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how to become a fishing guide in florida插图

Do you need a license to be a fishing guide?

To be a legal freshwater fishing guide, you don’t need any specific state guide licenses. No Charter Captain License or Charter Boat License from the FWC. Moreover, you only need a USCG captain’s license if you fish in “navigable waters,” meaning waterways with (commercial) traffic. This includes, for example, the St. Johns River and its lakes.

How do I get a fishing license in Florida?

Fishing/Charter licenses are issued by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, although you need to go to a tax collector’s office to purchase one. You can find information on how to apply for these licenses on their website. There are two types of licenses, the Charter Captain License and the Charter Boat License:

What do you need to start a saltwater fishing charter in Florida?

In order to run a legal saltwater fishing charter business in Florida, charter owners and captains must have at least the following three documents: All saltwater fishing guides in Florida must comply with USCG requirements. This means that you must have a Captain’s license – officially called Merchant Mariner Credential – for saltwater guiding.

What do I need to go fishing with a guide?

Fishing Guide License: Both freshwater and saltwater. It should be noted every one of your clients will be required to obtain a fishing license covering the duration of the trip and must be in compliance with all state and local fishing regulations.

What is a captain’s license in Florida?

Captain’s License. All saltwater fishing guides in Florida must comply with USCG requirements. This means that you must have a Captain’s license – officially called Merchant Mariner Credential – for saltwater guiding. To find out how to get your USCG captain’s license, check out this article.

What is the difference between a saltwater and freshwater guide?

There are major differences between being a licensed saltwater and freshwater guide in the state of Florida. To legally operate saltwater charters, you need more licenses than for freshwater.

How long does it take to get an OUPV license?

To get a 6-pack OUPV license, you’ll first need to have spent enough time on the water. You need 360 days piloting or crewing a boat and at least 90 days in the last 3 years. Additionally, 90 days have to be in the ocean in order to quality for a near-coastal license (the one for saltwater).

What permits are needed for fishing in the Gulf of Mexico?

If you want to fish legally in federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico (9 miles out or more), you need a Coastal Pelagics permit and/or a Reef Fish permit. Which one depends on which species you’re targeting.

How much does a freshwater fishing license cost in Florida?

You can buy freshwater fishing licenses on the Go Outdoors Florida website. A standard annual license costs $17.

What is a charter captain license?

A Charter Captain License allows one captain (you) to fish on any commercially-registered boat. A Charter Boat License allows any captain to fish on one boat (the boat that the license is bonded to). Seeing as both licenses cost the same, it sounds like your best bet is to get a Charter Captain License.

How much does it cost to register a boat in Florida?

The price of registering your boat depends on its size, and whether or not you are a resident of Florida. It can cost anywhere between around $10 to over $200.

Guide School and Training in Florida

In Florida, our research showed the below requirements to become a hunting guide or fishing guide. Before operating as a guide ensure that you contact your states wildlife agency directly to verify all requirements.

Basic requirements for Fishing Guide Jobs in Florida

To operate a charter fishing business in Florida and charge a fee for taking, attempting to take or possessing saltwater fish, you must:

Basic requirements for Hunting Guide Jobs in Florida

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission does not require a guide license for hunting, fishing from shore, in the surf, or fishing in fresh water or sell a guide license that covers customers while hunting, fishing from shore, in the surf or fishing in fresh water.

How much does a charter fishing license cost?

States like California, Pennsylvania, and others require a state guide license from the local Department of Wildlife. This could costs between $100 for residents or $539.00 for non-residents based on the state. Many other states like Florida only require a state license if saltwater charter fishing and that license can cost between $250 and $800.

What are the qualities of a good fishing guide?

Needless to say, patience and the ability to laugh in the face of adversity are important attributes for all great fishing guides to have. The ability to adapt and work with all these customers under the best and worst conditions will surely help your goal of being economically independent as a fishing guide.

What is the best attribute for a first timer?

For the first-timer, the best attribute is patience . We hired a Capt Mark which was a bartender, he loves people and they love him. Today he’s one of the most premiere requested fishing guides anywhere in the nation. Being able to communicate with someone at any level is important in a conversation. This has nothing to do with your education, but more so communication skills, being patient, and being able to adapt to all different kinds of situations and people as they change daily.

How many days do you have to be on the ocean to get a fishing license?

90 of the 360 days must be on the ocean or near coastal waters, or the license will be limited to inland waters only

How to get a charter boat license?

Before you can apply for your state or federal charter licenses, your boat must be registered at the local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). This is the same location you go for your car registration and tags. The vessel can only be registered by the owner unless you have a power of attorney documents. Registration can be done online in some states, by mail, or either in person at your local DMV office. Most states have a leniency window of 30, 60, or 90 days for you to get registered and legal before they will start ticketing. Until then, always carry your bill of sale with you.

What is a navigable water?

