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Put It Up for All to See and "Big Brother" Will See It Too

Blog by: David Coulson , CO 5/21/2015

The forums give me more fodder for blogs then I could ever hope to dream up on my own. 
This thread about a New York angler, and I use the term angler loosely, got fined $250 in New York for posting a picture on the internet of a walleye he caught (presumably released) intentionally fishing out of season.  

This isn’t anything new, as other states have been checking the internet for illegal activity. Most notably Florida where they’ve been cracking down on anglers who post pictures of themselves with their catch before it was released. The law explicitly states the species in the picture, if caught, must be returned to the water immediately.  I gather immediately does not allow for a grip and grin session.  While I see that as a bit over the top, I can respect fish and game enforcing, what in my mind, would be a nearly unenforceable law were it not for the “stupidity” of anglers bragging of their “illegal” exploits online.

Now, in my mind, the New York case is cut and dry.  Let’s face it, per the story, the angler was targeting walleye intentionally out of season.  Near as I can determine, this wasn’t a case of an incidental catch. Nope, he was fishing for them. While he may have released the fish, which some may see as no harm, no foul, the reality is he was breaking the law.  As to the no harm part, a certain percent of all caught and released fish will die. So, in my opinion, there was potentially harm. 

One concern voiced in the thread was we don’t need “big brother” watching us.  To a degree I’m onboard with that.  However, when you’re fishing public lands, I think “big brother” has the right to watch you, within reason, for illegal activity. That’s what we pay them for.  Now if you record your illegal activity and then post and brag about it on the internet for everyone to see, and I presume that law enforcement officials are part of everyone, I don’t see that as “big brother” watching.  It’s not like they entered his house and looked on his computer without a search warrant. 

Nope, this person handed his violation of the laws to law enforcement on a silver platter. If anything, I think he should get an extra fine for being an idiot. My thoughts are, if you’re going to break the law, you shouldn't record your actions. If you do, keep such recordings locked away and do not make them part of the public record.  But that’s just my opinion.

Better yet, just follow the rules and use the $250 for a new rod.

Blog content © David Coulson
Blog Comments
JOHN_COSprings, 5/21/2015 2:27:33 PM
I am a huge advocate for catch & release & fish care, yet the FL law to me is a bit too extreme. Perhaps an example of a law introduced to curtail the activities of those who keep a fish out of water far too long, handle it inappropriately and cause harm ? The NJ case, walleye out of season, slam dunk, guilty - he posted it online and thus had no expectation of privacy after that for his illegal activity. Thankyou for making law enforcement's job easier!
Lloyd Tackitt, 5/21/2015 2:36:43 PM
I'm not at all a fan of big brother government - but I ma a fan of living in reality. Publicly posting about breaking the law, and providing documentary evidence of that event, just ain't bright. Taking photos of a fish that is too small to legally keep doesn't make much sense to me either. If I'm going to take the time to take a fish picture, I want the fish to be at least a keeper. My advice is if you're going to break the law, don't document it and then put it on a public site for the world to see - be a little smarter than that.
Ajax5240, 5/21/2015 2:49:37 PM
Ever hear the news stories where someone committed a crime and filmed it? I swear I have seen stories on the news where two hooligans steal a car, or vandalize property, video it, and when they get caught the police get the tape. True brilliance! Personally I don't really care about the 'big brother' thing, I have absolutely nothing to hide, and don't think I really ever hit their radar screen so to say. I'll take the NSA over the IRS any day! haha
TigerHunter, 5/21/2015 3:21:13 PM
Can't fix stupid....
bluecollarguy, 5/21/2015 4:41:47 PM
Haha indeed too bad most the rule breakers don't openly tout their exploits. Awhile back there was alot of discussion on what CPW should focus on and I voiced more enforcement of regs as one item - I guess this would be a more extreme of that! Maybe drones are around the corner?!!!
David Coulson (Flyrodn), 5/28/2015 11:19:30 AM
Nothing like a little press for New York to sing a different tune. It appears they've back peddled big time on ticketing folks posting photos of "illegal" fish.