat; they are incredible creatures to see!
Remember to Look, But Don’t Touch. For their own protection, wild animals need to stay wild to survive.

Wacky Rigs

Fishing the wacky rig is simple and can be done by virtually anyone. It is a very effective way to catch fish and quality ones at that! With you being able to keep the bait in the strike zone longer, the fish are sure to hit your bait!

Once you cast out your bait, the falling action of the bait is unbelievable and the flutter of it just triggers the fish alone, not to mention your retrieval action you will create! once your bait hits bottom, reel in the slack and pop up your bait with a few quick short upward flicks of your rod. Make sure not to do big jerks, you only want quick short flicks, mostly created with your wrist. After a few flicks, begin to let your line fall back down and reel in the slack again and repeat. The Fish will generally ambush your bait on  the fall, and you may not even feel it at some time, so remember to keep a good eye on your high vis line!

There are many other techniques to fish this rig and you will come across some more as you begin to get used to the bait. This bait is good all year long for me and I always seem to catch a decent fish on it!

So go down to your local tackle dealer and go get some gear to begin wacky rigging!

Lets help keep up our fish population!

Good anglers know that fish are food and should never be wasted. Never keep more fish than you can use. If you catch a fish that’s too small to eat or one that’s under the legal or minimum size, it should be released quickly and carefully.

Releasing a fish and watching it swim away unharmed is a wonderful feeling. If you want to show your fish to others, take a picture before releasing it. The picture will bring you many fond memories and the fish can bring enjoyment to another angler.

Today, some species of fish exist in limited numbers. More and more anglers know this and participate in “catch and release” fishing taking only what they need for food and releasing the rest unharmed. This makes it possible for other anglers to enjoy catching them again.
Some fish take longer to become adults and may not spawn (lay their eggs) until they are 3 to 7 years old and then they spawn only once a year.

You should release these slow-to-mature fish. They include bass, lake trout, muskellunge, northern pike, sturgeon, walleye and most large game fish. Catching and releasing these species is a good practice.

Other fish species mature earlier and spawn more than once a year. For example, bluegill and many other pan fish spawn when they are two to three years old.

Until recently, few anglers realized that the populations of certain game fish in the large oceans could become threatened. However, to increase fish populations, fish hatcheries are raising and stocking fish in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans and the Gulf of Mexico. Today, redfish, snook, sea trout, striped bass, and other saltwater fish are being raised for stocking.

Saltwater Fishin’

Saltwater fishing is as much about the adventure as it is about the fish. Many of the sport fish species can be big and mean, and the water can be big and bad. From shallow saltwater flats to deep-ocean fishing, saltwater anglers chase everything from dainty speckled trout to massive blue marlin in some of the most intense and inspirational surroundings on earth.

Saltwater fishing can be as simple or as complex as you wish. Beginners can start fishing from the beach with basic tackle and a handful of saltwater rigs, while overachievers can spend endless time and energy on high-tech gear and high-powered fishing boats.

Whether you live along the 10,000 miles of U.S. coastline or are visiting the ocean for the weekend, there are plenty of opportunities to wet a line. And plenty of fish in the sea.