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What Are Landbased Shark Fishing Regulations In Florida?

Author: Bullbuster Team

Florida Rules For Shark Fishing

You Need A Permit To Fish For Sharks From Land In Florida

The Florida Wildlife Commission (FWC) require that you take an online course for landbased shark fishing. (Access The Online Course For Florida Landbased Shark Fishing )

You will need to create a login on the FWC website, because it will not let you take the course online

The Current (2020  Florida Shark Fishing Course) Has 4 Modules & A Quiz

Module 1 -- Of The "Shore-Based-Smart-Shark-Fishing-Course"

Turn your volume up for this course as this course is a combination of an audio and a powerpoint.  Module 1 introduces the reason for the course and some of the goals that the course hopes to accomplish.  This course was started after many years of conflict between shark fisherman, conservationists, land developers,  and anglers, and seeks to protect Shark Fishermen while making them aware of the environment they are operating in. It also provides information so that anglers who are new to the sport as well as anglers traveling from out of state protect this resource. 

What Does Module 1 Cover?

- Who Is Required To Take The Course:  The shark fishing permit is a little bit more specific than a regular fishing license, so this section gets into depth about this.  Most notably the young and the old all need to take this course.  This also defines what "shark fishing from land is". 

- Why Are Fishermen Required To Take This Course:  This section talks a little bit more about the background that brought about this course. 

- How The Course Works Pay Attention
(You Need To Get A 100% On This Quiz To Get A "Cert" Of Completion)

- Cert Of Completion :  Important part = you will be given a code upon completion that you will be needing

- How To Get Your Permit:

Go to to get your permit (after completing this course). 

- FAQ's 


-Question - Answer A Quick Question From The Course 


Module 2 -- Shark Fishing Regulations

This section covers the shark fishing regulations in Florida. 

Bag Limits & Size Limits For Sharks In Florida

More information on the most recent information on this section can be found here.  While recommends releasing sharks caught from land for many reasons, ultimately it is the anglers choice if they would like to harvest species for either bait or consumption as long as they are following local regulations. 

Prohibited Species 

This section covers sharks that you are not allowed to keep when fishing for sharks from land. The most notable of course being the hammerhead. 

This section gets into minute details about the release of the shark.  (Check out Terra Firma Tackle's post on working with protected fish to get a better idea about handling )


This section has some new requirements for shark fishermen that are actually pretty positive on the release side of things. 

1) Anglers are now required to have a pair of bolt cutters. These are used for quick hook removal, the video below posted on youtube by "Figure Ate" shows how to do this on a smaller scale for Muskys.  Shark hooks are obviously much larger, so you are going to want that bolt cutter over the "hook cutter". 

2) No Treble Hooks -This section also says that you cannot use treble hooks for sharks in Florida. 

3) Non Stainless Circle Hooks Are Required --- (See Choosing A Hook For Shark Fishing). 

Other Regulations

This talks about chumming for sharks.  This had long been an issue where people who tried to ban shark fishing said that anglers were chumming for sharks from the beach.  If you have seen Youtuber "BlacktipH's" video below of thousands of sharks on the beach you know that that isn't an issue. 

The FWC definition of Chumming is:  "Animal products real or synthetic placed in the water for the purpose of attracting but not actively harvesting a marine organism. Bait attached to a hook is explicitly excluded from this definition. "

For more up to date information on these regulations you can go to

Module 3: "Shark Smart Fishing"

This module focuses shark fishing "best practices". A lot of these are covered in our article "Getting Started In The Landbased Shark Fishing World

You may want to also see Youtuber "Landshark"'s article on preventing shark fatalities when fishing for sharks from land.  We must suggest an adendum to this article that you can call FWC if a shark passes, however we have not heard of any actual implementation of this rule. The number in the course is (800-636-0511) , if anyone has any experience with this please contact 


The real message here, is that you should be shark fishing with a group of anglers, and should practice the release sequence.  The more experience the team, the better the chances of the sharks survival. (See more on this in Landshark's article on shark survival). 

The other big takeaway here, is that if you are fishing for big sharks BEEF up your tackle. Having a shorter fight time, greatly improves the sharks chance of survival during the release. 

