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Month: December 2018

Why Devils Lake Ice Fishing Trips are Perfect for Perch Fans

Why Devils Lake Ice Fishing Trips are Perfect for Perch Fans

Winter is here, but that doesn’t mean you have to stash away all of your fishing gear. Why not consider taking a Devils Lake ice fishing trip? Located in northeastern North Dakota and covering more than 180,000 acres, Devils Lake is known for being a […]

Beginner Fly Fishing Gear Checklist: 10 Essentials for Getting Started

Beginner Fly Fishing Gear Checklist: 10 Essentials for Getting Started

Fly fishing can be a great way to decompress outdoors during the holiday season. If you aren’t sure about the fly fishing gear you need to get started, just use this beginner fly fishing gear checklist as a resource.   [embedded content] 1. Fly Rod […]

A Primer on Recreational Crabbing and Crab Fishing License Needs

A Primer on Recreational Crabbing and Crab Fishing License Needs

Until I moved to a coastal area the whole notion of recreational crabbing and whether or not I needed a crab fishing license was a foreign concept. But I soon found out that hand-lining for these crustaceans was fun for a lot of people, and now know why I often see people with crab lines and dip nets standing at coastal docks, piers, and bridges, some of them locals and some of them visitors.

My elderly mother-in-law and my young grandchildren were equally fond of sitting on a dock and hauling in a crab that latched onto their baited lines. The only difference was that my mother-in-law enjoyed eating the crabs, and the kids didn’t. Neither needed a crab fishing license or a saltwater fishing license to do this in Virginia, where I live.

Actually, most of my crabs are caught in pots and Virginia allows anyone to have two crab pots per person for recreational use without having to obtain a special fishing license. In some states, you’re covered for certain crabbing activities by your saltwater recreational fishing license. Whether you need a separate crab fishing license or not depends on the laws in your state and on the species and method of crabbing you employ.

I encourage you to go to the website for the state agency where you will be crabbing, and look for its recreational crab fishing regulations. That said, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Which crab?

Be attentive to regulations by species. It’s all about blue crabs where I live, but in California there are Dungeness crabs and several species of rock crab. Regulations and seasons are different depending on the species. Regulations may also differ with respect to hard crabs, soft crabs (which have just molted), and peelers (which are about to molt).

Where can you crab?

Generally, crab fishing regulations apply to all tidal waters, but there may be some locations where a state agency prohibits crabbing (like a designated sanctuary) or advises against it (perhaps for water quality reasons).

How are you crabbing?

Rules may differ depending on the gear and method used. Recreational fishing for crabs is done by hand-lining (using a weighted and impaled bait, like fish heads and chicken necks, on a line that is lowered by hand into the water), hand-netting or dip-netting (using a long-handled net to scoop up swimming crabs), and by setting crab pots (which are baited and capture a number of crabs at a time). In some places, divers can harvest crabs by hand.

How many can you keep?

With or without a license, a recreational crabber may only catch crabs for personal use. There will be a daily limit on the number that you can catch. In Virginia, for instance, that’s a bushel of hard crabs and two dozen peelers. In California, it’s ten Dungeness crabs.

What size crabs are allowed?

This will vary by state and species, and perhaps even by season. In some places, crab pots are required to have cull rings that are sized to allow crabs below the legal minimum to escape. If undersized crabs are caught in a pot or by other means, they must be released.

What’s the season?

In some places certain crab species can be caught recreationally year-round. That applies, for example, to rock crabs in California. In others, there’s a season that generally runs from spring into fall, although the specific opening and closing dates may change each year.

Other considerations

You may want to get a recreational crab fishing license if you’d like to use more than a few crab pots at a time. State regulations may require you to mark and/or identify your pots, too. Finally, in some states where blue crabs are caught, recreational crab pots must have a turtle exclusion device (TED) at each entrance. Made from plastic or metal, these rectangular accessories prevent diamondback terrapins from entering, and drowning in, a crab pot. Even if not required, you should put TEDs on crab pots for the sake of the turtles.

