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BigOutdoors
11-02-2009, 06:13 AM
Fishing Column: Fishing license numbers are growing

By Martin Armstrong
Correspondent
Posted: 10/30/2009 11:07:02 PM EDT
Updated: 10/30/2009 11:07:02 PM EDT






The Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation (RBFF) and the American Sportfishing Association (http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/sports/ci_13681389#) (ASA) announced last week the publication of a quarterly fishing license sales index to track trends that have an impact on the industry and the entire recreational fishing community. The results are rather surprising!
"Not since the 1970s have we seen a single-year increase in fishing license sales like we've seen so far in 2009," said ASA President and CEO Mike Nussman. "Understanding how the needle moves in terms of sportfishing participation is important not just for the sportfishing industry, but for the entire outdoor recreation community. This new license metric will provide everyone with important sales and participation information."
"Our recent research shows that fishing is the number one gateway activity for introducing children and their families to the outdoors," said RBFF President and CEO Frank Peterson. "We believe that national campaigns such as 'Take Me Fishing' and state-based sportfishing marketing and direct mail (http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/sports/ci_13681389#) are also having a positive effect."
As of September 1, 2009, state fish and wildlife agencies reported a 7.7 percent positive change in the number of licenses sold year-to-date compared to the same months last year (January- July 2009 vs. January- July 2008). The same states also saw a seven percent increase in the number of licenses sold in July 2009 compared with July 2008.
According to Southwick Associates (http://www.stamfordadvocate.com/sports/ci_13681389#),
the firm analyzing the data, fishing license sales increased at a faster rate in the first quarter of 2009 compared to the second quarter. Increases of 20 percent or more were common in the first quarter.
However, a larger volume of sales occurred in the second quarter -- the peak period for license sales nationally -- and had a greater effect on the year-to-date sales trend than first quarter license sales. After standardizing the July index to contain the same states as previous months, license sales increased nearly a full percentage point over May and June sales. In general, more fishing licenses are sold during the second quarter (April, May, June) than any other time of the year.
"Reasons for the 2009 license sales increases range from a slow economy, which may allow people more time to engage in outdoor activities, to recreational fishing being a lower cost alternative to other forms of recreation," said Peterson.
"When the index moves by just a tenth of a point, 40,000 anglers have entered or quit sportfishing. Considering the typical angler spends $176 a year on just fishing tackle alone, and contributes over $40 annually to conservation via license dollars and excise taxes, a small change in the index represents big changes on the ground," said Nussman.
Ultimately, anglers, and other sportsmen and women, are the most significant funding source for conservation and recreation in the United States.
Through the purchase of fishing licenses and special excise taxes on gear and motorboat fuel, hundreds of millions of anglers' dollars each year are collected or funneled to states for conservation and recreation. In 2008, $720 million of these excise taxes were distributed for fisheries management and recreational boating enhancement. In addition, fishing license sales generated $600 million in revenue for state fish and wildlife agencies.
State fish and wildlife agencies reporting license sales numbers include Florida, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas and Utah.
They were selected on their ability to provide consistent license sales data to illustrate both a national and regional perspective. As more states expand their data reporting capacity, the number of reporting states will increase.
Sale totals for Connecticut are not currently available.
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Last week was not as cold as the week before was but we did see more rain. And the rain did keep some anglers off the water. But most of those who fished found the action to be pretty good.
Blackfish is still your best bet. Shore anglers are having a field day with schoolie bass. Bluefish are widely scattered and not too many were caught last week. Porgy fishing is red hot in spots but you can't keep them as the season is closed.
The largest blackfish of the week was reported by Nick at Fisherman's World. Nick said they weighed a 10-pound tautog that Kevin Dunn caught while fishing off Penfield Light. Dunn also caught a 7.5-pounder. Both fish were taken on green crabs.
Vinny Quattrocchi caught a 9-pound blackfish while bottom fishing at Budd's Reef. He also caught some smaller tautog including a 6-pounder. All of the fish were taken using crabs.
Ed Biondi and Jack Parisconclola along with three of their friends caught their limits of blackfish while fishing a couple of spots off Norwalk. Their largest fish measured 21-inches in length.
Tripp Curtis made a couple of trips to Green's Ledge last weekend. On Saturday, he fished there with Kathy Kanabos. They each limited out on tautog up to 5-pounds. On Sunday, Curtis returned with his friend, Sachtjen, and together they limited out with fish up to 6-pounds.
Capt. Nemo fished Smith's Reef this week with lots of success. He hooked plenty of blackfish using both green and Asian crabs. His largest fish tipped the scales at 8.5-pounds.
Also doing well at Smith's Reef was Freddie Leno. Using green and Asian crabs he caught a limit of fish including one that weighed 6.75-pounds.
Dr. Vic Sahib did well at the Stamford Cobblestone Reef last week. He caught a limit of blackfish also using green crabs. His largest fish weighed 6.5-pounds.
Scott at Fish Tales Bait and Tackle reported than a fisherman known only as Frankie also did real well at Cobblestone Reef. He caught a limit of blackfish using crabs.
Paul McFarland tried his luck at Tod's Point last week. He caught lots of blackfish but most of them were too small to keep. His largest fish weighed 5-pounds. McFarland was using green crabs for bait.
Kevin at Sportsman's Den reported that Cal Darula Jr. reeled in a coupled of blackfish including one that tipped the scales at 8.88-pounds. Darula was fishing a secret spot off Greenwich.
Jon Windus and Mike Noyes were also fishing off Greenwich last week. They caught a bunch of blackfish weighing between 5 and 7-pounds. The fish were taken on green crabs.
The folks at Rudy's Tackle Barn reported that Larry Gioia reeled in a couple of nice blackfish while fishing near Jones Light. His largest tautog weighed 8-pounds and was taken on an Asian crab.
Stan Leonard did real well off Shippan Point. Using green crabs he caught 26 blackfish. Twenty of the fish were keepers. His largest tautog weighed 8.5-pounds.
Scott Denice, Mario Cerbone, Sean Elumba and Pete Henderson travelled up to the New Haven breakwall for some fishing action.. They caught a dozen blackfish weighing up to 5.5-pounds.
As I mentioned earlier, shore anglers are doing well with schoolie bass. Gary Feighery has been fishing near the Stamford incinerator with lots of success. Using plastic shads, he caught and released a dozen fish measuring between 15 and 25-inches.
As incredible as it sounds even Dave Krom is catching and releasing lots of schoolie bass while fishing near the incinerator. Krom's fish measured between 12 and 25 inches and were all taken on a Rat-L-Trap.
Chris Poulis has been catching and releasing lots of bass while fishing from the docks by Cummings Beach. His fish were all schoolie size with none more than 25-inches. Poulis was also using a Rat-L-Trap.
Martin Armstrong is a member of the Fisheries Advisory Council, a lifetime member in Trout Unlimited and a member of the Outdoors Writers Association.