To be able to legally fish in any state, besides boating pants, a rod, a reel, and other fishing accessories, you still have to purchase a fishing permit. The fishing permit or license has been around since 1729 when it was first required from the boat people of South China. Now almost every country requires anglers to buy one.
The fishing permit is the main regulatory mechanism used to control fishing. By acquiring this fishing permit and carrying the receipt as proof, you are allowed to fish depending on the type of license you bought, on saltwater or freshwater and perform the following activities: spearfishing, hand lining, and gathering, trapping, bait collecting and netting.
It is important to mention that the US Fish and Wildlife Service does not act alone when it comes to regulating and issuing these fishing permits. Their work is a coordinated effort and involves many organizations and individuals.
Fish and in general wildlife conservation involves a partnership between the states and territories, but also between tribes, landowners and other countries other than the US. The US Fish and Wildlife Service Office is present in almost all the US states. Depending on where you need or want to fish you have to contact the local office and find out more information.
Is it worth it?
Depending on the state, anglers now have the possibility of buying a license for 1, 3, 5, 10 years or lifetime fishing licenses. This lifetime fishing licenses can be purchased virtually by any resident angler and the main benefit is that people don’t have to renew their license every year.
Sometimes the weather conditions are unexpectedly favorable and it would be the perfect time to go and hit the water. If you own a lifetime fishing license you don’t have to worry about getting one again.
The main drawback is, of course, the higher price required up front. It’s going to be higher than the price you pay for a license that lasts you one year, but let’s see if it’s a good investment or not.
The thing you have to understand is that these lifetime fishing licenses have different prices depending on the age of the person for whom they are issued. To better make you understand, let’s take the case of the state of Florida. Before we crunch the numbers it is worth mentioning that any young angler under the age of 15 doesn’t require a fishing license at all.
The same is true for older people who have passed the age of 65. Once an angler reaches 65 he or she doesn’t have to renew the fishing license. There are a few licenses that a senior still has to have, but regarding fishing, they are no longer required to possess one.
Although youngsters do not need a fishing license, they can still get one and this is the key piece of information that you should take away from this. The younger the kid is, the better the investment in a lifetime fishing or/and hunting license.
Under the age of five
If you live in Florida and your child is under the age of five, as a parent, you have to pay around $126 to get your kid a lifetime saltwater fishing license or a lifetime freshwater fishing license. They are the most inexpensive types of licenses you can acquire from the available ones.
At around $200 you can get a lifetime hunting license and for around $400 you get a lifetime sportsman license. This last one includes all the previously mentioned fishing and hunting licenses, which justifies its price. Keep in mind that all these prices apply only for kids under 5 years of age.
However, if you wouldn’t save up some money and buy your young child one or more of these lifetime permits, he/she would otherwise end up paying by the age of 65 thousands of dollars. If he/she would pay around 20 dollars for a fishing license annually, the sum spent by the age of 65 would be around $7,500.
Moreover, this sum is calculated keeping the licensing fees and the inflation rate constant, which realistically speaking is never going to happen. The first annual saltwater fishing license was only $2. Now it’s around $20, and it will certainly increase in the future. Keep in mind that the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission can always change these fees.
This having been said, if you have small children and wish to make them a great gift and at the same time invest in their future, buying them a lifetime fishing, hunting or even a sportsman license is a great idea.
Between five and twelve years old
For older children, more specifically between 5 and 12 years old, the prices for the lifetime fishing and hunting licenses are higher. For the saltwater or freshwater licenses, you would have to pay around $226, a lifetime hunting license costs about $350, and the lifetime sportsman license, that includes all the other ones is around $700.
If your kid would pay annually the required fee for the lifetime sportsman license, he or she would end up paying $6,700 by the age of 65. Remember that this sum is without increasing the license fee and assuming that it will remain the same for all your child’s life, which of course it will not.
The reason for which this total sum is slightly lower compared to what a kid under 5 would pay is that, in this case, the child is older and has fewer years of payment until the age of 65.
Respecting the same progression and variables, a 35-year-old adult would have to pay a one-time cost of $1,000 for a lifetime sportsman license. If he or she were to pay annually the total would sum up to $3,600. Although the difference is not as big, it’s still a good investment.
The conclusion is that anyone could buy a fishing permit. However, it pays off if the permit is bough as early in life as possible. You end up saving your child thousands of dollars in the long run.