How to Get Started With Fishing in Florida

Fishing is the kind of sport that is both fun and relaxing all at once. There are few things more satisfying than feeling the tug of a line and reeling in that big one. Even on days where you catch nothing at all, fishing can bring you peace of mind by being out on the water.

Still, it’s always more fun to go fishing and have a tale to tell about the fish you caught. Whether you throw them back or prepare them for your next meal, fishing is a great chance to get outside. If you’re wondering how you can get started with fishing in Florida, there are a few things to know before you cast your line into the water.

People have been fishing since ancient times. Learning to fish will give you a great way to enjoy the outdoors either on your own or with friends and family. First, you’ll need a fishing license, the right rod and reel, hooks, and bait, and then you can get started.

Get a Florida Fishing License

It is important to obtain a fishing license in the state of Florida. There are different kinds of licenses for different types of fishing. A saltwater recreational license is needed when you are fishing for any saltwater species in state or federal waters, while a freshwater recreational license is required for freshwater. If you plan on fishing for many years to come, it is more economical and convenient to get a lifetime license. You can also get a combo license for both freshwater and saltwater.

Special permits are required for certain species too. If you plan to fish for tarpon, snook, reef fish, lobster, or go shore-based shark fishing, you will need to acquire one of those. 

Know Your Rods and Reels

With fishing, there are six main kinds of reels. These include the spincast, spinning, bait-casting, fly, conventional, and cane. All rods for offshore fishing should be stiff for the best results. For inshore fishing, you should choose those that provide enough give to them.

The right size rod and reel will depend on the style of fishing you’ll be doing as well as the species of fish that you’re chasing. If you plan on different fishing styles and species, you’ll likely want to have a few different rods and reels to use.

Type of Hooks

You’ll also need to decide on which hooks to use. Generally, the circle hook is encouraged because it helps released fish have a higher survival rate. These hook the fish in the mouth and reduce mortality. If you’re targeting reef fish species with natural bait, these hooks are required.

The size of the hook is an important consideration when you get started fishing in Florida. The size of the hook gets bigger as the number assigned to it gets smaller. Your hook size should match your bait and the size of the fish you are targeting.

Which Bait Should You Use?

When you’re fishing in Florida, you’ll want to consider the bait options available. For saltwater fishing, artificial and natural baits are used. Fish find their food by detecting the scent, sound, and movement. Artificial lures can imitate the colors, sounds, shapes, and scents, but for that latter point, natural bait is best.

Fish also prefer natural bait. You may find it difficult to catch and maintain the bait, though it is much easier to purchase it before you head out for a day of fishing. You can use live shrimp by inserting the circle hook through the head, so the shrimp stays alive.

Live crabs are another option though you’ll need to be careful with their sharp claws. One wrong move, and you’ll get pinched. Other types of live bait that are used can include live baitfish that you hook across the nose. Things like pinfish, mullet, and bonito are often used.

If you don’t want to use live bait, you can use natural bait in the form of cut squid or fish. However, there are other options that work great and are sustainable. Chum made from iguanas is becoming popular because iguana meat attracts fish.

Because iguanas are an invasive species in Florida, using them as chum makes for a sustainable way to dispose of these pests. Commercial fishermen are using it with great success, though if you check a fish chum and bait provider in Florida, you’ll be able to find it there too.

Once you have these essentials, you can find a place to fish with friends and family. Since Florida has so many bodies of water all around, you’re sure to find a favorite place to reel fish in for catch and release or for tonight’s dinner!

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