Time to renew license and fisherman identification number

Codfish are definitely making a comeback. Richard Adams landed this12-pounder while soaking clams over a wreck in 160 feet of water during a 12-hour trip with Capt. H.D. Parsons. COURTESY LEWES HARBOUR MARINA
December 27, 2011

Rockfish and tog are still providing good fishing in the Delaware Bay. Monday saw excellent tog action with the rockfish a bit slow. On Tuesday the rockfish turned on and the tog dropped off. This is the way it has been all fall; you have to be there on the right day and in the right location.

Trolling with plugs at Overfalls Shoal was the hot rockfish ticket on Tuesday with eelers and live spot drifters taking some fish at the Eights and in the Valley. Trolling has also been productive out of Indian River Inlet working south toward Bethany Beach.

Tog have been caught at bay reef sites, the Ice Breakers and the Outer Wall. Some sort of crab has been the best bait for the tog.

With the holiday season upon us, finding fresh bait has become a problem. It is best to call your favorite tackle shop to find out what they have available. If you are willing to pay a premium price, Oriental food markets may have fresh mackerel or butterfish.

Right now the water temperature is in the low 50s, so we could see the best rockfish action after the holidays. Tog fishing could last all winter depending on the seasons imposed by the National Marine Fisheries Service.

New license and FIN numbers
With good fishing likely to extend into January it will be necessary to renew your Delaware general fishing license and fisherman identification number. If you plan to use your own boat you will also need a new boat registration number.

If you purchase your fishing license from a vendor it will cost an additional $1 in 2012. The expense involved with issuing the license has increased to the point where vendors were on the brink of losing money on the deal. They requested and were granted an additional $1 to offset the expense. The fee for buying online or from the Fish and Wildlife office in Dover has not changed.

To buy your Delaware general fishing license, renew your boat registration and acquire your new FIN online, go to This will take you to the new website where you can accomplish all of these tasks without leaving the house.

New Jersey has a registration number that must be in your possession when fishing New Jersey waters. It is free to fishermen and can be obtained from NJDEP-NJ Saltwater Recreational Registry Program. Overfalls Shoal and Prissy Wicks are in New Jersey waters.

In Virginia you will need a saltwater fishing license and a FIN. Both are available online at VMRC Contact Information.

The same is true in Maryland. Go to Maryland Department of Natural Resources and follow the links to saltwater fishing license.

I have all of this paperwork folded up and stored in a small plastic pouch that will fit into my shirt pocket. The pouch keeps the information handy and protected from water damage.

The holiday season
The vast majority of Americans celebrate one holiday or another during the last part of the year. No matter which one is your chosen celebration, they all have one thing in common - the bringing together of families.

When I was a little kid, it was just my mother and my grandparents as my parents divorced when I was 2. After my mother remarried, we had my stepfather, half brother and sister added to the mix. Since I remained with my grandparents in Claymont, I had to leave home on Christmas morning and travel to Chadds Ford to spend the day with the other half of the family. That meant leaving all my new stuff to watch my siblings open their gifts. I am sure I pouted like the jealous little brat I was.

My wife was the oldest of seven kids, so after we married, Christmas became a whole lot merrier. We had her family at our house in the morning and my family in the afternoon. It was a busy day.

I met my half brother and sister from my father’s second marriage when I was in my 30s. Knowing them has answered a lot of questions about why I am the way I am.

Now our parents are dead, my brother passed away in 1980 and my sister is in Africa. Barbara’s family is still pretty much in this area (one sister lives in godforsaken Minnesota), so we still get together on the day after Christmas. My sons and their families come to us on Christmas Day and I very much enjoy that.

The older I get, the more I appreciate my family. They are far from perfect and border on dysfunctional, but they are mine and I am theirs, warts and all.

Happy holidays to all.

  • Eric Burnley is a Delaware native who has fished and hunted the state from an early age.  Since 1978 he has written countless articles about hunting and fishing in Delaware and elsewhere along the Atlantic Coast.  He has been the regional editor for Salt Water Sportsman, Field and Stream, Outdoor Life and the Fisherman Magazine.  He was the founding editor of the Mid-Atlantic Fisherman magazine.  Eric is the author of three books; Surf Fishing the Atlantic Coast, The Ultimate Guide to Striped Bass Fishing and Fishing Saltwater Baits.  He and his wife Barbara live near Milton, Delaware. Eric can be reached at

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