Cleaning and cutting up fish

What are the regulations regarding cleaning or cutting up regulated fish on the boat, fishing pier or bridge, catwalk or jetty or beach?
Can you gut and scale them? Can you use them for bait?

In Florida it is illegal to fillet or remove the head or tail fin of black bass, striped bass, white bass, Sunshine bass (striped bass x white
bass hybrid), peacock bass, black crappie and panfish (where special black crappie or panfish size or bag limits are in effect) until
after you have completed fishing for the day. View the Freshwater fishing rules at: http://myfwc.

The regulated saltwater fish listed below must remain in a "whole condition" until the fish are landed ashore. In general, this means
you must bring fish in with heads and tails intact. You can gut fish, scale them, and remove gills -- but you can not fillet them, cut off
heads or tails until your fishing trip has ended (vessel has returned to the dock). When you are fishing from the beach, you can wait
until you finish fishing, and are at least 100 yards from the shore before filleting and storing these fish. For some fish, the rules also
apply until you have exited a fishing pier or bridge, catwalk or jetty.

These fish may be used as bait, but only while in a "whole condition". Remember that any fish that is harvested and used for bait
counts toward the daily bag limit.

These rules make it possible for officers to enforce size limits and fishing regulations.

The saltwater fish that must remain whole through landing are:

Billfish (blue marlin, white marlin, sailfish) 50CFR635.30(B) (federal regulations apply to the shoreline)
Black drum 68B-36.005(2)
Bluefish 68B-43.003(2)
Crawfish 68B-24.003(4)
Dolphin 68B-41.003(3) - commercial harvest only
Mullet 68B-39.003(2) - commercial harvest only (no recreational size limit)
Sharks 68B-44.004(4)
Snook 68B-21.005(2)
Swordfish 68B-33.004(5)
Wahoo 68B-41.003(3)
Weakfish 68B-47.002(3)

The following saltwater fish must also remain whole through landing and on a fishing pier or bridge, catwalk or jetty:

Cobia 68B-19.002(2)
Flounder 68B-48.003(1)(b)
Mackerel, King 68B-30.0025(2)
Mackerel, Spanish 68B-23.0035(2)
Permit 68B-35.003(1)(c)
Pompano, African 68B-35.003(1)(c)
Pompano, Florida 68B-35.003(1)(c)
Redfish 68B-22.006(4)
Reef Fish 68B-14.006(4) - includes snappers, groupers, sea bass, amberjacks, almaco jacks, banded rudderfish, gray triggerfish,
hogfish, red porgy, and *golden tilefish
Seatrout, spotted 68B-37.003(3)
Sheepshead 68B-48.003(1)(b)
Tripletail 68B-49.002(1)(b)

*effective July 1, 2007

Tropical-ornamental species are required to be landed alive (Chapter 68B-42.0035- Marine Life, Florida Administrative Code).

The following species do not have any regulations in regards to keeping them in whole condition: Bonefish 68B-34; Shad & River
Herring 68B-52; all unregulated species.

You can read the saltwater rules at:
Can I have a handgun on my boat?

Can I have a handgun on my boat?

There are many instances where the use or possession of a firearm is prohibited. Florida Statute 790.25 (3)(h) covers the use or
possession of a firearm while engaged in fishing, camping, or hunting or going to or from a lawful hunting, fishing or camping
expeditions. Use the link provided paying special attention to section (3) (h), (l), (m), and section (5). To view the Statutes go to: http:

If you are simply pleasure boating, you may carry a concealed weapon if you have the appropriate permit. If you do not have a
concealed weapons permit, a firearm may be on your vessel as long as it is stored in the same manner as it would be if in a vehicle
(private conveyance) provided that you are not in a Wildlife Management Area (WMA) or a County, Municipal, State or Federal park
or refuge. It is always wise to advise any Law Enforcement Officer that you are carrying a weapon or have a weapon on your vessel.

The Commission has ruled that persons with a concealed weapons permit may carry firearms on WMAs.  This rule, however, may be
superseded by the managing public entity's rules outside of hunting seasons. You will need to look at the WMA hunting brochures to
determine which areas will allow concealed weapons outside of hunting season. To find the WMA regulations go to http://myfwc.