Casting vs Spinning Rod

Casting vs Spinning Rod

Alycia Page 12/12/2018 Casting vs spinning rod. Two very different styles of fishing rods each intended for a certain style and technique. If you’re looking to learn about the key features and benefits that differentiate a casting vs spinning rod, you’re in the right place. […]

Best Fishing Spots in Utah to Visit with a Fly Rod

Best Fishing Spots in Utah to Visit with a Fly Rod

Some of the best fishing spots in Utah are sustainable blue-ribbon fly fisheries with stunning mountain views and year-round angling opportunities. While Utah may have a prominent reputation for downhill skiing and rock climbing, you certainly shouldn’t pass up an opportunity to go fly fishing […]

10 Fun Christmas gifts you can give this season

10 Fun Christmas gifts you can give this season

Finding Christmas fishing gifts that everybody wants and needs doesn’t have to be a challenge. In fact, it’s actually super easy to track down angling-related items that almost every single fisherperson can use. 

You better not pout, you better not cry… this list of the best gifts for fishermen and fisherwomen will help you make a few quick and smart choices.

1. Fishing Trip Coupon 

The Christmas fishing gift of a day on the water is likely to be treasured far more than anything under the tree. Since family schedules are often filled with appointments and commitments, plan a special fishing trip that you can all take together. Besides, this will give your favorite anglers something fun to look forward to once the excitement of the holidays has come and gone. 

2. Fishing Hat 

Even on cloudy or overcast days, you want to help keep your favorite anglers protected from UV rays by making sure they have a good fishing hat. That’s why hats have long been one of the best fishing gifts for fishermen and fisherwomen. Find a hat that will help protect their eyes and face from excess sunlight. Depending on where they fish, one that offers protection from mosquitoes and other insects will be appreciated too. 

3. Tackle box with gummy worms

Did you know you can use gummy worms as fishing bait? Yep, you can use gummy worms as fish bait. It may sound weird, but it works. Fish would love these colorful and taste gummy worms. You can find them in any grocery store and can be a fun bait to use when fishing with kids.

4. Fishing-themed Ornament 

There are boatloads of fun Christmas fishing ornaments that you can find online or at your local sporting goods store. Your fishing friends may already have one or two ornaments that remind them of their favorite pastime, but it only seems right to help out by adding a new contribution to their collection. Start a Christmas fishing holiday tradition by giving a different fishing-themed ornament every year.

5. Thermos and Stainless Bottles

Help reverse the accumulation of plastic water bottles in our oceans and waterways. Encourage the fishermen and fisherwomen in your life to bring reusable stainless steel water bottles on every fishing trip. Not only are you helping the environment, your giving a loved one a great Christmas fishing gift. Go ahead and gift them one or two for the holidays this year!

6. Waterproof Phone case

A waterproof phone case is always a great gift for an angler that is all day on the water catching fish. This waterproof phone case also has a solar panel that they can use to charge their phone in case they run out of battery and need to contact their family or friends. 

7. Latern Fishing

A lantern will be a great gift for those anglers that love to catch fish late in the afternoon. These lanterns are not only useful for anglers but for everyone who loves the outdoors and enjoy a day out in nature with their family and friends.  This lantern is also a great gift for those who like to go camping and hiking. 

8. Multi purpose Cooler

Multi-purpose coolers are great gifts for any angler. Many coolers these days offer different features that are useful if you spend an entire day in the outdoors. Some coolers provide enough storage room to maintain your catch fresh and also space to place your fishing tackle and gear.

9. Dry Bag

Do you ever see your friends or family members stuff their keys and wallets into a plastic sandwich bag before heading out on the water? Sandwich bags are for sandwiches! One of the best fishing Christmas gifts you can get an angler is a dry bag. Keys, wallets, cameras, cell phones… these are all items that stay safe and dry when placed in a sealed dry bag.

10. Circle Hooks 

Circle hooks are among the best gifts for fishermen and fisherwomen who fish with live baits. Not only are hooks something that anglers can always use, but using circle hooks in particular will result in a higher survival rate when practicing proper catch and release. 

Do you ever see your friends or family members stuff their keys and wallets into a plastic sandwich bag before heading out on the water? Sandwich bags are for sandwiches! One of the best fishing Christmas gifts you can get an angler is a dry bag. Keys, wallets, cameras, cell phones… these are all items that stay safe and dry when placed in a sealed dry bag.

Do you have other anglers on your list? Check the freshwater fishing section or saltwater fishing section to get more gear and tackle gift ideas…

Debbie Hanson

Debbie Hanson

Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.

What is a One Day Boat License?

