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National Parks
Catching bait fish
© Ronnie Allen /

A man throws a cast net from the deck of a personal fishing boat in an attempt to catch bait fish off Palm Beach, Florida.

Florida Sports Fishing

Sports or recreational fishing is popular throughout the United States but nowhere are the opportunities so great as in Florida. The hundreds of miles of coastline on the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico plus the myriad of bays, inlets and marshes provide countless possibilities for salt-water fishing. The thousands of inland streams, rivers and lakes provide a similar array of fresh-water fishing opportunities. Everywhere you go in Florida, you see men women and children dangling fishing lines off the sides of bridges, piers, causeways and river banks. Charter fishing boats are available in nearly every coastal town and on many inland lakes and rivers.

Unless you are fishing on a licensed charter fishing boat or from a licensed fishing pier, you will need a Florida fishing license. Non-residents can purchase a 3-day fishing license for $7 (saltwater $17) or a 7-day license for $30 (saltwater $30). Separate licenses are required for salt-water or fresh-water fishing. You can purchase licenses at most fishing tackle stores.

Charter fishing boats are a great way to experience a charter fishing in Florida. You won't need fishing gear, bait or a license. Just go and have fun!

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Large charter boats take 100 or more anglers out into the Atlantic or Gulf of Mexico from many harbors. They usually depart at 8AM for either four-hour or eight-hour trips. Some boats also depart at 1PM for afternoon four-hour trips. It costs about $25 for the half-day trip and $40 for the eight hours. Fishing tackle and bait are supplied. Take plenty of sun blocker! The crew stores your catch on ice and cleans the fish upon return to the dock. Often, a nearby restaurant will cook your fresh fish and supply the side dishes for a modest fee.

Small Charter boats also offer half-day and whole-day fishing trips. They usually take out six anglers and go after the larger species of game fish. These boats charge about $350 for a half-day and $500 for a full day. That is about $60 or $85 each when shared by six.

Written by: Mike Leco
Top Photo Credit: © Ronnie Allen /
Photo Description: Two men fishing the Atlantic Ocean surf along West Palm Beach.