Navigable waters are waterways with GREEN and RED navigation markers which are designed for navigation and commercial traffic. This would include, Lake Erie, all Intracoastal waterways, big lakes like Lake Okeechobee, rivers like Sacramento River, and St Johns River.

Do fishing rods last longer?

So, good rods and reels last longer, besides it’s repairable and under warranty. Also with the boom in the fishing industry, anglers want to use the latest technology in equipment. The customer is much more informed these days, so don’t insult them with the cheap stuff. To help with start-up costs, most big companies like Bass Online has partnerships with many of the industry companies for deep discounts on many of the great products you will need. Everything from rain-suits, rods, and reels and an array of lures companies. So again, why buy the cheap stuff?

Economic and environmental benefits

In a statewide survey, 85% of fishing guides said they were interested in a certification program focused on environmental best management practices (BMPs). Why would this be so? Firstly, earning the title of Florida Friendly Fishing Guide is a great marketing tool.

Becoming a Florida Friendly Fishing Guide

The Florida Friendly Fishing Guide program is offered entirely online with a flexible schedule. The course covers science-based techniques that ensure a minimal environmental footprint of fishing.

Course content

The course contains eight educational modules that cover the following topics:

What is a Fishing Guide?

Fishing guides are paid to take clients fishing. Pure and simple. Fishing guides are experienced fishermen and outdoorsmen (and women) who are familiar with the local waterways, know how to catch fish there, and are personal in a way that makes clients enjoy their time and build strong memories.

What do you need to be a good fishing guide?

You have to have at least a good understanding of fish behavior, patterning, fishing tactics, and boatmanship if you are going to be a successful fishing guide. Clients are paying you good money for your expertise and the hope of catching some nice fish. If you don’t know your stuff, people will pick up on that.

How much does a fishing guide make?

An estimate I read a while back was the average full-time fishing guide made between $35,000 and $60,000 annually.

How to get sponsorship for fishing?

If you really want to score a sponsorship, be proactive. Get your name out there. Reach out to companies explaining what you do. Enter into major fishing tournaments and do well. Attend major sportsman shows and fishing industry events. Fishing companies can’t sponsor you if they don’t know you. Like I said, being sponsored is not for every guide but it can be worthwhile for some guides.

What to do if you aren’t passionate about fishing?

Decide what type of fishing you enjoy most and immerse yourself heavily in it. If you need to move to do so, move.

How can I become a better fisherman?

Yes, I still think you need to become the best fisherman you can but during this phase, you should develop your fishing knowledge and intuition, along with your soft skills. Interpersonal skills will become key. Work on your teaching ability, your patience, and your ability to make people around you feel at ease .

Why is intuition important in fishing?

Having fishing intuition is great for delivering fish on the deck but sound judgment is important for making clear decisions that keep everyone safe and improve the customer experience. By improving your own personal judgment, you will in turn become a more successful fishing guide in the long run. 7. Courteousness.

How much does it cost to get a fishing guide license?

Then, you will be able to apply for the license and submit an application, which costs around $150.

How to be a good fishing guide?

A good fishing guide knows the local waters, plain and simple. So if you want to be a fishing guide, go out on the lake or ocean each and every day and keep a log. Pay attention to everything that might trigger fish, from weather to tides and the time of day.

What do you need to take a passenger out on the water?

To take passengers out on the water, you will need to have the proper license. This means learning and passing exams to acquire the permit you need, ensuring the safety of everyone on board. Here are two main courses for licenses you should consider:

Can you offer night fishing cruises?

For example, you could offer night fishing cruises. Just be sure to have enough headlamps on board for your passengers and know the rules of night time navigation. If you have a knack for photography, take photos of your passengers on their fishing excursion, keeping your gear protected in a camera hard case.


S o you want to fish professionally? Perhaps you are sitting in an office cubicle reading this article right now.

Getting Started

If you consider moving your family to the Florida Keys to be a professional fisherman, you better save some money first. Chances are you won’t get rich being a fisherman, but if you work hard, you can make a decent living and pay the bills.

Learning To Throw a Cast-Net

Catching live bait is a big part of being a thriving fisherman in the Florida Keys. Purchasing live bait is not a consistent or affordable source for live bait when you fish daily. You will be a much bigger help on daily bait runs if you already know how to throw a cast net instead of learning on the job.

Daily Life as a fisherman

The Main Attraction crew bringing bait to our boats before the day’s fishing trips.

Mate Responsibilities

As a Mate in the Florida Keys, you will hear this line from customers all the time, “You have the best job in the world; you get paid to fish!”.

Captains Responsibilities

As a Captain, your experience and responsibilities are entirely different than being a Mate. While at the Main Attraction, you will be responsible for helping the team catch live bait early in the morning; you will also need to complete your vessel’s daily inspection to ensure it is safe and ready to fish.

After The Trip

If you work for the Main Attraction, you can expect to fish anywhere from one to two trips per day. When your trip is over, the crew’s day is not over. Typically, once back at the dock, the Captain will fillet and bag the catch and take payment from the clients.