With the 2018 fishing season bearing down on us, there are a few things you need to know to be prepared, whether you fish offshore, inshore or in the surf.
Shark Regulation Changes
Shark fishermen should take note that effective back to January 1, if you hold an HMS (Highly Migratory Species) Permit, which is required for any boat targeting offshore species like tuna and sharks, you are required to obtain a Shark Endorsement, which requires completion of an online shark identification and fishing regulation training course, plus additional recreational fisheries outreach. You are also required to use non-offset, non-stainless steel circle hooks with that shark endorsement when fishing for sharks recreationally south of 41° 43’ N latitude (near Chatham, Massachusetts), except when fishing with flies or artificial lures. That requirement is already in effect for New York State waters inshore of three miles. For further information, contact the HMS Management Division at 301-427-8503, or go to www.fisheries.noaa.gov/topic/atlantic-highly-migratory-species.
Also concerning shark fishing this year is a new size limit for shortfin mako sharks, which is the typical mako caught in our waters. The new size limit, effective immediately, is 83 inches or 210 cm. Based on weight to length charts, an 83-inch mako should be approximately 220 to 235 pounds. “Fishermen that hold an HMS Angling or Charter/Headboat permits, and fishermen that hold Atlantic Tunas General category permits when participating in a registered HMS tournament are encouraged to practice catch and release of all shortfin mako sharks in a manner that causes the least harm, while giving due consideration to the safety of crew members. Fishermen that hold the above permits may only land a shortfin mako shark (male or female) if the shark meets the minimum size of 83 inches fork length.”
2018 New York Regulation Changes
As the 2018 season nears, inshore anglers will be pleased to learn that fluke season will be expanded, opening on May 4 and running through September 30 with four fish at 19 inches. Last season ran May 17 to September 21 with a three fish limit at 19 inches. There will be little change in the porgy season other than a reduction in the size limit from 10 inches to 9 inches this season. If you like your blackfish, there’s more good news. For the first time in quite a few years, there will be a spring season running from April 1 through April 30 with a two fish bag at 16 inches Island-wide. Since Long Island is the dividing line of two management regions, Long Island Sound to the north and NY Bight to the south, regulations for the fall season differ. In the Sound, the season will run from October 11 through December 9 with 3 fish at 16 inches. In NY Bight, which encompasses the entire South Shore and the East End to the south side of Fishers Island, the season will run from October 15 through December 22 with 4 fish at 16 inches. Sea bass regulations are still up in the air. All state size limits are measured in total length.
State Park Fishing Permits
New York State Park fishing permits are on sale now but the deadline of Sunday, March 31 is fast approaching. If you don’t purchase your permit before the spring deadline, you will have to wait until after Labor Day to purchase a permit. A copy of your vehicle registration, driver’s license and DEC marine registry is required when purchasing any state park fishing permit.
The fee for the Night Sport Fishing Permit has increased from $30 to $35 ($60 out of state). It allows fishing after sunset in designated parking lots and access to designated fishing access areas during the day and night. Sold at: Babylon Headquarters – Permit Office, Jones Beach, Montauk Downs, Robert Moses, Governor Alfred E. Smith/Sunken Meadow and Wildwood.
The fee for a Four-Wheel Drive Beach Vehicle Permit increased from $65 to $80 ($125 out of state) this year. Sold at: Babylon Headquarters – Permit Office, Jones Beach, Montauk Downs, Robert Moses and Sunken Meadow.
Camp Hero Fishing Permits remain at $40 ($75 out of state). Vehicle Registration, Driver’s License and DEC Marine registry is required. Allows fishing after sunset in Camp Hero State Park, and provides additional parking access. Sold at: Babylon Headquarters – Permit Office and Montauk Downs.
Caumsett Fishing Permits (500 available permits) have been sold out since early January. For more information on permits, call 631-321-3510 or visit www.nysparks.com.