Now’s the time to gas up the truck, load up the kids, break out your fishing gear and go fishing.
April 1-2 you won’t even need a license to fish in fresh water here in Florida, the number one destination for anglers from all over the world. Even non-residents don’t need a license during the Free Fishing Weekend.
Bass, bream and crappie, they all start biting this time of year here in the state that claims bragging rights to the title “Fishing Capital of the World.”
The Florida Legislature and the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission set aside one weekend per year for residents and visitors to enjoy freshwater fishing without having to worry about buying a fishing license.
Bob Wattendorf, an FWC fisheries biologist who helps promote the annual free fishing event, said it’s an opportunity for parents to open a whole new world of adventure with their children.
“When you see a child catch his first fish and hear the squeals and screams and you watch the breathless excitement,” Wattendorf said, “you’re seeing a magical moment the child will remember forever. And someday, the child may pass that moment on to yet another generation and carry on the centuries-old tradition of fishing in Florida.”
Free Fishing Weekend isn’t just for kids though. It offers a convenient opportunity for adults who haven’t caught a fish in a while to get reacquainted with angling, and do it in some of the waters that have yielded more than 700 world record catches.
“It doesn’t take much of an investment to go fishing here,” Wattendorf said. “A can of worms, a cane pole and a few hours of leisure time are all it takes to get started. There is no point in Florida that is more than a few minutes drive from some kind of fishing opportunity.”
Besides all that, you get to eat fresh fish when you go fishing, and every angler knows the fresher the fish, the more delicious it is on a plate beside some cheese grits, cole slaw, hushpuppies and maybe some pork and beans or a little potato salad.
Free Fishing Weekend applies to freshwater fishing only.