Satwater fishing in Florida is lots of fun. There are some things one should know about salt water fishing regulations before setting out to catch some fish in Florida or here in the Florida Keys and Key West.
There are many laws and regulations that govern our fisheries here to maintain and manage them for future generations.
Going fishing with a trusted Key West fishing guide or fishing charter one need not worry about these regulations as the captains and guides will make sure you stay within the guidelines and keep you out of trouble.
Here are some tid bits from the FWC (Fish And Wildlife Commission).
Fish handling rules in a nutshell:
- if a fish is not allowed to be harvested it must immediately be returned to the water free, alive, and unharmed.
- if a fish is allowed but has a size limit it is okay to temporarily posses it in order to measure it; if it is undersized, see rule #1.
- it is okay to take a picture of a fish that is not allowed to be harvested while it is in the process of being released.
- it is illegal to hold or tow a fish that is not allowed to be harvested in order to weigh or measure it for a tournament or record.
- use common sense when releasing fish; if it is too dangerous to remove a hook, cut the line.
- Everyone fishing for reef fish in the Gulf must possess and use non-stainless steel circle hooks when natural baits are used. It is likely that this same rule will shortly go into effect in the Atlantic as well.
- Everyone fishing for reef fish in the Gulf and the Atlantic must possess and use dehooking tools to remove hooks embedded in reef fish.
- Everyone fishing for reef fish in the Gulf must possess and use venting tools to deflate the swim bladders to release the fish with minimal damage.
- Check out the Key West Fishing Report to see what is happening in Key West for fishing this week.
- Also check out the Florida Keys Fishing Report to see what is happening all up and down the Florida Keys for fishing.