Fishing around docks or piers.

What are the laws regarding fishing from a boat around a dock or pier in saltwater? Can I fish under the dock or between the pilings?  
How close to the shore can I take the boat, without trespassing?  

Municipal or county ordinances and local laws may apply to specific waterways and piers. The county attorney may be able to assist
you with questions about local restrictions.

State law prohibits spearfishing or gigging within 100 feet of a public or commercial fishing pier or bridge.

There is no state-wide law or rule that prohibits boaters from casting their lines under or near a dock or pier or fishing close to private
property while on public waters. In fact, it is a violation to interfere with a person who is legally fishing or hunting on public waters or
property. In general, boaters are allowed to fish around docks in saltwater as long they do not tie up to a private dock or impede boat
traffic or access to and from the dock. There would be no "trespass" issue unless a boater set anchor on, or physically touched,
privately owned land.

Most leases for docks built over submerged state-owned lands reserve boating and fishing rights for the public. However, some do
claim to preempt use of the water column over the lease. For more information about sovereignty submerged lands leases contact
the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) at: Additional questions would have to be
answered by an attorney.

We recommend anglers and property owners use courtesy to prevent a conflict. If you suffer property damage from a fisherman's
gear or feel you have a trespass claim, you can file a complaint with your local sheriff or police department.

Using public or private land, beaches or waterbodies.

If public or private land, state-owned property, a beach or a certain waterbody is not fenced or posted, can I hunt, fish, boat or
otherwise use the area for recreational purposes?  

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission cannot give express permission to enter or access any property other than
that managed by the Commission.

To determine if you can ride ATV's or horses, hunt, fish or boat or otherwise use a certain area, you will need to find out who owns or
manages the area and ask them what rules or restrictions apply there. City, county, state and federal regulations may all apply
depending on the area.

Public or private land that is not posted or fenced, including certain beaches and water bodies, may be managed to limit public
access or the activities allowed there. Title to the land under a body of water may be deeded to a private or public entity (city, county,
state or federal). Therefore you will need to identify and contact that managing entity before accessing the property or adjacent water

You can research the land records at the local county property appraiser's office to determine ownership and/or identify the
managing public entity (city, county, state, or other agency). A listing of local property appraisers can be found at: http://dor.myflorida.

Although, it is a violation to interfere with a person who is legally fishing or hunting on public waters or property, property owners who
feel they have a trespass claim, can file a complaint with the local sheriff or police department.

Cities, counties, and state and federal agencies may choose to manage public land, beaches and water bodies within their
boundaries under their own rules or ordinances.  A public entity that allows public access may or may not allow hunting, fishing,
boating or other recreational activities.  If such recreational activities are allowed, the managing entity may restrict or regulate them
through its own rules or ordinances.

Public entities that allow hunting may choose to enroll the property in Florida’s Wildlife Management Program, in which case the
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) would create or modify a Wildlife Management Area (WMA) to include the
property.  For more maps and regulations for hunting on the WMAs go to

It is a felony (5 years imprisonment, $5000 fine, or both) to shoot over or across someone else’s land without permission. Hunting is
prohibited within state and federal park boundaries.  Before hunting on lands other than the WMAs, please contact the city and
county law enforcement agencies to find out if the possession and/or discharge of firearms is prohibited.

Claiming a lost or abandoned vessel.

How do I claim a lost or abandoned vessel that I have found?

If you are the finder of a lost or abandoned vessel, you may call your local sheriff’s office to complete a “Found Property Claim”. If the
vessel is located on the water, you may call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at 1-888-404-3922. You will be
required to pay a fee of $300 to cover the cost of advertising a notice in a local newspaper as well investigative costs. This fee is
subject to change. In addition, you will need to pay all towing and storage costs and any other costs associated with removing the

If the rightful owner does not claim the vessel within 90 days after the report is made, title to the vessel may be transferred to you as
the finder pursuant to chapter 705.104(1), Florida Statutes. A Certificate of Compliance will be issued to you by the investigating
officer.  if the vessel has not been registered or does not have a vessel hull identification number (HIN), it may also be necessary for
the officer to conduct a vessel inspection as the vessel may require a HIN as well as a title. If title to the vessel is transferred to you,
please call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) and request an officer complete a vessel inspection for
vessels other than homemade. After the inspection is completed, please contact the Department of Highway Safety and Motor
Vehicles to request a new title at:  For detailed procedures and steps regarding
reporting lost or abandoned vessels, please refer to Chapter 705.103, Florida Statutes, Procedure for Abandoned or Lost Property

