Florida Saltwater Fish Size Limits: Top 50 Game Fish List For Anglers


Florida Saltwater Fish Size Limits Feature

You finally got a fish on your line! You reel it in and you’re unsure if it’s too small or how many you can keep. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered!

Here is a list of the Florida saltwater fish size limits that include the most popular game fish and a quick rundown of the fishing regulations for recreational saltwater fishing in Florida.

This article will cover:

  • Florida saltwater size limit definitions
  • List of Florida game bag and size limits
  • Florida saltwater fishing license requirements
  • License-free fishing days
  • An overview of the Fish Rules App

Let’s have a closer look and continue reading to find out more!

This material is for recreational fishing use only and does not apply to commercial or guided fishing.

Table of contents

Florida Saltwater Fish Limit Definitions

Saltwater fishing size limits are designed to maintain optimum yields for recreational anglers statewide. In Florida saltwater fishing, bag limits are established and bagged by species and, in some cases, size restrictions.

Each is regulated and enforced by the Florida Parks And Wildlife Commission. Anglers are subject to fines for fishing and conservation violations.

  • Bag limit – The maximum number of fish that a person may catch in one day or per period. It’s usually limited to per person, per day, and on rare occasions, it includes a daily vessel limit.
  • Minimum size limit – The saltwater fishing regulations state that the fish must be larger than a certain size in order to be taken. These rules allow fish to reach a size where they can reproduce before being harvested.
  • Slot limit – Slot limits are similar to the minimum size restriction in that there is both a maximum and minimum size limit, as well as only fish that fit within the slot may be taken. This classification helps developing young fish mature while also shielding larger spawning fish.
  • Season – Times of year that are open or closed to saltwater fishing for a certain species. A closed season is used to protect fish from harvest during sensitive times of the year such as spawning periods or times of heavy fishing.

Reef Fishing Regulations

Reef species are all highly prized by anglers. They include king mackerel, grouper, and snapper. The license to catch these is a saltwater license with reef endorsement.

Observing these reef regulations apply in federal waters and state waters is required for fishing from all vessels.

Gulf Of Mexico

When saltwater fishing recreationally with hook and line gear on the Gulf of Mexico’s reef, fishing regulations require that you use de-hooking equipment. All persons on board a boat harvesting reef fish using natural baits must utilize non-stainless steel non-offset circle hooks.

Atlantic Ocean

Recreational and commercial fishers who target reef fish must use dehooking equipment as needed when hook and line fishing. Non-stainless steel, non-offset circle hooks are required.

All Prohibited Fish Species

We have the list of prohibited species conveniently listed here for you. It is illegal to possess fish caught of these species and harvesting these species is strictly prohibited. There are associated fines for violations.

  • Prohibited Harvest Species: Goliath Grouper (Jewfish), Nassau Grouper, Sawfish, Atlantic Angel Shark, Basking Shark, Bigeye Sand Tiger Shark, Bigeye Sixgill Shark, Bigeye Thresher Shark, Bignose Shark, Caribbean Reef Shark, Caribbean Sharpnose Shark, Dusky Shark, Galapagos Shark, Lemon Shark, Longfin Mako Shark, Narrowtooth Shark, Night Shark, Silky Shark, Sand Tiger Shark, Sandbar Shark, Sevengill Shark, Sixgill Shark, Smalltail Shark, Spiny Dogfish, Whale Shark, White Shark, Tiger Shark, Greater, Scalloped and Smooth Hammerhead Shark, Manta Ray, Devil Ray, Spotted Eagle Ray, Longbill Spearfish, Mediterranean Spearfish, Sturgeon
  • Daily Bag: 0, catch and release only; harvest prohibited.

All Unregulated Fish Species

These are not regulated by size or bag limits. However, it is illegal to harvest and/or possess these fish in Florida state waters without a license.

