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Rods per angler regs

6439 Views 37 Replies 18 Participants Last post by  DoctorFish
I saw a comment on a posted report from yesterday (5/21) stating that there is a regulation on the number of rods that can be used by one angler on a boat. Is it really two rods per angler? I guess if you're fishing more than that, you need a commerical license. Is that the thinking behind this reg?
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I usually have at least a half dozen rods on board for any situation that may arise.Of course at any time i can only handle two personally.Is it illegal to have these on board or just in use at any time?
You can have as many rods on board as you like, but you can only be fishing at a rate of two rods per angler.
Here's the link Doctorfish

Scroll down about 1/3 of the way to section 11-0103 (12)(b).

Another interesting thing about the reg, is that apparently, bait rigs with more than 5 hooks are illegal. I have seen sabiki rigs in stores with 6 hooks on them.
I guess trolling 10 rods offshore with 3 guys on board would be breaking the law?
After you're three miles offshore the state regulations end and federal regulations take over. I am not aware of any federal rods per angler regulations (if they have any).
The law only applies to fishing within the 3-mile limit and does not apply to the EEZ.
joe billoti (dec cop on the east end ) when asked stated you can only use two(2) rods when fishing in state waters.
One rod per arm seems pretty reasonable...! Can a guy with only one rod fish with 2 rods? If the guy is a vet I hope the answer is YES! GOD BLESS
Thanks Doughboy.

But if you look at the law, the definition right above "angling" is the one for "fishing". Now where does it say that within the marine district it is illegal for us to go "fishing" using means other than what is legally defined as "angling"?

Sandman's post gives a close (but confusing) lead in the right direction. It makes reference to
[Section 13-0335-1 ECL]. This section is the State's poor attempt to define exactly what they consider to be commercia fishing. Here is the text;

S 13-0335. Food fish; license; prohibited acts.
1. A person who is domiciled in the state may take and land food fish
for commercial purposes, upon obtaining a marine commercial food fishing
license, except as prohibited by this chapter, from the waters of the
marine and coastal district and may land food fish taken from waters
outside New York state boundaries for commercial purposes. For purposes
of this section "commercial purposes" shall mean the taking of food fish
by any method for subsequent sale, trade or barter or to offer for sale,
trade or barter and the taking of food fish when setting, maintaining,
operating or using nets, except cast nets, not in excess of twenty feet
in diameter, when operated by hand for the purposes of taking only
Atlantic menhaden (Brevoortia tyrannus) and mullets (Mugil spp), for recreational purposes only, seines not larger than thirty feet long or
four feet deep or lift nets not larger than sixteen square feet; traps,
except bait traps not more than thirty inches in length; combs; pots; or
hook and line, except by angling. The fee for such license shall be two
hundred fifty dollars, and shall cover all persons employed by the
licensee while engaged in such employment of commercial fishing.

If you notice, there is that phrase towards the end that states "and hook and line, except by angling".

Is anyone here an attorney who can decipher this section??

Is the State attempting to say that If you fish using hook and line you are commercial fishing unless you are following the definition of "angling"???

It's no wonder that I couldn't find this stupid law. Even when I think I'm looking at it, I'm still not sure! You gotta Love this stupid State!
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Rod Law

A friend of mine gave some DEC Cops some lip a few years back (He is a NC corrections officer and should have known better but they caught him in a bad mood) they gave him several violations on the water one was for fishing more than two rods and they confiscated his rods. He had to appear before the Judge. He got his rods back and had to pay up but the part of fishing with more than two rods was dropped. It was noted that the rod part of the law was not intended to be part of the law but somehow got in there and to change it now would not be cost effective so it stands but is not being enforced. And that is the whole, truth nothing but the truth, so help me God.


Okay, to answer my question, I emailed a copy of that section of the law to a client of mine who is a supreme court judge. Even he agrees the wording is extremely poor.

His response to my question was that any judge would have to take a look at the law and how it is being applied and ask themselves this question;

Is this law being applied to serve the purpose for which it was meant to serve when it was written? In this case, his ruling would be "NO", the definition of what constitutes commercial fishing was not written to restrict recreational angling and the number of lines a recreational angler is permitted to use. But he also added that on another day, another judge might look at it differently.

He also emphasized that although the chapter defines "angling" as fishing with not more than two lines, nowhere does the chapter state that recreational fishing within the marine waters must only be attempted via "angling". He added that the freshwater legislation specifically states that fishing is not permitted EXCEPT by angling. No such phrase was written into the laws for the marine district.

So basically, it's up to the judge. Some might laugh at the charges, some might throw the book at you. But since it is common acceptance among DEC officials that there is a two-line limit within State waters, everyone must hesitate to consider the consequences.

Oh, one last thing... he also mentioned that just because a person who is fishing with three or more lines does not meet the State's definition of "angling", it does not automatically mean that the law presumes that person to be commercial fishing. He said that anyone with a good lawyer could get one of these violations thrown out of court on the grounds that there are holes in the legislation. It's the prosecutor's burden to prove that you broke a specific law. With the absence of the exact wording, it's open to debate and possible to fight sucessfully.
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Yeah! A judge will always tell you to hire a lawyer, thats because they are lawyers and want to promote the business. ANYWAY, to test the law it would be very expensive fillets!


you are reading too much into the law that defines prohibited acts for recreational fishing purposes.

the state is not saying that you are commercially fishing if you commit a prohibited act while recreationally fishing.

they are just saying, for example, that you can use a seine net for recreational fishing purposes - but that it may not exceed 30 feet in length. if you use a 50 foot seine for recreational fishing purposes, you are simply guilty of a prohibited act (net too long for recreational fishing purposes)- not guilty of commercial fishing without a license. if you want to use a 50 foot seine net, even if only for recreational fishing purposes, the only legal way to do so is to first obtain a commercial fishing license and follow those rules.

same logic applies to hook and line. for example, you cannot dead stick 6 rods for porgies, even if your purposes are purely recreational and you have absolutely no intention to sell, trade or barter your scup. on the other hand, if you insist on deadsticking 6 rods for porgies to feed your large extended family, you may legally do so by first obtaining a commercial license and abiding by the commercial rules.

there is no presumption in the law that you are commercially fishing (too difficult to prove intent)if your only offense is to commit an act that is prohibited for recreational fishing purposes.

in the above examples, the need for the commercial license and the requirement to follow commercial regs is based on the fact that you are fishing with non-recreational methods/equipment.

hope this clarifies matters.
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If it applies to Marine Dist, then it could mean that some umbrella rigs are illegal !
Good Point

Striper77 - good point...where do you draw the line. If you have one rod with 7 hooks, why would that not be a violation, or is it? You could conceivably pick up 7 fish at once.
i am sitting here shaking my we should be prepared to hire a lawyer ......doesn't anyone realize fishing is supposed to be fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!so there is a law that states two we fish with two rods......why beat this to death???now we have someone (supposedly) asking a supreme court judge about the legality??get a life......if the regs say two rods........use two rods....i do.....actually i only use one.this thread is making recreational anglers sound like the GREEDY commercial guys...which all of us complain about..

just my opinion ....i fish for fun.....not to kill as many fish as possible......try it may like it.......good luck!!
Opinari -You are right, that is the other way the legislation can be translated.

Striper77- Thanks, you summarized it and brought out the point I have been trying to make. It's not just about rods per angler. It's about the entire legal definition and how, if enforced, actually makes it illegal to fish with more than two rods, with many umbrella rigs, mackeral rigs, and herring rigs, keeping snagged fish, etc...

For instance, technically, snagging bunker is "snatching", not angling. If we follow the law, everyone who snags bunker is actually breaking the law too!
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