Can you keep pinfish in Florida?

Answered by Ricardo McCardle

Keeping pinfish in Florida is legal as long as you follow certain regulations and guidelines. Pinfish are commonly used as bait in fishing, and many anglers choose to trap their own pinfish to ensure a fresh and readily available supply.

To legally keep pinfish in Florida, you need to use a trap that adheres to specific size and entrance requirements. The trap dimensions must not exceed 24 inches in any dimension, and the volume should not be greater than 8 cubic feet. This ensures that the traps are of a reasonable size and won’t negatively impact the marine environment.

In terms of the trap entrance, it should not exceed 3 inches in height by ¾ inches in width. This size limitation prevents the capture of larger fish species that may not be intended targets, allowing for the sustainable harvesting of pinfish without significant bycatch.

It’s important to note that you can set as many traps as you’d like, as long as each trap meets the size and entrance requirements. This allows for flexibility in your trapping efforts and the ability to target different areas or depths for pinfish.

When setting up your pinfish traps, it’s crucial to follow best practices to ensure the safety and welfare of the trapped pinfish. Make sure to check the traps regularly to minimize stress on the captured fish and release any non-target species promptly and unharmed.

Personal experiences can provide valuable insights into the process of trapping pinfish. For example, when I was in Florida last summer, I had the opportunity to go pinfish trapping with a group of friends. We set up multiple traps at different locations along the coast, each within the legal size limits. It was fascinating to see the variety of fish species that were attracted to the traps, including pinfish, which were abundant in the area.

By setting the traps in strategic locations, such as near seagrass beds or structures, we were able to increase our chances of capturing pinfish. It was important to monitor the traps regularly, as leaving them unattended for extended periods could lead to stress or harm to the trapped fish.

Keeping pinfish in Florida is legal and can be a rewarding experience for anglers. By adhering to the size and entrance regulations, as well as practicing responsible trapping and catch-and-release techniques, you can enjoy the benefits of having a fresh supply of pinfish for bait while contributing to sustainable fishing practices.