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On the Water: A Fee for Saltwater Fishing Permits?

Thu, 09/14/2023 - 18:05
The false albacore have arrived. Bob Wilder landed and released this speedster last week aboard a light-tackle excursion with Capt. Merritt White of Gunkholin Charters out of Montauk. 
Capt. Merritt White

With Tumbleweed Tuesday in the rearview mirror, the fall season fast approaching, and Halloween just around the corner, the calendar speeds ahead.

As such, it’s probably a fine time to catch up on various fishing issues of note, before it’s too late.

First off, as a reminder, if you fish in saltwater in New York and are over the age of 16, you must possess a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation printout of your marine registry permit (anglers who fish aboard party or charter boats are exempt).

Every year starting on the date that you receive it, you need to renew this free permit if you wish to partake in saltwater fishing and be in compliance with the law. Those without a permit or an expired one are subject to receiving a rather hefty fine. Nobody likes a lighter wallet.

You can register online at the D.E.C. website or by calling 866-933-2257. Inside tip: It’s easier and quicker to make the phone call.

That all said, the marine registry may soon cease to exist, as the D.E.C. is considering a fee-based license for fishing in New York marine waters. It hopes that the money raised could be allocated to a dedicated fund that will benefit the recreational fishing community. Right now, New York and New Jersey are the only Atlantic and Gulf states not to have a fee-based saltwater license.

But before such a law is put in place, feedback is being sought. The D.E.C. is encouraging anglers to fill out a quick saltwater fishing survey by clicking here.

According to the D.E.C., the results of this anonymous survey will help gauge interest in such a proposed license, and determine how the money raised could be used to support recreational fishing efforts.

Anglers are already chomping at the bit for the start of blackfish season, and many bait and tackle shops have placed their orders for green crabs, a most popular bait to entice the toothy, tough fish to take a hook and line.

The season starts on Oct. 15. However, if you fish Long Island Sound, you can drop your baited hooks a few days earlier, on Oct. 11.

On the current fishing scene, light-tackle anglers are rejoicing about the arrival of false albacore out at Montauk and in Gardiner’s Bay. Fishing rods are bending, reels are screaming, and anglers are smiling.

“Albie fishing is really on fire,” agreed Capt. Savio Mizzi, a light-tackle guide who operates Fishooker charters out of Montauk. “It’s great to see them back in full force.”

“The albies have gone crazy,” Capt. David Blinken of North Flats Guiding, another light-tackle charter service, said on Sunday afternoon. “They are here big time, and the action has been great.”

“When they finally showed up on Thursday, from early morning through the afternoon, I only burned two gallons of gas,” he said. “They were everywhere.” The albies should continue to bring wide grins to the faces of anglers for many more weeks before the waters begin to chill.

Over at Tight Lines Tackle in Sag Harbor, the owner, Ken Morse, was also enthusiastic about the false albacore action, but he also praised the excellent fishing in the ocean surf for striped bass.

“Mecox and Sagg Pond were both opened late last week, and surfcasters have taken advantage of some very good action, with a nice number of bass in the 28-to-31-inch slot size being landed too,” he said. “It’s been nice to see.”

Farther offshore, the bite has been excellent for many species.

As proof, the Viking Star returned over the weekend from an extended excursion with a boatload of fish after trolling up some hefty yellowfin tuna up to 55 pounds as well as a solid catch of tilefish weighing up to 33 pounds.

The two dozen anglers aboard also landed a few denizens of the deep, including barrel fish, pollock, hake, and cusk. No doubt hands, elbows, and arms were most weary at the end of the three-day trip.


   Fishing tips, observations, and photographs can be sent to [email protected].


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