  • Unregulated species include: Ladyfish, bonito, menhaden, white grunt, southern stingray, gulf kingfish (whiting), pinfish, Atlantic croaker, jack crevalle, cero mackerel, hardhead catfish, gafftopsail catfish, lionfish.
  • No bag or minimum size limit

Related Topics

Florida Game Fish List And The Minimum Size Limit

The following list includes all bag limits and minimum sizes. If there are different state regulations for Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico waters, it is noted. Otherwise ‘state’ is indicated.

Occasionally, there are county-level restrictions that are also noted. Daily vessel limits are indicated where enforced.

Amberjack, Greater (Greater Amberjack)

  • Atlantic / Gulf Daily Limit: one fish per person per day
  • Atlantic Min Length: 28-inch fork length
  • Gulf Min Length: 34-inch fork length

Amberjack, Lesser & Banded Rudderfish

  • Atlantic / Gulf Daily Limit: 5 aggregate for both species
  • Atlantic / Gulf Minimum size limit: 14-inch fork length
  • Atlantic / Gulf Maximum size limit: 22-inch fork length

Barracuda, Great

  • Regulated locations: Collier, Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, and Martin counties
  • Regulated Daily Limit: 2 per harvester per day; 6 per vessel with one oversize allowed
  • Other Daily Limit: Zero daily bag
  • Regulated Minimum Size Limit: 15 inches
  • Regulated Maximum Size Limit: 36 inches
  • Other Length: None

Blue Runner

  • State Daily Limit: 100 per person
  • Min Length: No limit

Bluefish

  • Fishing regulations state it must remain in whole condition until landed ashore heads and tails intact whether live or dead
  • Atlantic Daily Limit: 3 per person
  • Gulf Daily Limit: 10 (includes Monroe County)
  • Min Length: 12-inch fork length

Bonefish

  • Daily Limit: 0, catch and release only; harvest prohibited live or dead
  • Hook and line only. Spearing Prohibited

Cobia (Ling)

  • Atlantic / Daily Limit: one fish per person; 6 daily vessel limit
  • Gulf Daily Limit: one fish per person; 2 daily vessel limit
  • Atlantic / Gulf Min Length: 33-inch fork length

Dolphinfish (Mahi-Mahi)

  • Fishing regulations state it must remain in whole condition until landed ashore heads and tails intact whether live or dead
  • Atlantic / Gulf Daily Limit: 10 per angler; 60 daily vessel limit
  • Atlantic Min Length: 20-inch fork length
  • Gulf Min Length: None

Drum, Black (Black Drum)

  • Fishing regulations state it must remain in whole condition until landed ashore heads and tails intact
  • Atlantic / Gulf Daily Limit: 5 per person
  • Atlantic / Gulf Min Length: 14 inches total length
  • Atlantic / Gulf Max Length: 24 inches (May possess one oversize)
Redfish Or Red Drum

Drum, Red (Red Fish, Bull Red)

  • Fishing regulations state fish must remain in whole condition until landed ashore heads and tails intact whether live or dead
  • NE Zone Daily Limit: 2 per person
  • NW and S Zone Daily Limit: one per person
  • Off Water Daily Limit: 6 per person
  • Manatee County: Catch and release; harvest prohibited
  • Min Length: 18 inches total length
  • Max Length: 27 inches total length
  • Gigging, spearing, snatching prohibited.
  • Harvest in Federal waters prohibited.

Flounder

  • Fishing regulations state it must remain in whole condition until landed ashore heads and tails intact
  • State Daily Limit: 5 per person, (zero daily from Oct 16 – Nov 30, Closed season)
  • State Min Length: 14 inches total length
  • May be harvested by spearing. Snatching prohibited.

