ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Freshwater vs. Saltwater Florida Fishing

Updated on November 23, 2009
Small Mouth Bass
Small Mouth Bass
A Beautiful Peninsula
A Beautiful Peninsula

An Abundance of Water

Here in south Florida we have the best of both worlds when it comes to fishing. There are approximately 7, 700 lakes, 11,000 miles of rivers and streams, and 1,197 statute miles of coastline. Florida is home to the 700 square miles of Lake Okeechobee, which annually celebrates the Speckled Perch Festival and is a great place to go for many different types of Bass. Our longest river, St. Johns, stretches 273 miles and has recently seen an influx of Largemouth Bass and Redfish. To the east we are blessed by the beautiful Atlantic Ocean, known as the fishing capital of the world and a great place to join a Sailfish, Wahoo or Kingfish tournament. Our west coast is adorned by the docile Gulf of Mexico, here you might want to take on a Shark, Tuna or Spanish Mackerel.

If you are curious about Florida’s geography, you can visit www.stateofflorida.com .

Don't Forget Your License
Don't Forget Your License

Licensing and Limits

If looking to catch a fish in Florida you must first obtain the proper fishing license. Licenses can be purchased at any sporting goods store, bait shop, Wal-Mart and K-Mart or the county tax collector’s office. Also, learn the bag and size limits for the type of fishing you plan to do. The Florida Game Warden does not play around. If you are caught fishing without the proper license or taking fish beyond the limit you will be heavily fined and may possibly go to jail. The following information is good for the 2009 - 2010 fishing year.

The freshwater license will cost you $17.00 and is good for one year. With this license you may fish freshwater areas either from the shore or on a boat. Fish can be taken with a pole and line or rod and reel.

Saltwater licensing is broken down into subcategories. A one year shoreline license is $9.00. To fish from either shore or boat will cost you $17.00. During Snook and Lobster seasons you must obtain special permits. The Snook permit is $25.00 and the lobster permit is $10.00. If you are looking for extreme sports fishing then you will probably want to add a Tarpon Tag to your license which will cost you $51.50 and can only be purchased at the tax collector’s office. Saltwater fish may also be caught with a pole and line or rod and reel. Net fishing of any kind or using explosives to fish is illegal.

If you are a first time Florida fisher, I suggest starting with freshwater. The bag limits are much higher and size of the fish is not such a hindrance to remember. For example, in Florida, you can keep up to five Black Bass 22 inches or longer, 50 Panfish, 25 Black Crappie and 20 Striped Bass to name a few. With freshwater fishing you can have a lot of fun and take home a bounty of fish.

If you plan to go saltwater fishing, I recommend either purchasing a Florida saltwater fishing guide or visiting www.myfwc.com and printing the saltwater chart. Many of the saltwater fish such as King or Wahoo have a two per person per day bag limit and must be over 24 inches in length, but Amberjack and Cobia have a one per person per day and differing size limits. Just be on the safe side and make sure you know what you have caught before you try to take it home.

Rods, Reel and Line

With freshwater fishing you only need a lightweight 5 - 6 foot rod wound with 6 -10 lb. test. The lighter the equipment is, amounts to the harder the fight and the more enjoyment the fishing experience will be. I prefer to use a Shakespeare 5 ft. 6 in. freshwater rod with open spinning reel. It is extremely lightweight and the price is right being one of the less expensive brands. I found using this type of rod and reel combo to be sufficient for all of my freshwater fishing.

Since most of the saltwater game is significantly bigger than what you will find in a lake or river, using a medium to medium-heavy weight rod is ideal. PennÒ saltwater reels are quite popular, easy to maintain and can handle big game. I am partial to 50 lb. camouflage monofilament line for deep sea and 20 lb. SpiderwireÒ for onshore fishing.

I have heard that more and more avid anglers are choosing to use braided line for saltwater fishing. With braided line you can choose a heavier test and spool more on the reel. I haven’t personally tried braided line yet, but when I do I’m sure I’ll write a review.

Bait, Lures and Hooks

We’ve all heard that grub worms, earth worms and night crawlers are great freshwater baits, but for variety try using insects such as grasshoppers, caterpillars or sand fleas. I have found that freshwater fish are not as picky as saltwater. I have caught Tilapia and Speck off of small bits of hot dog, bread pieces and my personal favorite peanut butter and crackers. Whether freshwater or saltwater fishing, I usually prefer live or frozen bait. However, there are a few freshwater lures that are quite effective when paired with the rod and reel that I use. I have found jigs, small spoons and spinners are great for me because they require little work on my part, simply cast and reel. If you wish for more action while fishing try using poppers or flies on fly rods and spincasters, or plugs and fizzers on a bait casting reel.

As I said, I normally use live or frozen bait when fishing. For onshore saltwater fishing, jumbo shrimp and medium sized greenies are my bait of choice. I have hand only minimal luck with sand fleas. When out to sea, I use either frozen Ballyhoo, Ribbonfish or Squid. I do use lures when Snook fishing and have had tremendous success with rattletraps, large spoons and red/white feathers.

The circle hook is rapidly becoming a more favored fishing hook. It is more conducive to fish survival in a catch and release situation. The circle hook does not get trapped in the stomach and is easier to remove. Being that the fish is hooked through the corner of the mouth or jaw, the fish tends to put up a much harder fight.

There's Nothing Like FIshing

Whether you choose to relax on a John boat Bass fishing or roughing choppy seas to catch a massive Cobia, fishing is exhilarating and therapeutic. So get out there and enjoy yourself!!

Freshwater or Saltwater You Decide

Which type of fishing do you prefer?

See results

Fishing Atlantic Coast (Fort Pierce)

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Shadow_Malakai profile image

      Shadow_Malakai 

      7 years ago from Somewhere in Florida

      To be precise, a Shore Fishing License with the FWC is free, an Off-Shore (a.k.a. fish from boat) is $17.00 for both the shore and off-shore license. If you plan on doing some fishing in Florida, visit the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's website at www.myfwc.com for more info on the seasons and sizes of allowable fish that you can keep.

    • Michael Shane profile image

      Michael Shane 

      8 years ago from Gadsden, Alabama

      Great hub!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)