As I’m sure most of you know, all 17,000 surf fishing licenses that went on sale at 10 a.m. on February 1 were sold out by 2 p.m. that same day. This time frame included over an hour when the online system crashed shortly after 10 a.m. My personal story is that I was online at 10am, and by the time I finally got to checkout, the only tags left were the restricted ones, only good for weekdays during the summer. Actually, it doesn’t matter because I never go near the beach on weekends or summer vacation.
One of the biggest problems associated with the 10 a.m. start time on Tuesday is that that’s when most people are at work. One of the comments I saw was from a long-haul truck driver who couldn’t even stand a chance of getting a regular license since he was somewhere between New York and Chicago. It is people who have regular jobs and only have weekends off who need the regular permits.
Many people seemed to think that the majority of permits were for non-Delaware residents. We won’t know for sure until the numbers are released, but in the past around 75% of permits were sold to residents, while 25% went to non-residents.
Paul Warren from Rehoboth took the time to email me with his idea of combining the surf fishing license with the beach cleanup. He suggests sending specially marked or colored disposal bags with each permit and asking the recipient to clean the beach each time they use the permit. He believes it will add a sense of responsibility to people using the beach. To get the permit you have to agree to clean the beach, and to renew you have to say you have cleaned the beach.
I’m not even smart enough to suggest how the DNREC is going to solve this problem. I’m sure they’re covered in nasty emails and phone calls, but once the dust settles the problem will persist. I wish them a lot of luck!
No more fishing mistakes
Here’s more on the topic of common mistakes I see with fishing, which was the subject of last week’s column. Something I see is using too little or too much weight. This is especially critical on leading boats. Before lowering the first rig, ask the mate what weight you should use. I actually call ahead to find out what weight they used and then bring in a fair amount of that size sinker. When everyone on the boat uses the same weight, the rigs will sink at the same rate, which will limit the number of tangled lines.
While we’re talking about the lead boats, if you have any inkling that you might be seasick, grab something before you get on the boat. There’s nothing that cures seasickness except dry land, and you won’t see it for several hours.
Once on board, choose a fishing spot from whatever remains, place a rod or two in the holders, then find a bench or seat for the outing. Put your coolers out of the way and get your rods ready before the first stop.
While too little weight will cause tangles, too much weight will take all the fun out of fishing. I have seen people fishing from docks, lead boats and even from my boat with way too much weight for the rod and reel they were using. Most fishing rods have the weights they were designed for marked on the shaft just above the reel seat. Most rods will carry a little more weight than this number, but if they say 2 ounces they will not carry 6. Using excessive weight will cause the rod to bend so much that all sensitivity will be lost . The large sinker will also pick up any debris at the bottom.
Leads are another big mistake I see people make. You should use a short trace of line when fishing for wahoo and sharks, but that’s about it. I went with 80 pound mono leaders for big blues and red or black drum. Mono is easier to work with, and I landed blues at 18 pounds and red drum at 48 inches. You should check the leader for damage after each fish and replace it if you find any nicks. Don’t ask me how I know that.
Another no-no is to use a pyramid sinker in Indian River Inlet. I recently told a guy not to throw one away or he would never see it again. He did, and he didn’t.