Grouper / Tilefish Aggregate Bag Limit

  • Atlantic Bag Limit: 3 per harvester per day in any grouper/tilefish combination
  • Gulf Bag Limit: 4 per harvester per day in any grouper/tilefish combination
  • Seasons – The species is open year-round unless otherwise indicated

Grouper, Black (Black Grouper)

  • Fishing regulations state it must remain in whole condition until landed ashore heads and tails intact
  • Atlantic Daily Limit: 1 per person, (except Jan 1 – Apr 30, Closed season)
  • Gulf Daily Limit: 4 per person
  • Atlantic / Gulf Min Length: 24 inches total length

Grouper, Gag (Gag Grouper)

  • Fishing regulations state it must remain in whole condition until landed ashore heads and tails intact
  • Atlantic Daily Limit: one per person, (except Jan 1 – Apr 30, Closed season)
  • Gulf Daily Limit: 2 per person
  • Atlantic / Gulf Min Length: 24 inches total length

Grouper, Red (Red Grouper)

  • Fishing regulations state it must remain in whole condition until landed ashore heads and tails intact
  • Atlantic Daily Limit: 3 per person, (except Jan 1 – Apr 30, Closed season)
  • Gulf Daily Limit: 2 per person
  • Atlantic / Gulf Min Length: 20 inches

Grouper, Scamp

  • Atlantic Daily Limit: 3 per person, (zero daily bag from Jan 1 – Apr 30, Closed season)
  • Gulf Daily Bag Limit: 4 per person
  • Atlantic Min Length: 20 inches
  • Gulf Min Length: 16 inches

Grouper, Snowy

  • Atlantic Daily Bag: one per person
  • Gulf Daily Limit: 4 per person
  • Atlantic / Gulf Min Length: None

Grouper, Warsaw / Speckled Hind

  • Atlantic / Gulf Daily Limit: 1 per vessel per day for each species
  • Atlantic / Gulf Min Length: None

Grouper, Yellowfin / Yellowmouth

  • Atlantic Daily Limit: 3 per person, (zero daily bag from Jan 1 – Apr 30, Closed season)
  • Gulf Daily Bag: 4 per person
  • Atlantic / Gulf Min Length: 20 inches

Hogfish

  • Atlantic Daily Limit: 1 person, (open season May-Oct, Monroe County restriction)
  • Gulf Daily Limit: 5 per person
  • Atlantic Min Length: 16-inch fork length
  • Gulf Min Length: 14-inch fork length

Mackerel, King (King Mackerel )

  • Fishing regulations state it must remain in whole condition until landed ashore heads and tails intact
  • Atlantic Daily Possession Limit: 2 per person (excludes Monroe County)
  • Gulf Daily Possession Limit: 3 per person(includes Monroe County)
  • Min Length: 24-inch fork length

Mackerel, Spanish (Spanish Mackerel)

  • Fishing regulations state it must remain in whole condition until landed ashore heads and tails intact
  • State Daily Possession Limit: 15 per person
  • State Min Length: 12 inches
Blue Marlin

Marlin, Blue

  • State Daily Possession Limit: 1 per person for Billfish aggregate bag limit
  • State Min Length: 99 inches

Marlin, White

  • State Daily Possession Limit: 1 per person for Billfish aggregate bag limit
  • State Min Length: 66 inches

Mullet, Striped / Black & Silver

  • Daily Limit: 50; 100 per vessel Feb – Aug; 50 per vessel Sept – Jan
  • Min Length: No limit

Permit

  • Special Permit Zone Daily Limit: 1; 2 daily vessel limit
  • Other Daily Limit: 2
  • Special Permit Zone Min Length: 22-inch fork length
  • Other minimum size limit: 11 inches
  • Other maximum size limit: 22 inches
  • Spearing, snatching prohibited

Pompano, African

  • State Daily Limit: 2 per angler; 2 per vessel total
  • State Min Length: 24-inch fork length
  • Spearing Prohibited

Pompano, Florida (Florida Pompano)

  • Fishing regulations state it must remain in whole condition until landed ashore heads and tails intact
  • Line and hook gear, cast net and beach, or haul seine ONLY, spearing prohibited
  • State Daily Limit: 6
  • State Min Length: 11-inch fork length

