This Is Why You Need A Fishing License (Hint: It’s Not What You Think)


It’s easy to feel that since we live on or near the water, we should be able to fish without needing to pay for a license, right?

However, by paying for a fishing license, we’re actually supporting massive organizations that protect our fisheries.

In the ’80s and ’90s there was a big decline in the redfish population (understandably: they’re fun to catch and good to eat!)

They were getting overfished, but thankfully, state wildlife commissions stepped up and started limiting the harvesting of redfish.

The result?

Redfish populations bounced back.

But imagine if nobody stepped up and protected them.

They’re not any less fun to catch now as they were then, and they’re not any less delicious either…

So it’s not out of this world to think that there might not be any redfish today if nobody protected them.

It’s initiatives like this that you support when you buy a fishing license.

And this redfish story is just one example.

Red snapper faced a similar plight in the ’80s and ’90s, but thanks to proper management, populations have bounced back.

So when you think about the possibility of having no redfish or red snapper, purchasing a fishing license isn’t that bad…

But let’s dive a little deeper into all the good that you do when you buy a fishing license.

100% Of Fishing License Sales Support Conservation

indian river lagoon fishing

According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, 100% of fishing license sales go to conservation.

And in 2018 alone, anglers provided $700 million to conservation by buying fishing licenses!

This means that by buying a fishing license, you’re supporting projects such as:

  • Fish management
  • Species and habitat restoration
  • Habitat protection
  • Land acquisition
  • Research
  • Education
  • Public access for fishing and boating (like public boat ramps)

I don’t know about you, but I think it would be pretty hard to launch a boat without a boat ramp…

Note: we did an awesome podcast about how fishing financially supports conservation.  You can listen to it here.

The Wildlife Commissions Are Incredible

how fwc collects data

A few weeks ago we had Eric Weather, a marine biologist from the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission on our podcast to talk about how they make decisions on managing our fisheries.

That led to my brother Luke and I getting invited on one of their data collecting expeditions and Holy Smokes! These guys are legit.

It’s easy to think that the guys making the decisions are faceless suits behind desks, taking cruel enjoyment out of closing redfish season for no apparent reason, but that’s not the case at all.

The FWC collects data, and TONS of it, to help guide their decisions.

To summarize a complicated process, they go out to randomly generated spots, hop in the water (rain or shine, sharks and stingrays or not, low or high tide) and use seine nets to catch whatever is in the area.

Then they measure and record everything they catch.

And oh yeah, they do this several times per month, in every region of the state!

Their data collection is rock solid, which allows them to study trends over the years, and the effects of things like cold snaps and red tide.

And although this was just in Florida, I’m sure that other states have similar standards for their decision making, too.

Watch a quick video from our trip below.

FWC “Behind The Scenes” Bait Counting [VIDEO]

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Where Can You Get A Fishing License? is on a mission to get 60 million anglers fishing by the year 2021, and they’re making it super easy for you to get a fishing license.

It can be tough to find or navigate your state’s wildlife commission website, so they created this simple tool below.

All you need to do to get a fishing license is click on the state you plan to fish in below, and purchase a license.


So the next time you think about going fishing without a license, remember that by purchasing one you’re joining millions of others in supporting the conservation of our fisheries.

Have a question about fishing licenses?

Let us know in the comments below!

And if you want to catch more fish while on the water enjoying the benefits of your fishing license, join our Insider Club.

P.S. Know someone who needs to get their fishing license? TAG or SHARE this with them!

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David Atkins
1 year ago

Another great information packed video yet again; thanks guys and gals – get a license!
Fight a good fight for our fishing environment, save our beloved sport – FISHING


Do what the “SMART ANGLERS” are doing and join the Insider Club.

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