Sarasota Bay Estuary Program - Sarasota, Florida - Preserving Sarasota's Water Heritage for the Future Return To SBEP Home Page Sarasota Bay Estuary Program - Sarasota, Florida - Preserving Sarasota's Water Heritage for the Future
SBEP Habitat Restoration
About SBEP
Media Center
HAbitat Restoration
The Water Connection
Neighborhoood Action Resources
Educational Outreach
Get Involved!

SBEP Recreational Fishing


          The Future of Fishing Depends on A Clean Environment & That Depends On You!

Florida is the "Fishing Capital of the World" largely because Florida carefully manages its valuable marine resources. 

Fishing Regulations
Boating and Angling Guide to Sarasota County

Florida's new shoreline fishing license requirement takes effect Aug. 1, 2009. Resident anglers who fish for saltwater species from shore or a structure affixed to shore must have a $9 shoreline fishing license or a $17 regular saltwater fishing license.

Nonresident anglers need a regular nonresident saltwater fishing license to fish from shore or from a vessel. Short-term and annual nonresident fishing licenses cost between $17 and $47.

Additional fees may apply to all fishing licenses, depending on where an angler purchases the license.

The shoreline requirement allows exemptions for resident anglers who fish in their home county, using live or natural bait, on a line or pole without a line-retrieval mechanism. This exemption does not apply to anglers who use nets, traps, gigs, spears or who gather seafood by hand or any type of gear other than hook and line.

Other exemptions apply for anglers who qualify for temporary cash assistance, food stamps or Medicaid. Also, resident anglers who are age 65 or older and children under age 16 may fish without a license. Active-duty military personnel may fish without a license while home on leave in Florida.

Licensed fishing piers have licenses that cover everyone who fishes from them.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission suggests the $17 regular saltwater fishing license may be the best option for most resident anglers unless they are certain they will fish only from shore or a structure affixed to shore all year.

By creating the shoreline fishing license, the Florida Legislature arranged for Florida anglers to be exempt from a more expensive federal angler registration requirement that will take effect in 2011.

More information about fishing license requirements is available at

Ethical Angling

Commit yourself to ethical angling.  The future of your sport depends on it!

• Help fish stocks increase through catch and release.

• Limit your take and vary your target.

• Observe regulations and report violations.

• Only keep fish for food.

• Share what you know to help the sport grow

Catch and Release - A fish is too valuable to catch only once!

By adopting just a few simple habits, recreational anglers can greatly increase the chances that the fish they catch and release will survive. This means each and every angler can positively influence the future of Florida’s fishing stocks by striving for 100 percent survival of released fish.  Download a PDF of Florida Saltwater Fishes and Catch and Release Guidelines.

For more information about catch and release fishing, proper fish handling techniques, and the new Gulf of Mexico reef fish requirements, visit the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission OR Sea Grant Florida.  Download the catch and release pdf.


Since its inception in 1990, The Mote Marine Laboratory Reef Fish Tagging Project coverage has grown from sites off Madeira Beach and Sarasota, Florida, to encompass most of the west coast of Florida. This program is unique in that it has been supported at one time or another by all the sectors of the reef fish fishery. It was started with funds from the commercial fishers of the Southwest Offshore Fishing Association (SOFA). More recently the program has continued on donations from the Sarasota Sports Fishing Association and the Florida Sport Fishing Association and volunteers from the recreational sector. For more information visit

Fishing Guides

For a list of fishing charters in the Sarasota and Bradenton areas visit

Monofilament Recycling  -  It is illegal to improperly discard fishing line!
Discarded monofilament fishing line is hazardous to everyone and everything.  Every year it casuses injury and death to many kinds of marine wildlife.  Animals may swallow fishing line, resulting in illness or death.  Wildlife may also become entangled and as a result drown, starve or lose a limb.  Fishing line is not just a problem for wildlife.  It can also be a threat to divers and boaters.  Divers can drown if they become entangled and entangled propellers may result in costly boat repairs. To learn what you can do to keep our waterways clean and how to properly dispose of monofilament line download this PDF.

Additional Resources

Florida Fish Consumption Guide for Mercury

Boater and Diver's Alert! - Report Marine Invaders

Remember - You Are the Solution to Stopping Marine Pollution!