Red Porgy

  • Atlantic Daily Limit: 3
  • Gulf Daily Limit: 100 pounds
  • Atlantic Min Length: 14 inches
  • Gulf Min Length: None

Sailfish

  • State Daily Limit: 1 for Billfish aggregate bag limit
  • State Min Length: 63 inches

Sea Bass, Black

  • Atlantic Daily Limit: 7
  • Gulf Daily Limit: 100 pounds
  • Atlantic Min Length: 13 inches
  • Gulf Min Length: 10 inches

Seatrout, Spotted (Speckled Trout)

Daily Bag:

  • Fishing regulations state spotted seatrout must remain in whole condition until landed ashore heads and tails intact.
  • 3 per person per day: W.P. Zone (Closed Feb)
  • 5 per person per day: B.B. Zone
  • 3 per person per day: S. Zone
  • 2 per person per day: C.E. Zone (Closed Nov – Dec)
  • 5 per person per day: N.E. Zone
  • State Minimum Size Limit: 15 inches
  • State Maximum Size Limit: 19 inches; 1 over 19 inches per vessel
  • Spearing Prohibited

Shark, Atlantic Sharpnose, Blacknose, Blacktip, Bonnethead

  • Requirements: Hook and line only; Shorebased fishing course and permit
  • Daily Limit: 1 (only 1 in combination with all shark species) or 2 daily vessel limit
  • Minimum Length: None

Shark, Blue, Bull, Common Thresher, Nurse, Oceanic Whitetip, Porgeagle, Spinner

  • Requirements: Hook and line gear only; Shorebased fishing course and permit
  • Bag Limit: 1 (only 1 in combination with all shark species) or 2 per vessel
  • Minimum Length: 54-inch fork length

Shark, Shortfin Mako

  • Requirements: Line and hook gear only; Shorebased fishing course and permit
  • Bag Limit: 1 (only 1 in combination with all shark species) or 2 per vessel
  • Minimum Length: 83-inch fork length

Sheepshead

  • Fishing regulations state it must remain in whole condition until landed ashore heads and tails intact
  • State Daily Limit: 8; 50 per vessel during March and April
  • State Min Length: 12 inches

Snapper Aggregate Bag Limit

  • Location – state waters of the Atlantic and Gulf
  • 10 fish per harvester per day aggregate bag limit in any combination of snapper species, unless stated otherwise
  • Seasons – The species is open year-round unless otherwise indicated

Snapper, Cubera

  • Atlantic / Gulf Daily Limit: 10 under 30 inches (INCLUDED in Snapper aggregate bag limit)
  • Atlantic / Gulf Min Length: 12 inches

Snapper, Gray (Mangrove)

  • Fishing regulations state it must remain in whole condition until landed ashore heads and tails intact
  • Atlantic / Gulf Daily Limit: 5
  • Atlantic / Gulf Min Length: 10 inches

Snapper, Lane (Lane Snapper)

  • Atlantic / Gulf Daily Limit: 10
  • Gulf Daily Limit: 100 pounds (NOT included in Snapper aggregate bag limit)
  • Atlantic / Gulf Min Length: 8 inches

Snapper, Mutton

  • Atlantic / Gulf Daily Limit: 5
  • Atlantic / Gulf Min Length: 18 inches

Snapper, Red (Red Snapper)

  • Fishing regulations state it must remain in whole condition until landed ashore heads and tails intact
  • Atlantic Season: Year-round
  • Gulf Season: June 4 – July 28
  • Atlantic / Gulf Daily Limit: 2
  • Atlantic Min Length: 20 inches
  • Gulf Min Length: 16 inches

Snapper, Schoolmaster

  • Atlantic / Gulf Daily Limit: 10
  • Atlantic / Gulf Min Length: 12 inches

Snapper, Vermilion

  • Atlantic Daily Limit: 5 (NOT included in aggregate bag limit)
  • Gulf Daily Limit: 10 (NOT included in aggregate bag limit)
  • Atlantic Min Length: 12 inches
  • Gulf Min Length: 10 inches

