Spring is a wonderful time for freshwater fishing throughout Florida. For starters, the weather tends to be especially comfortable. In addition, most sunfish – including bass, bluegill and redear sunfish – are in the shallows this time of year and fairly easy to locate. The stars must have been aligned, because this winter and early spring, freshwater anglers have been telling the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) that fishing is outstanding.
If having fun and the chance to catch a fresh meal are not enough incentives to go fishing this weekend, there are plenty of other reasons. According to a series of studies published in the June 2010 “Journal of Environmental Psychology,” being outside in nature makes people feel more alive. The research showed that the sense of increased vitality was more than just the energizing effects of physical activity or social interactions.
“USA Today” reported last month that doctors and pediatricians are even writing nature prescriptions for families as part of a program sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Environmental Education Foundation. The scripts say: “Rx for healthy and active outdoor living.” As with all prescriptions, the benefits of active, nature-based recreation, such as fishing, are well-documented.
If you are still hesitating, this weekend is the time to go. Both residents and nonresidents in Florida can fish in public fresh waters across the state without a license during the weekend of April 2 and 3. All other fishing rules apply.
The Florida Legislature and the FWC designated the first full weekend in April each year as Florida’s Free Freshwater Fishing Weekend. This coincides with Children & Nature Awareness Month.
Free Freshwater Fishing Weekend is a great opportunity for experienced anglers to share their love of the sport with family and friends. It is also a perfect opportunity for those who don’t regularly fish to take a child who has asked to go fishing.
So pull out those old rods sitting in your garage, borrow one, or buy an inexpensive fishing kit and head to the nearest fishing hole. Just being outdoors, away from the TV and phone, and talking together while you await the next bite will make it a worthwhile family outing.
Also, join thousands of anglers who have taken the Anglers’ Legacy Pledge by visiting AnglersLegacy.org and entering partner code FLFWC. Anglers’ Legacy is about sharing, by making a promise to introduce somebody new to fishing, one of America’s most popular traditions.
The FWC and Get Outdoors Florida! (GetOutdoorsFlorida.org) encourage everyone, especially children, to connect with nature this weekend. Recreational fishing is the No. 1 gateway activity to increase your overall involvement in outdoor activities. This weekend, you can learn why Florida is the “Fishing Capital of the World.” Not only has fishing been great this spring, virtually every Floridian is within 45 minutes of a freshwater fishing opportunity.
Visit MyFWC.com/Fishing to learn about fishing regulations in Florida, places to go, or fishing tips for your adventure.