Florida offers bonus packages  to sell fishing licenses

May 30, 2001

For the fifth consecutive year, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will offer anglers a five-year freshwater fishing license bonus package.

Anyone who buys a five-year freshwater fishing license during June and July will receive a bonus package with fishing tackle and magazines worth more than the license's cost ($61.50).

Purchase of lifetime licenses and five-year combination licenses that include freshwater fishing privileges also are eligible for this promotion. In addition, the package will include special deals and rebate offers. In effect, you get five years worth of freshwater fishing virtually for free.

Bob Wattendorf, of the FWC's Division of Freshwater Fisheries said, The bonus package has been expanded and improved this year because of the popularity of the promotion. This year the special deal will be offered during June and July, to take advantage of some of the extra promotional opportunities associated with National Fishing and Boating Week (www.nationalfishingandboatingweek.org), which is June 1-10.

You can start fishing right away, and an attractive plastic license along with your bonus package will be mailed to you within a month to six weeks. If that is not incentive enough, five- year and lifetime licenses, auto matically cover any fee increases that may occur before the license expires.

You can purchase the license during June or July and set the activation date for as long as 60 days after you make the purchase if your current license has not expired.

"Major manufacturers and local companies teamed up to make this offer for the first time in 1997," Wattendorf said. "The result was a six-fold increase in five- year freshwater fishing license sales."

This year, lure manufacturers such as Berkley, Culprit, DOA, Gary Yamamoto, PRADCO and Storm are providing sample lures.

Florida's home-grown Millenium Twist Fishing System also will be included in the package. A package of Daiichi bassworm hooks is included from Tru-Turn International, along with Ultra-Point hooks from Mustad. Sierra Games will include a functional demo CD for their most popular fishing games.

A package of bream hooks is offered by the North American Fishing Club, along with a discounted membership offer that opens the door to other free offers. Bass Pro Shops is giving away an insulated coffee mug.

Quantum is offering a special reel oil in a pen-like dispenser. In addition, popular Florida fishing destinations are being highlighted by convention and visitors' bureaus from Central Florida, Lee Island Coast, Kissimmee/St. Cloud and Seminole County each of which have included a free gift for five-year license buyers. Popular magazines like BASS' "Structure Basics," "Florida Fishing and Boating," and "Florida Wildlife" will be included.

Coupons will let you get a free copy of "Florida Sportsman," along with a free pass to one of its boat shows, and discounted memberships in "The Big Bass Record Club," and the International Game Fish Association, both of which provide free incentives to join. Phat-Fish eyeware has a free eyeglass retainer and discount coupon. Larsen Outdoor Press, Carlson Tackle and other special offers sweeten the package. In addition, Florida LAKEWATCH, the Division of Freshwater Fisheries and the Florida Boating Safety program are providing valuable information.

Licenses can be purchased from an on-line vendor, such as eAngler.com where a $1.95 surcharge applies, and if you act before June 15 they'll enter you into a drawing for a free Cobia boat, engine and trailer), through FWC's instant license number, call 1-888-FISH-FLOrida, (a $3.95 surcharge applies to these credit card transactions) or at your local tax collector's office.