Shark - Smart Tackle  

This section talks about the gear you should be using.  If you are spooling your reels for shark fishing, we have a more in depth guide that talks about how to properly match your gear to the shark.  Again, non stainless circle hooks are now required for shark fishing from land in Florida

Prohibited sharks 

Below is a listing of prohibited sharks from the FWC Website as of March 6th 2020. 

Sharks that are prohibited from harvest in state waters and include:

  • Atlantic angel (Squatina dumeril)
  • Basking (Cetorhinus maximus)
  • Bigeye sand tiger (Odontaspis noronhai)
  • Bigeye sixgill (Hexanchus nakamurai)
  • Bigeye thresher (Alopias vulpinus)
  • Bignose (Carcharhinus altimus)
  • Caribbean reef (Carcharhinus perezii)
  • Caribbean sharpnose shark (Rhizoprionodon porosus)
  • Dusky (Carcharhinus obscurus)
  • Galapagos (Carcharhinus galapagensis)
  • Great hammerhead (Sphyrna mokarran)
  • Lemon shark (Negaprion brevirostris)
  • Longfin mako (Isurus paucus)
  • Narrowtooth (Carcharhinus brachyurus)
  • Night (Carcharhinus signatus)
  • Sandbar (Carcharhinus plumbeus)
  • Sand tiger (Odontaspis taurus)
  • Scalloped hammerhead (Sphryna lewini)
  • Sevengill (Heptranchias perlo)
  • Silky (Carcharhinus falciformis)
  • Sixgill shark (Hexanchus griseus)
  • Smalltail (Carcharhinus porosus)
  • Smooth hammerhead (Sphyrna zygaena)
  • Spiny dogfish (Squalus acanthias)
  • Tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier)
  • Whale (Rhincodon typus)
  • White (Carcharodon carcharias) 

Prohibited shark species must remain in the water with the gills submerged when fishing from shore or from a vessel, and prohibited shark species must be released without delay when fishing from the shore. If hook removal will delay release, cut the hook or the leader as close to the hook as possible. 

This new law makes it so that you must keep the gills in the water, there is an exception for removal of hook, which should be done as quickly as possible. 

Module 4 -- Shark Identification

This section makes sure you know what shark you are catching.  As most of the law and course says, when in doubt, treat it as protected, we know most of you know your shark species pretty well already though. 

Bullsharks, lemon sharks, and sandbar sharks are three species that are often confused, the quiz shows anglers one way to tell the sharks apart, by looking at where the pec fins are compared to the dorsal.  This is important from the FWC perspective since Sandbar Sharks, and lemon sharks are prohibited from harvest. 

Almost all sharks with an interndorsal ridge are prohibited , the only ones that are not you probably won't ever see from land, so this slide is a pass. 

Another way to tell, is that the Sandbar shark has the largest dorsal compared to its body, and the lemon shark has two bigger dorsal fins.  In general Bullsharks are much fatter than both of these sharks, however this is less obvious when you catch one of these species under the 6 foot mark. 

This  shark fish id slide is probably one that you will use a lot when shark fishing, blacktip sharks and spinner sharks are some of the most common sharks caught when fishing for sharks from land.  Oftentimes most anglers just call a spinner shark a blacktip shark because they look so similar. Below you have more information on these two sharks. 

Telling A Blacktip Shark Apart From A Spinner Shark

To tell these two types of sharks apart, you are going to want to look at the anal fin. Ironically the blacktip shark has a white anal fin and the spinner shark has black tipped anal fin.  Besides the fact that you probably want to know what type of shark you are catching, this is important, because if you were going to eat a spinner shark or use it for bait ( it would have to be 54") vs a blacktip which has no size limit. 

Hammerhead Vs. Bonnet Head

If you are fishing and you catch a small looking hammerhead, this is a slide you may want to check out before attempting to harvest. 


Take the quiz to get your code.  If you get something wrong, you can always go back and correct. 

Tight Lines!

For a full listing of shark fishing laws, you may want to check this link out. Warning, this law is dense, and you may actually want to be a lawyer to read through the whole thing. 

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