UPDATE: Annual Delaware surf fishing tags are SOLD OUT

DNREC announced this afternoon that all 17,000 initial annual surf fishing tags have sold out, just hours after going on sale at 10:00 a.m. this morning.

Sales of the off-peak surf tags are still available, which allows for purchaser to fish during certain time periods (week days, non-holidays, ect.).

ORIGINAL STORY

Long lines started early this morning at state park offices across the state, as people pursuit one of 17,000 coveted surf fishing tags this year.

At Cape Henlopen Park this morning, lines of vehicles stretched all the way to the entrance and forced Natural Resource Police to turn away some hoping for a tag. Some of the people we talked to had been waiting in line since 5:30 a.m.

Steve Prestipino from Rehoboth Beach was one of those in line early this morning because he missed out on the tag last year.

“One of my kids is sitting by his computer. If this doesn’t pan out and he gets it online, then I can leave,” Prestipino says.

That’s exactly what happened, as Delaware State Park’s site crashed right at 10 A-M, when tags went on sale for online purchase due to the flux of potential buyers. But DNREC says to be patient and refresh for availability.

State park officials tells TV Delmarva News that the offices use the same system as those at home – so your best bet to getting a surf tag is to purchase online. Surf tags were limited a few years ago to combat overcrowding at the beach.

To make up for the demand of drive-on surf fishing, DNREC introduced an off-peak surf tag for those who missed out on last year’s golden ticket. The reaction to the current system is mixed, but Steve says he’s ok with it – but others were not.

“I have two family members, one in law enforcement and another as a paramedic, and they both missed out on tags last year,” another person in line says.

As for some changes those in line would like to see is law enforcement and first responders not needing a surf tag to drive on, which would open up some tag availability. One person recommended tags no longer be limited, but resource officers limit the beach at access points.

As for tag availability at last check prior to this news cast, tags were still available on the state’s website. As of this writing, tags were still available for both resident and non-resident.

STATEMENT FROM DNREC

Delaware State Parks Surf Fishing Permits sold out in one day, after going on sales at 10 a.m. Feb. 1. Off-peak surf fishing permits, which allow fishing all days except summer weekends and holidays, are still available.

The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control announced today it has reached its cap of 17,000 Delaware standard surf fishing permits issued for the calendar year. While no more standard surf fishing permits that allow fishing anytime will be sold until the 2023 season, the popular off-peak permits introduced by DNREC last year are still available and allow fishing all days except summer weekends and holidays are still available.

In 2019, the Delaware Parks and Recreation Advisory Council established a 17,000 cap on standard surf fishing permit sales. The DNREC Division of Parks and Recreation implemented a first-come, first-served cap on the number of permits issued as the most equitable way to serve all beach users, and to manage a limited resource, while also protecting against overcrowding of parks beaches.

Off-Peak Surf Fishing Permits Available

While sales of standard surf fishing permits have ended for 2022, off-peak surf fishing permits are still available. There is no cap on the number of off-peak surf fishing permits, which were piloted in 2021, to be issued.

Off-peak surf fishing permits may be used seven days a week during the off season, which runs from Feb. 1 to May 29 and again from Sept. 6 through Dec. 31. From Memorial Day through Labor Day, off-peak permits may only be used Mondays through Fridays; Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day are excluded. The off-peak permit also allows entry into all Delaware State Parks without paying the daily entrance fee.

The off-peak permit fee for Delaware residents is $70, while the fee for out-of-state residents is $140. Delaware residents age 62 and older will receive a discounted rate of $60.

To purchase an off-peak surf fishing permit, go to www.destateparks.com or visit any park office within Delaware State Parks. Off-peak surf fishing permits also serve as a Delaware State Parks annual pass that provides access to all 17 state parks. Park user fees, including surf fishing permit fees, provide 65% of the Division of Parks and Recreation’s funding, and are used to operate and maintain the parks.

For surf fishing rules, regulations and other important information, go to www.destateparks.com/adventures/fishing.

Anyone concerned about an individual or group in any state park or wildlife area may contact the Delaware Natural Resources Police via Tip411, DNREC’s smartphone app, or by calling the 24-hour DNREC Dispatch Center at 302-739-4580. Tip411 allows the public to easily report concerns. The app is available for free download by searching DENRP via the Google Play Store or the iTunes App Store.

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