What's Biting On Florida Free Fishing Days?

By Debbie Hanson

Nov 15, 2015

With winter weather on the way, you may find yourself wondering what you could be catching on any upcoming Florida free fishing days.

With winter weather on the way, you may find yourself wondering what you could be catching on any upcoming Florida free fishing days. You know, that state with the palm trees where you don't need a down jacket, gloves, and earmuffs. Yep, that’s the one.

If you are thinking about planning a trip to the Sunshine State, you may find it helpful to know that Saturday, November 28th is a saltwater free fishing day in Florida. Florida free fishing days offer anglers the opportunity to fish on public waterways without having to purchase a fishing license.

Instead of an extra helping of turkey on Thanksgiving weekend, get moving and get out on the water because there will be plenty of fish biting if you head South. See the list of saltwater species below to find out what you can catch in Florida over the holiday weekend.

Florida Fish Species, Inshore:

  • Redfish — During the month of November, redfish (or red drum) can be found near the edges of oyster bars, tailing on the grass flats, or feeding on the edges of potholes. Try rigging a live shrimp underneath a popping cork to entice a bite from a redfish.

  • Spotted Sea troutSpotted sea trout prefer inshore seagrass beds, mangrove shorelines, potholes and channels. Free-line live shrimp or small pinfish near the bottom to lure spotted sea trout out of potholes or nearby channels.

  • Sheepshead — You'll find fall sheepshead in brackish river mouths, bays, estuaries and tidal creeks. Focus your fishing efforts on oyster bars, buoys, channel markers, piers and bridge pilings where food is plentiful. Use light to medium weight spinning tackle with shrimp or small crabs as live bait.

  • Snook — Predatory feeders that can be found inshore from central Florida south, snook inhabit areas along mangrove shorelines, piers, docks and bridge pilings. Try using live pinfish for live bait, free-lined off of the bottom.

  • Mangrove Snapper — As you might imagine, mangrove snapper inhabit inshore mangrove, seawall and dock areas. Although, adults can also be found offshore reefs and wrecks. Shrimp make excellent bait for mangrove snapper.

Florida Fish Species, Offshore:

  • Cobia — This offshore species likes to congregate around buoys, pilings, and wrecks. Cobia will feed on baits or lures using a variety of methods such as trolling, bottom fishing, jigging, and chumming.

  • Tripletail — Tripletail are a pelagic species that are most often found around floating objects, such as buoys or channel markers. Free-line a live shrimp using light tackle for your best chance at catching a tripletail.

  • King Mackerel — Offshore wrecks and reefs are a favorite hangout of the king mackerel or kingfish. Try fishing methods such as trolling or drifting while using live baits like ballyhoo, mullet, herring or pinfish.

Now that you know what species are biting on Florida free fishing days, check the state fishing regulations for size limits and bag limits. Don't forget that all other fishing regulations apply on free fishing days.

Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit shefishes2.com or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.