What is a One Day Boat License?

Don’t own a boat yet but want to learn how to boat? Are you traveling and interested in renting a boat? Then you should look into a one day boat license. Boating license terms vary quite a bit depending on your state. For example, you […]

Recruiting Fishing Partners Is Easier Than You Think

Recruiting Fishing Partners Is Easier Than You Think

Recruiting fishing partners for a day of casting lines can be a tough task for anglers of all skill levels. If you’re new to fishing and boating, you may find that your friends aren’t into it. If you’ve been fishing your entire life, you might […]

What Anglers Can Do To Help Curb Invasive Fish Species

What Anglers Can Do To Help Curb Invasive Fish Species

There’s ample current news about prominent invasive fish species: Asian carp infiltrating the Great Lakes, snakeheads spreading in the mid-Atlantic and southeastern states, and lionfish populating the Florida coasts. In earlier decades the news about invasive fish species included lamprey eels threatening northern trout and salmon species, and gobies, ruffe, and rusty crayfish upstaging the small-fish populations of the Great Lakes. And that’s not to mention such non-fish invasives as the now widely spread zebra mussel, plants like water hyacinth and milfoil, and scores of other aquatic and non-aquatic organisms.

The Problem, In Brief

Invasive fish are fish species that have been introduced – mostly at the hands of humans either intentionally or inadvertently – into habitats where they’re not native. You could say that they’re fish that show up in places where they don’t belong. They’re called invasive because they often become agents for diminishing biological diversity, upsetting the balance of ecosystems, and altering habitat critical to other fish and fauna.

Invasive fish species have been introduced via the transportation of fish or larvae in the ballast of ocean freighters, the dumping of bait buckets of anglers, being on the soles of waders and boots, and as unseen hitchhikers on small boats and boat trailers. They may have escaped from one place and traveled to another by swimming through canals, locks, and other waterways. They’ve been introduced by people dumping them from personal aquariums, by experimental stocking, and through many other means.

Some invasive fish species are well established in America, more than a century after their first introductions. The popular common carp and brown trout, for example, are not native to North America. Some natives, like largemouth bass and rainbow trout, have been deliberately and widely introduced into states and waters where they were not naturally present. Still other native species, like white perch and blue catfish, have somehow shown up in places where they shouldn’t be.

Some fish introductions have not been beneficial. Many invasive fish species overrun their new home and crowd out native species. Once established, they’re extremely difficult to eliminate. Florida officials are now desperately trying to keep lionfish in check, and the battle to control snakeheads appears essentially lost, although anglers are encouraged to fish for, and keep both of these species.

What Anglers Can Do

When you buy a fishing license your money, in part, helps fund state fisheries agency efforts to control invasive fish. But your obligation doesn’t end there. Here are steps you can take to make sure that you aren’t part of the problem.


  • Don’t deliberately move fish from one water body to another (which is illegal without a permit in most places).
  • Empty a bait bucket on land before leaving the water. It’s okay to dump your bait back into the water body if you collected the bait there.
  • Don’t transport bait obtained in one water body to another.
  • Inspect boat, motor, all parts of a trailer, and all boating equipment that gets wet, and remove any visible foreign matter, including dirt and mud, before leaving the water body.
  • Drain livewells, bilge water, and transom wells at the access site before leaving the water body.
  • Away from the water, use a hose, preferably with a high-pressure spray, to clean your trailer and boat.
  • Where zebra mussels and spiny water fleas are known or suspected, wash your boat, tackle, trailers, and other equipment with hot water when you get home. Flush water through the motor’s cooling system and other parts that get wet. If possible, let everything dry for at least three days before transporting the boat to another water body. Flushing with chlorinated tap water may be helpful.
  • Learn and follow state fisheries agency recommendations regarding keeping any invasive fish you catch.

Finally, check out this thorough advice on cleaning your gear from the Pennsylvania Boat Commission, and make sure you have a current fishing license.

9 Regalos de Pesca y Navegación para toda la vida

9 Regalos de Pesca y Navegación para toda la vida

Ken Schultz 12/3/2018 Photos © Ken Schultz Si estás buscando un regalo de pesca o navegación para alguien, no le dés lo mismo de siempre, una caña de pescar, un carrete, una caja de aparejos, o accesorios para botes. Regala algo que le sara útil […]