As of 2015, most adult residents and visitors must purchase a Florida fishing license before attempting to catch any fish. Many species of saltwater fish also have minimum size requirements, so people who catch smaller specimens must release them back into the water.
Some people are exempt from license requirements. These include children under the age of 16 and Florida residents over the age of 65. People with physical or developmental disabilities are also generally exempt, as are some U.S. military personnel. Some fishing done on private land is also exempt, but the exemptions generally only apply to lakes that are located entirely within private property.
Saltwater fishing regulations apply to the coast of Florida. This coast extends 3 nautical miles into the Atlantic and 9 nautical miles into the Gulf of Mexico. People who are fishing beyond that need to learn the federal laws and regulations. People also need to check Florida's boating laws, as some types of boats may need special licenses or permits.
Most saltwater fish can be caught all year, but there are some exceptions, such as snook and red snapper. There are limits on how many fish people using recreational licenses can catch, and these may vary yearly. The limits may also be different depending on whether the fish are caught in the Gulf or the Atlantic. Fishermen always need to check current take limits and other seasonal information.