What to Keep and What to Throw Back When Fishing

Although state waters on the Atlantic side of Florida reach three nautical miles, state fishing regulations apply to Federal waters as well. So it is important to always know and adhere to your size and bag limits no matter where you decide to fish. The following includes a sampling of some popular fish and their harvesting rules…

If you happen to be trigger happy, grey triggerfish need to be 12 inches and you can boat 10 per fisherman. The season for these “guys” is year-round.

You are allowed 2 red snapper per day as long as they are 20 inches or above. Yellowtail snapper can be 12 inches.

Black grouper need to be 24 inches and you are allowed to harvest I per person as long as you are not fishing when the season is closed – which is January 1 through April 30. Just be careful not to haul in any goliath grouper as they are protected and illegal to fish.

Each fisherman per vessel is allowed 7, black sea bass if they are at least 13 inches or over. You can catch 3, 14-inch red porgies per person and 2, 24-inch king mackerel.

Great barracuda can be no less than 15 inches and no longer than 36 inches. You are allowed 2 per person or 6 per vessel and the vessel is allowed 1 fish over the 36-inch limit.

Dolphinfish, which are a tasty dish, are acceptable at 20 inches and each fisherman can catch 10 per day, not to exceed 60 per vessel – unless that vessel is for-hire.

The limit for a swordfish with a 47-inch lower jaw fork length is 1, not to exceed 4 per vessel and 15 per for-hire vessel.  There are no size limits for wahoo and 2 are allowed per harvester.

A short -fin mako must be 83 inches and fishermen are allowed 1, while vessels can haul in 2. However, long-fin makos are illegal to fish.

Additionally, remember that you don’t want to filet any fish you harvest before you reach the dock. They need to be in whole condition or the Department of Fish and Game officers may think something is fishy and your bag and size limit story won’t hold water!

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