TFFAC Surf Tag Update You Missed

The vehicle capacity of Delaware State Park drive on beaches is a mind-blowing 2,800 to 4,000 vehicles.

The other night the Tidal Finfish Advisory Council TFFAC was presented with data and facts from the secretary of DNREC and director of state parks. There was not a lot of people in attendance, only 60 sent in emails. Odd considering how many scream (thousands) on social media, and yet I am not surprised as that is par for the course. So here is what you missed …

We were told the vehicle capacity of Delaware State Park drive on beaches is 2,800 to 4,000 vehicles.
If they manage to crunch in that many vehicles. Yes that word, crunch, was used, I nearly passed out. Assateague is 149 vehicles for 12 miles of beach, Delaware has 13.8 miles of drive on beaches out of 17.4 miles of total Delaware State Park breaches.

How Many Miles Of Drive On Surf Fishing Beach Is In Delaware State Parks There are only 10.9 miles of twenty-four hour access, drive on surf fishing beaches, in all four parks.  There is 13.4 miles of drive on beach open throughout the year combined.  Delaware State parks’ total shoreline is 17.8 miles (of beach).  Areas that are closed to surf fishing add up to 4.4 miles, these are walk on beaches in the parks at designated guarded swimming areas.

We are doing wrong by our beaches, and not protecting our resource. If you haven’t figured it out by now I am for a vehicle limit to protect the beach. I don’t like limits on anything, but we have a serious crowding problem that is going to get worse and worse. I have heard every argument form every user group. When you write them all down one common factor remains. Everyone has a great idea that benefits their group over everyone else, and NONE of these groups stick up for the beach, over their own interests.

In 2023 there will be 28,000 tags in circulation due to a HUGE increase in sales of two year tags. I have always said if everyone just buys a two year tag then every year people aren’t fighting over a limited tag. Yes I am a little proud of that increased number. Grass roots modern problem solutions. We have 22k in circulation if we all do two year tags that is only 11k needed a year. So much for that 17k yearly limit was the hope.

Some other stats we were given for you to mull over …
Two year tag sales 11,416 … a massive increase (67% sold were two year)
2022 there are currently 23,000 plus tags in circulation
2023 there will be 28,000 plus tags in circulation
4,000 off peak tags were sold in 2022
80% of tags in 2022 were bought by instate

War On The shore 2019 we have 130 trucks on Herring point to Gordons Pond.

The “limit” needs to be on the sand, not the access permit. Let the fight and wait, start at the gate. Protect the resource, not people’s feelings.
I gladly pay $195 a year for Assateague ($150 for OSV permit, $45 for park access). Because they allow me the space to do whatever I please. Oddly some of the same people saying Delaware can’t raise their prices, I see them surf fishing at Assateague, with their vehicle.
Delaware can do the same thing with limits, just not as extreme. I keep saying that covid 60 feet (20 yards) rule was glorious for space, base the limit on those numbers. Well until somehow it got changed to 20 feet from yards, then it was terrible.

We need some serious changes to the surf tag or surf fishing program. On weekdays I have plenty of space to fish. Everyone should have that same ability on the weekend. Not “crunch” their vehicle between 4,000 other vehicles. This is literally why we park sideways. Drive On Beach Parking Rules Clarified
When we have surf fishing tournaments we try to get as much space between vehicles as possible and still have room for everyone. Even then as far as actually fishing, it is still crowded.

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Cape Henlopen State Park, Gordons Pond a weekday afternoon

Before any surf anglers freak out about a beach limit, let me point out the obvious. I go to the beach almost daily at 5 am, there is usually no one to maybe two vehicles there on any given day. We are all alone for the first couple hours. Then a few more show up. If it is the weekend, once it warms up, the beach is a parking lot by 9 am.
The point is surf anglers get there early and first. With a limit, you will no longer be chased off the beach by a crowd, and may keep on surf fishing till you desire. Crowds can gather in their little masses and anglers can fish in their space.
Think about that, take all the time you need. You want the beach to yourself this is as close as you are going to get on a weekend.

Another unpopular opinion.
Get rid of drinking alcohol allowed on a drive on beach. The partying will go away fast. Anywhere else in Delaware, if you are near your vehicle with the keys in the ignition and you are drinking you are in trouble, but not the beach.
This would also be a rule that has zero grey area, that parks can actually and actively enforce. Unlike actively fishing which is impossible and frankly the strangest form of control ever. You are trying to enforce someone’s intentions to fish. Would people still sneak in booze and drink. yes they will but again this is enforceable.

Anyway, expect to see some changes coming, but in which direction I have no idea.
I’m sticking up for my beaches.

War on the shore 2019 on Herring Point to Gordons pond ..

Cape Henlopen State Park … 
Shoreline … 6.7 miles
24 hour surf fishing Vehicle access … 2.2 miles 
Sunset to 8 am surf fishing May through September (Swimming Beach)  … 1.2 miles
Seasonally Closed for nesting restrictions …. 1.1 miles 
Closed to surf fishing vehicles … 2.1 miles

Delaware Seashore State Park … 
Shoreline … 6.4 miles
24 hour surf fishing vehicle access … 2.2 miles
Sunset to 8 am surf fishing May through September (Swimming Beach) … 1.2 miles
Closed to surf fishing vehicles … 0.7 miles

Fenwick Island State Park …
Shoreline … 2.8 miles
24 hour surf fishing vehicle access … 2.3 miles
Closed to surf fishing vehicles … 0,5 miles

Beach Plum Island State Park … 
Shore line … 1.9 miles
24 hour surf fishing vehicle access … 0.8 miles
Closed to surf fishing vehicles … 1.1 miles
Beach Plum also closes to driving from January 1 to February 28th because it is a nature preserve.

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