Snapper, Yellowtail

  • Atlantic / Gulf Daily Limit: 10
  • Atlantic / Gulf Min Length: 12 inches

Snook

  • Fishing regulations state it must remain in whole condition until landed ashore heads and tails intact
  • State Daily Limit: 1
  • Atlantic Minimum Size Limit: 28 inches (excludes Monroe County)
  • Atlantic Maximum Size Limit: 32 inches (excludes Monroe County)
  • Gulf Minimum Size Limit: 28 inches (includes Monroe County)
  • Gulf Maximum Size Limit: 33 inches (includes Monroe County)
  • Fishing regulations state Snook permit required
  • Snook permit required for harvest when saltwater license required.
  • Snatch hooks and spearing prohibited

Spearfish, Roundscale

  • State Daily Limit: 1 for Billfish aggregate bag limit
  • State Min Length: 66 inches

Swordfish

  • State Daily Limit: 1 per angler; 6 per vessel
  • State Min Length: 47-inch fork length
  • Spearing Prohibited

Tarpon

  • State Annual Limit: 1 per harvester per day/vessel per year
  • Atlantic Length: Between 28 – 32 inches (excludes Monroe County)
  • Gulf Length: Between 28 – 33 inches (includes Monroe County)
  • Fishing regulations state Tarpon permit tag required ($50); 40+ inches must stay in water for catch and release; harvest prohibited
  • Spearing, Snatching Prohibited

Tilefish, Blueline

  • Atlantic Daily Limit: 3 (Open season May – Aug)
  • Gulf Daily Limit: 100 pounds or 2 per harvester per day(Year-round)
  • Min Length: None
  • Fishing regulations state: Member of the Atlantic grouper aggregate bag limit

Tilefish, Golden

  • Atlantic Daily Limit: 1 per harvester (Open season May – Aug)
  • Gulf Daily Limit: 100 pounds or 2 per harvester (Year-round)
  • Min Length: None
  • Fishing regulations state: Member of the Atlantic grouper aggregate bag limit

Tripletail

  • State Daily Limit: 2 per harvester; 10 per vessel
  • State Min Length: No limit
  • Fishing regulations state: Hook and line gear only; no snatch hooks
  • Spearing Prohibited

Triggerfish, Gray

  • Atlantic Daily Limit: 1 per harvester
  • Gulf Daily Limit: 10
  • Atlantic Min Length: 12-inch fork length
  • Gulf Min Length: 15-inch fork length

Tuna, Blackfin

  • State Daily Limit: 2 per harvester
  • State Min Length: 18 inches
  • Fishing regulations state: Hook and line only; no snatch hooks

Wahoo

  • State Daily Limit: 2 per harvester
  • State Min Length: None

Weakfish

  • Fishing regulations state it must remain in whole condition until landed ashore heads and tails intact
  • Nassau County Daily Limit: 1 per harvester
  • Other Daily Limit: 100 pounds
  • Nassau County Min Length: 12 inches
  • Other Min Length: None
  • Spearing Prohibited

Why Do We Have a Limit of How Much Fish We Can Catch Each Day?

In Florida, state regulations require a strict minimum size limit and bag limit on a daily basis because it aids in the growth and survival of the species. There are occasional differences between the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico.

It also aids Florida fish in developing and reproducing more successfully by allowing them to grow and reproduce at their optimum rate.

We want to be excellent caretakers of the fishing grounds and ensure that there are enough fish for future generations of fishermen.

Saltwater Fishing License Information

To saltwater fish in the Florida waters, a saltwater license is required.

There are several different license options available for residents and non-residents of Florida to choose from, which cover both fresh water and saltwater fish. The license you need depends on what type of angling activity you will be doing during your trip as well as if you want to target specific types

There are optional permits and tags for Snook and Tarpon for an additional cost. Free permits are required by state regulations when fishing on the shoreline, reef, and shark fishing.

