Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday and for many people represents their only four-day holiday. So what better time to offer license-free fishing days? Friday, Nov. 29, will be a license-free freshwater fishing day, followed by a saltwater license-free day on Nov. 30.
To round out the gift-giving, Saturday, Dec. 28, was also designated as a license-free freshwater fishing day.
In 2013, the Legislature authorized the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to offer four additional license-free fishing days annually. FWC Commissioners subsequently implemented a long-term strategy to encourage introducing new anglers to recreational fishing, and to give those who havenít been fishing recently another incentive to enjoy time on the water. Since the dates for some of these long-term options had already passed in 2013, they also picked the one-time-only dates mentioned above to make sure anglers got all the free-days the Legislature authorized.
For 2014 and beyond, the eight days will fall on the same weekend days from year to year, allowing anglers to plan in advance and businesses and nonprofit groups to schedule events around these fishing license holidays. Recurring days for freshwater will be the first Saturday and Sunday in April and the second Saturday and Sunday in June. For saltwater, the dates will be the first Saturday and Sunday in June, the first Saturday in September, and the Saturday following Thanksgiving.
Plan your fishing experience today, but donít forget to check the rules (MyFWC.com/Fishing). Regulations such as seasons, size limits and bag limits still apply, even on license-free days or if you are exempt from a license. Meanwhile, if you canít wait for a license-free day or decide fishing is for you, licenses are affordable. An annual resident license is just $17 for either freshwater or saltwater fishing, and a combination to do both is $32.50. Since a typical angler fishes an average of 17 days per year and more than four hours per trip, that comes out to about a quarter per hour for healthy fun and doesnít even include the value of any fish you take home, or rewards you earn.
Instant licenses are available at MyFWC.com/License or by calling 888-FISH-FLORIDA (347-4356). Report violators by calling 888-404-3922, *FWC or #FWC on your cell phone, or texting to Tip@MyFWC.com.
This was provided by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.