Florida Fishers To Get License Pass This Weekend

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Maxwell Johnson, 60, regularly fishes on the St. John’s River in Palatka, Fla.
Maxwell Johnson fishes on the St. John’s River in Palatka, Florida, in 2013. Freshwater fishers will be able to cast their lines in Florida without licenses this weekend. (File WUFT News)

Fishers will be able to cast their lines in any freshwater waterway in Florida without a license this weekend, Gov. Rick Scott announced Wednesday.

This Saturday and Sunday’s program is one of four free-fishing weekends — two freshwater, two saltwater — the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission offers each year, according to a news release from Scott’s office.

“April is the nicest time of the year weather-wise,” Bob Wattendorf, marketing and special projects coordinator at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, later told WUFT. “It’s a very good time to give anglers a shot at catching sun fishes.”

Wattendorf said this weekend should draw more fishing patrons to less fished areas.

“Since more avid anglers tend to have more licenses, bigger water bodies won’t see much more traffic,” he said. “We tend to see more traffic during the weekend in some of the smaller water bodies near urban areas.”

Wattendorf said the next license-free freshwater weekend is scheduled for June and corresponds with the National Fish and Boating Week.

A Florida fishing license costs $17.50 per year for state residents, and non-residents can get a three-day license for that price, he said.

“The hope is by getting people who haven’t had the opportunity to fish to go,” he said, “they will continue to go back.”

About Glenn Kennelly

Glenn is a senior journalism major at UF. He has written for The Gainesville Sun and the Independent Florida Alligator.

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