Florida residents under the age of 8 are exempt. Residents who are at least 65 years old or between the ages of 8 and 17 are discounted.

Florida Saltwater License Prices (2021)

  • Resident: $17 / year
  • Resident Five-Year: $79
  • Resident Lifetime: $301.50
  • Resident Youth (8 – 15 years): $17 / year
  • Resident 65 years and older: $17 / year
  • Annual Saltwater Shoreline Permit: No-Cost
  • State Reef Fish Angler Designation: No-Cost and required for 16 year+ anglers for reef fishing from a private vessel
  • Annual Shore-based Shark Fishing Permit: No-Cost
  • Snook Permit (All ages): $10 / year; $50 / 5-year, residents only
  • Tarpon Tag (All ages): $51.50 / year; available at tax collector’s offices only
  • Non Resident 3-Day: $17
  • Non Resident 7-Day: $30
  • Non Resident: $47 / year

You can find additional fishing license pricing information and order online at the official website of the Florida Parks and Wildlife Department.

Take Advantage Of License-Free Fishing Days

License-free fishing days allow people who don’t yet have a license to fish to take their kids fishing or introduce a friend to the sport without buying one. License-exempt anglers must observe bag and size limits.

All recreational anglers – including both residents and non-residents – are eligible for the exemption on these days.

License Free Fish Days Calendar

  • First consecutive Saturday and Sunday in June
  • First Saturday in September
  • Saturday following Thanksgiving

Find out more about Florida’s License-Free Fishing Days.

Get The Fishing Rules App

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has a downloadable app found for free. The Fishing Rules App is available for download from the App Store and Google Play.

  • This app gives real-time fishing regulations, bag limits, and minimum size limits for anglers who fish in saltwater or freshwater.
  • Saltwater fishing regulations apply in federal waters and state waters in all 50 states.
  • The Fish Rules app uses your phone’s GPS and calendar to provide only the rules you need. When out on the water without a signal, manually choose your fishing spot so you can see relevant laws.
  • Crisp images and pleasant pictures assist you in identifying the fish. To view identification hints and additional photographs, swipe through an image.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Florida Redfish Size Limit?

The Florida redfish limit is:

  • NE Zone Bag Limit: 2 red drum per person per day
  • NW and S Zone Bag Limit: 1 red drum per person per day
  • Off Water Bag Limit: 6 red drum per person per day
  • Manatee County: Catch and release; harvest prohibited
  • Slot Size: 18 inches to 27 inches statewide

What Is The Speckled Trout Size Limit For Florida?

The Florida speckled trout limit is:

  • 3 per person per day: W.P. Zone (Closed Feb)
  • 5 per person per day: B.B. Zone
  • 3 per person per day: S. Zone
  • 2 per person per day: C.E. Zone (Closed Nov – Dec)
  • 5 per person per day: N.E. Zone
  • Slot Size: 15 inches to 19 inches; with 1 over 19 inches per vessel

What Is The Black Drum Size Limit For Florida?

The Florida black drum limit is a 5-fish limit per day per person and a slot size of 14 to 24 inches for Gulf and Atlantic fishing. Each angler can possess one oversized fish.

What Is The Florida Flounder Limit?

The Florida flounder limit is 5-fish per day with a minimum size of 14 inches. There is a zero daily bag limit from October 16 – November 30 due to the closed season.

Conclusion

Thank you for taking the time to read this! I hope you found this blog post useful and interesting to read.

In this article, you learned about Florida saltwater fishing license requirements and fish bag restrictions. This article also provided a nice list of game fish found in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico.

Here’s a rundown of everything I discussed:

  • Florida saltwater fish size limit definitions and other state regulations
  • List of Florida game fish bag and size limits
  • Florida saltwater fishing license prices and options
  • License-free fishing days
  • An overview of the Fish Rules App

Tracy Villarreal

I'm the owner of Active At The Beach. I grew up in a beach town in which I was fortunate enough to spend tons of time around the sea and the beach.

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