Florida’s Bowfishing Limits: How Many Bowfish Can You Harvest?

How Many Bowfish are You Allowed to Take in Florida: A Comprehensive Guide


If you’re an avid bowfisher residing in sunny Florida, it’s essential to be aware of the regulations surrounding your favorite pastime. Understanding the rules and limits set by the state not only ensures compliance but also helps preserve our precious aquatic ecosystems. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into how many bowfish you are allowed to take in Florida, providing you with all the necessary information for a successful and responsible bowfishing experience.

The Basics of Bowfishing Regulations in Florida

Bowfishing is an exciting sport that combines archery skills with fishing techniques. However, engaging in this activity necessitates adhering to specific guidelines outlined by local authorities. In Florida, where water resources abound, it’s crucial to follow the law to ensure sustainable fishing practices.

Legal Limits on Bowfish Quantity

Florida permits anglers participating in bowfishing activities to harvest certain species under established catch limits. These limits help maintain healthy populations and prevent overexploitation within freshwater bodies statewide.

Freshwater Fish Species:

When targeting freshwater fish species through bowfishing methods, there are different restrictions depending on whether you possess a valid recreational fishing license:

1. Anglers without a license:
– For non-licensed individuals engaging solely in target-specific shooting or tournament events authorized by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), no bag limit applies.

2. Anglers with a license:
– If you hold a valid recreational fishing license issued by FWC while practicing bowfishing recreationally outside of tournaments or designated events, general freshwater fishing regulations apply.
– As per these regulations, daily bag limits for some commonly targeted freshwater fish include:
– Largemouth Bass: 5 fish per person
– Bluegill/Sunfish: 50 fish per person
– Catfish (Channel, Blue, Flathead): No statewide bag limit, but individual water bodies may have specific restrictions.

Saltwater and Coastal Fish Species:

Bowfishing in Florida’s saltwater or coastal areas requires adherence to separate regulations governing these regions.

1. Anglers without a license:
– For non-licensed individuals participating exclusively in target-specific shooting or tournament events authorized by FWC, no bag limits apply.

2. Anglers with a license:
– If you possess a valid recreational fishing license while bowfishing recreationally in saltwater or coastal regions outside designated tournaments/events, general regulations for recreational saltwater fishing come into effect.
– Some notable species with associated daily bag limits include:
– Red Drum (Redfish): 1 fish per person within the slot size range of 18-27 inches (excluding the maximum allowed oversized red drum)
– Snook: Varies based on season and size requirements – refer to current FWC guidelines

Additional Considerations

While knowing the legal limits is crucial when engaging in bowfishing activities, it’s equally important to remain aware of other essential aspects that contribute to responsible participation:

Catch Reporting:

Florida encourages anglers who harvest freshwater and/or saltwater game fish species regulated by minimum size limits or bag/purchase limits to report their catches through the mandatory iAngler app available on iOS and Android devices. Sharing this information aids biologists in understanding population dynamics and implementing effective conservation measures.

Fish Identification:

To ensure compliance with catch limits set forth by state authorities, it’s vital for all bowfishers to familiarize themselves with accurate identification techniques for various targeted species. This knowledge helps prevent mistakenly harvesting protected or prohibited fish.

Check for Updates:

Regulations governing fishing limits are subject to change. Stay informed about any updated rules, exemptions, or new regulations by regularly consulting the official FWC website or contacting local authorities responsible for managing Florida’s natural resources.


Bowfishing enthusiasts in Florida can enjoy their sport while preserving and protecting aquatic ecosystems by following the established catch limits. Adhering to these legal restrictions ensures sustainable bowfishing practices and contributes to the long-term health of freshwater, saltwater, and coastal fish populations. Remember to stay up-to-date with current regulations and foster a sense of stewardship towards our beautiful natural resources as you embark on your thrilling bowfishing adventures throughout the Sunshine State!