Estimated reading time: 9 minutes
Discover the Florida redfish size limit set by the FWC and the techniques and gear for catching this popular game fish. The Florida redfish limit is governed by the state’s Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to preserve the sustainability of this popular game fish found in Florida’s coastal waters.
The FWC states that Florida’s redfish size limit is:
- Min Length: 18 inches total length
- Max Length: 27 inches total length
The Florida bag limit for each of the redfish management regions:
- Panhandle, Big Bend, Northeast: 1 fish per angler daily, four fish vessel limit
- Tampa Bay, Sarasota Bay, Charlotte Harbor, Southwest, Southeast: 1 fish per angler daily, two fish vessel limit
- Indian River Lagoon: Catch-and-Release only.
Anglers are responsible for protecting juvenile redfish and ensuring their future by releasing any they catch below the legal size limit. To comply with fishing regulations, all fish should be released unharmed using catch-and-release fishing techniques.
Plus, gigging (or spear-fishing) has been banned federally in addition to harvesting prohibited in certain regulated waters; angling enthusiasts must consider this before heading out on the water!
Why is There a Size Limit for Redfish in Florida?
Redfish are a popular game fish in Florida, and the state has established regulations to ensure sustainable fishing practices. The size limit for redfish is one of the most important regulations the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has implemented to protect the species and ensure its sustainability.
- The size limit for redfish in Florida is a slot limit of 18-27 inches, which was put in place in 1989 to help rebuild the red drum stocks.
- The FWC has set a bag limit of one fish per person and a closed season from March to May to protect the species during its spawning season.
- It is illegal to gig, spear, or snatch redfish in Florida, and any redfish caught outside of the slot limit must be immediately released.
- The FWC recommends using circle hooks when fishing for redfish to reduce the likelihood of injury or mortality when releasing undersized or oversized fish.
These regulations have successfully allowed the red drum stocks to rebound, with most parts of Florida exceeding the FWC’s management goal of 40% escapement. Anglers should be aware of these regulations and follow them to help preserve Florida’s valuable redfish population.
How is the Redfish Size Limit Enforced in Florida?
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is responsible for enforcing the redfish size limit in Florida. Officers from the FWC regularly patrol the coastal waters to make sure that anglers are following the regulations.
FWC officers can give citations and fines to anglers who do not comply with the redfish size limit. Anglers can help enforce the regulations by reporting any violations they witness.
To ensure they comply with the size limit, anglers should measure the fish accurately and release any fish that does not meet the limit.
Consequences of Violating the Redfish Size Limit in Florida
Violating the redfish size limit in Florida can have serious consequences for recreational saltwater anglers.
- Consequences may include fines, penalties, and even suspension of their fishing license.
- Selling, purchasing, or exchanging any red drum or parts thereof is illegal in Florida.
- Violating this regulation may result in a third-degree felony charge.
Anglers should be aware of the redfish size limit and other regulations in Florida to avoid these penalties.
Fines and Penalties
Violating the redfish size limit in Florida can result in fines and penalties that vary depending on the severity of the offense.
- A first-time offender may face a fine of up to $500.
- A repeat offender may face a fine of up to $2,500 and a fishing license suspension.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) enforces these regulations rigorously to ensure sustainable fishing practices and protect the red drum stocks.
How To Stay Compliant with The Florida Redfish Limit
Here are some tips to help stay within the Florida redfish size limit:
- Know the size limit: The Florida redfish size limit is between 18 and 27 inches, so measure your catch accurately.
- Understand the bag limit: The bag limit for redfish varies depending on the management zone you are fishing in, so check the regulations for your specific zone.
- Release undersized and oversized fish: Any redfish that falls outside of the legal size range must be released back into the water quickly and safely.
- Use circle hooks: When using natural bait, it is required to use non-stainless steel circle hooks to reduce the risk of injuring the fish.
Anglers should also stay up to date on any changes to Florida’s redfish regulations by checking the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission website.
Tips for Measuring Redfish Accurately
Accurately measuring redfish is crucial to comply with the size limit regulations set by the FWC. Here are some tips for anglers to help measure redfish accurately:
- Use an approved measuring device by the FWC, such as rulers, tapes, or bump boards.
- Measure from the snout’s tip to the tail’s end, with the tail squeezed together, and do not include the tail filament.
- Measure the fish while it is lying flat on its side, and make sure the measuring device is held straight and flush against the fish’s body.
