How Much Does a Ballyhoo Permit cost?

This question changes by the month. There are no Ballyhoo permits available. The state of Florida stopped issuing Lampara net permits decades ago. There is only one place in the US where Ballyhoo are caught on a commercial scale and that is south Florida. To acquire a Ballyhoo permit a buyer would have to be lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time, that is knowing whenone of the handful of fisherman is ready to part with his coveted permit The last sale of a permit was in 2016 and sold for 75,000 dollars Five years ago a permit would sell for 35,000. The state of Florida disqualified some permits due to a lack of fish landings. This has left only a handful of permits still valid which has made the price of the permit priceless. A fisherman can name his price for his permit. Before too long a permit could fetch as much as 250,000. 

Is a Ballyhoo permit worth buying?

Some people were buying permits for and investment, knowing the price would go way up. Some fishermen were not fishing any more but were holding on to the permit knowing they could never get another. There is a quota of fish that have to be caught in order to keep the permit valid. The quota is 50,000 fish over a 3 year period. Catching 50,000 fish can usually be done in just a few short trips. The state has not been enforcing the quota until this year, 2016. Some of those permits were lost permanently. Don’t buy a permit unless you plan on fishing in the 2 or 3 years following the purchase.

Is fishing for Ballyhoo profitable?

Yes. The price of Ballyhoo fluctuates, Usually sold by the box (2,000-2500 fish). A box can sell for 400.00 to 600.00 depending on the time of year and the amount of fish coming to the docks. Most Ballyhoo fisherman are very quiet about how much money they make. The state limits each boat to 10 boxes per day. The math is simple = 70 boxes per week times 400 per box = 28K times 600 = 42K for a good week. A good week would consist of fair weather and a good run of fish. When a good run of fish occurs fisherman only need to set their net once to fill their 10 boxes. The price is usually set by the fish houses. There are many fish houses that package Ballyhoo to be sold to tackle stores across the US. All of these fish houses are located in southern Florida where the fish can be bought, packaged and frozen quickly.
Some bait companies are attempting to acquire Ballyhoo from countries such as Mexico In an effort to buy these baitfish cheaper. Success has been limited due to the cost of air freight and the timing in which quality bait has to be processed.

Ballyhoo Permit



netting ballyhoo




Ballyhoo Permit


There are 2 species of Ballyhoo

The Ballyhoo and the Balao are 2 common species caught in Florida waters. The Greenbacks are Ballyhoo and are found in shallow water where they feed on vegetation. The Balao is also know as the blueback. They are found over deeper reefs and feed on anything they can hunt down and fit in their beaks.