It is unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to leave, store or abandon a vessel in wrecked, junked or substantially dismantled
condition. All vessels upon state waters must be in compliance with both federal and state regulations. For information about the
boating safety and equipment requirements see

For information about underwater archeological finds, visit the Division's Bureau of Archeological Research on the web at:  http:

Do I need a freshwater or a saltwater fishing license?

What is the difference between a freshwater and saltwater fishing license and how do I know which one I need?

In general, you need a freshwater license to take freshwater fish and a saltwater license to take saltwater fish. Obviously, if you are
fishing in pure freshwater where no saltwater species live, you need a freshwater license, and likewise, if you are fishing in the ocean
or Gulf of Mexico, you need a saltwater license. However, when you get into areas where saltwater and freshwater commingle, and
fish of both types can be found, the type of license you need depends on the species you take or attempt to take.

You can find information on obtaining both types of license at

There are many groups of people who are exempt from Florida's recreational fishing license requirements. Some exemptions apply to
"Florida Residents" only.  Please be aware of the Florida state residency requirements listed at http://myfwc.
com/license/LicPermit_RecreationalHF.htm#resident  Exemptions may also apply to saltwater species, or freshwater fish, or both.

Groups of people that are exempt from purchasing a recreational saltwater or freshwater fishing license are listed on the Web site:

In summary, you need to purchase a recreational fishing license if you are not a member of a group of people exempted by law.  If
you are a member of an exempted group, you do not need a license.

How can I get a Military Gold Sportsman's License?

How can I get a Military Gold Sportsman’s License?

Any Florida resident who is an active or retired member of the United States Armed Forces, the United States Armed Forces
Reserve, the Florida National Guard, the United States Coast Guard or the United States Coast Guard Reserve is eligible to
purchase the license upon submission of a current military identification card and military orders showing that you are stationed in
Florida (active members) or a Florida Drivers License.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) offers the license to active duty and retired military that are stationed in Florida or
have lived in the state for six months and claim Florida as their primary residence. The reduced-fee annual license ($20) offers the
same privileges as the traditional Gold Sportsman's License ($100). It includes hunting, saltwater fishing and freshwater fishing
licenses and wildlife management area, archery, muzzleloading gun, turkey, Florida waterfowl, snook and lobster permits.  If you
would like additional information, you can visit the FWC on the Web at:

Retired Military persons must show the Red or Blue Military ID Card (Red card may not be used if more than one social security
number is listed) and proof of Florida Residency.

Active military personal that are Florida residents (show Florida Drivers License) stationed anywhere or active military personal that
are stationed in Florida (must show military orders stating that you are stationed in Florida) are eligible.

The Military Gold Sportsman's Licenses are only available at tax collectors' offices. There are links to the county tax collector's offices

Boat registration and titling.

How do I find out about registering my boat and getting a title for it?  Where do I go to do it?

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission does not register or title vessels.  Questions about boat, jet ski or personal
watercraft registration and titling should be directed to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV).
Vessel owners  or perspective buyers can visit the DHSMV Web site at to find answers
to questions about vessel registration and titling.  
Applications for vessel title and registration are to be filed by the vessel owner with the county tax collector's office (tag office) in the
county where the vessel is located or in the county where the vessel owner resides. Please contact your county tax collector's office
or the DHSMV for information about vessel titling and registration.  There are links to the county tax collector's offices at http://www.

If you are planning to visit Florida with a vessel registered in another state, you will not need to register your vessel in Florida unless
your visit is longer than 90 days.

Frequently asked questions about fishing
around Destin
. . . . .
The fishing regulations are not always clear for some things. The FWC has a web site where you can ask them specific questions
regarding the regulations. They have published some of the more interesting and most asked ones on their web site. Below are some
of the more interesting ones from it. If you want to look at all of them
Click here to go to the FWC FAQs web site.