- Be aware of the different measurement methods used for other finfish species, such as fork and standard length.
Strategies For Keeping Track of Your Daily Bag Limit
Keeping track of your daily bag limit when fishing for Redfish in Florida is important to avoid overfishing and potential fines. Here are some strategies to help you keep track:
- Mark your catch: Use a waterproof marker to mark the tail of each fish with a dot or line for each fish you catch.
- Use a tally counter: Use a tally counter to keep track of the number of Redfish you catch.
- Keep a logbook: Keep a logbook of your catch, including the location, time, and weather conditions.
Florida Fishing Management Regions for Redfish Management
Here are the nine Florida red drum management regions:
- Northwest: This region includes Pensacola Bay, Choctawhatchee Bay, and the Perdido and Blackwater Rivers. The redfish bag limit is one fish per person daily, and the slot limit is 18-27 inches.
- Big Bend: This region includes Apalachicola Bay, St. Marks Refuge, and Steinhatchee. The redfish bag limit is one fish per person daily, and the slot limit is 18-27 inches.
- Northeast: This region includes Jacksonville, St. Augustine, and the St. Johns River. The redfish bag limit is one fish per person daily, and the slot limit is 18-27 inches.
- Southwest: This region includes Tampa Bay, Sarasota Bay, and Charlotte Harbor. The redfish bag limit is two fish per person daily, and the slot limit is 18-27 inches.
- South: This region includes Everglades National Park, Biscayne Bay, and the Florida Keys. The redfish bag limit is one fish per person daily, and the slot limit is 18-27 inches.
- Southeast: This region includes Lake Okeechobee, West Palm Beach, and Miami. The redfish bag limit is one fish per person daily, and the slot limit is 18-27 inches.
- Indian River Lagoon Region: This region includes the Mosquito Lagoon, the Indian River, and the Banana River. The redfish bag limit is one fish per person daily, and the slot limit is 18-27 inches.
- Charlotte Harbor: This region includes Charlotte Harbor, Matlacha Pass, and Pine Island Sound. The redfish bag limit is one fish per person daily, and the slot limit is 18-27 inches.
- Manatee River: This region includes the Manatee River, Terra Ceia Bay, and Sarasota Bay. The redfish bag limit is one fish per person daily, and the slot limit is 18-27 inches.
Several other sources are available online for those who want to learn more about the redfish size limit in Florida. Here are a few:
- Florida Go Fishing: This website provides detailed information about redfish, including their biology, habitat, and fishing regulations. It also has a forum where anglers can share tips and advice.
- Salt Strong: This article provides an overview of the redfish regulations in Florida, including the size and bag limits, closed seasons, and gear restrictions. It also has a video that demonstrates how to measure a redfish.
- Take Me Fishing: This website has a page dedicated to redfish, with information about their biology, habitat, and fishing tips. It also has a map that shows the redfish management zones in Florida.
Additionally, anglers can consult the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s website for the latest updates on redfish regulations and other fishing-related news.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some common questions about the redfish size limit in Florida:
The current size limit for redfish in Florida is no less than 18 inches and no more than 27 inches. This applies to both recreational and commercial fishing.
The bag limit for redfish in Florida is one fish per person daily. The fish vessel limit is 2-4 fish per vessel daily, depending on the region. It’s important to note that these limits apply to both recreational and commercial fishing.
No, it’s illegal to keep redfish that are outside of the size limit. If you catch a redfish that is too small or too large, you must release it immediately and unharmed.
You can face fines, penalties, and criminal charges if caught with redfish outside the size limit. It’s important to always measure your catch and follow the size and bag limits to avoid any legal issues.
Redfish season in Florida is year-round and statewide. However, it’s important to note that there are certain times and areas when redfish fishing may be closed or restricted due to conservation efforts. Always check the current regulations before heading out to fish.
This article overviews Florida’s redfish regulations, including the bag limits and management zones. Here are some of the key points discussed in the article:
- The size limit for redfish in Florida is a slot limit of 18-27 inches.
- The bag limit for redfish is one fish per person daily.
- Anglers should release any redfish that falls outside the legal size range and use circle hooks to reduce the risk of injury or mortality.
- The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) enforces the redfish size limit regulations and can issue fines and penalties for violations.
- Strategies for keeping track of daily bag limits include marking your catch, using a tally counter, and keeping a logbook.
- The article also provides information about Florida’s nine redfish management regions.