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Author Topic: Curious about running trotlines in VA  (Read 4710 times)
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twharrell
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« on: April 29, 2017, 08:38:33 AM »

I've been doing some research on trotlining for crabs and it looks like a lot of fun.  However, I noticed that VA only allows 300' trotlines compared to other states, which allow 600-1200' trotlines. Just curious, why is VA more restrictive on trotline lengths? Do any of you run trotlines in VA waters and, if so, is the effort worth it (I do realize this is subjective)?

Todd
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jack1747
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« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2017, 11:43:33 AM »

You can buy multiple 300' licenses but you can not connect the lines... Like 2 300' (or more) end to end or side by side.  Not 2 (or more) 300' connected together to make 600'.   Crabguy (one of the Mod's) fishes trotlines in VA....  You might want to bmail him... Cool  Me, I have never even seen anyone trotline here...  Grin
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twharrell
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« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2017, 11:53:42 AM »

You can buy multiple 300' licenses but you can not connect the lines... Like 2 300' (or more) end to end or side by side.  Not 2 (or more) 300' connected together to make 600'.   Crabguy (one of the Mod's) fishes trotlines in VA....  You might want to bmail him... Cool  Me, I have never even seen anyone trotline here...  Grin

So, when you say end to end, you mean you can run 2 300' lines off the same buoy as long as the lines aren't directly connected?

A______bouy--------------bouy-----------------bouy_______A

A=Anchor
----- = trotline

I do forget that not many trotline in VA because there are no crabs here.
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jack1747
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« Reply #3 on: April 29, 2017, 06:24:11 PM »

No.   By end to end I mean A____buoy-------buoy___A  SPACE  A____buoy-------buoy___A.
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« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2017, 06:32:32 AM »

I've been doing some research on trotlining for crabs and it looks like a lot of fun.  However, I noticed that VA only allows 300' trotlines compared to other states, which allow 600-1200' trotlines. Just curious, why is VA more restrictive on trotline lengths? Do any of you run trotlines in VA waters and, if so, is the effort worth it (I do realize this is subjective)?

Todd
In Virginia, I think commercial crabbers are still allowed to place crab pots in tidal rivers and creeks? That is illegal in Maryland. That saved commercial and recreational trotliners in Maryland  Many commercial trotline crabbers in Virginia gave up trotlining in Virginia because there was no place left to run a trotline. I will let you speculate as to why there is a 300 ft. trotline maximum in Virginia. There was a 300 ft. maximum length for recreational crabbers in Maryland at one time with no license required. Anyone who wanted could apply and buy a commercial crabbers license. I think what happened was that the state wanted to replace the lost revenue when they froze the commercial crabber license entry around 1990 . So, they threw the recreational crabbers a bone by allowing a 1200 ft. trotline for the recreational crabber fee. I think a non licensed crabber before the recreational crabbers license was invented was allowed a bushel per person.
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twharrell
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« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2017, 10:44:37 AM »

In Virginia, I think commercial crabbers are still allowed to place crab pots in tidal rivers and creeks?

You know, it's funny you say that because just the other day I was crabbing with my son off a local pier and observed the ridiculous number of crab pot buoys. In the York, you'd be hard pressed to find a place to run a trotline. I'm sure there are places to do it, but being new to the area and having no boat (yet), I don't know the local waters.

That is illegal in Maryland. That saved commercial and recreational trotliners in Maryland  Many commercial trotline crabbers in Virginia gave up trotlining in Virginia because there was no place left to run a trotline. I will let you speculate as to why there is a 300 ft. trotline maximum in Virginia.

My guess is you'd be hard-pressed to find 300 feet to be able to run a trotline, based on what you stated above.

There was a 300 ft. maximum length for recreational crabbers in Maryland at one time with no license required. Anyone who wanted could apply and buy a commercial crabbers license. I think what happened was that the state wanted to replace the lost revenue when they froze the commercial crabber license entry around 1990 . So, they threw the recreational crabbers a bone by allowing a 1200 ft. trotline for the recreational crabber fee. I think a non licensed crabber before the recreational crabbers license was invented was allowed a bushel per person.

Seems Maryland does a better job than Virginia. Way to go, Virginia.

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« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2017, 01:44:27 PM »

I was crazy enough to trotline with a Sea Doo/jet ski (not ideal) here in Va. Might give another shot this year BUT I did not have lots of luck? Think I might stick to handlines if it don't work out again. You will need a permit from state (think $10), lots of chik necks/bait and some luck/practice. It is only 300ft, mine is now 250ft after getting stuck on something below [had to cut]. Get you line from RavenDave on the forum he was GREAT! Let me know if you have any more questions/problems I will try to help out, there are other pros that make it look easy (MD Dudes). Be ready for some trial & error with currents/tides/speed/areas/snags/etc. p.s. Think you have to put last 4 digits of ss# on floating drums?
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Darrell
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« Reply #7 on: August 05, 2017, 11:04:27 PM »

Confused. I have a new Virginia Saltwater Rec Use Crab Trotline License..Va DGIF..I got it at Kens a Va Marine Commission Agent on Rt 3 in Oak Grove, 10 dollars for a 300ft trotline.

On the license it states :

" Saltwater Recreational Use Crab Trotline, Gill Net, Fish Dip Net, Fish Cast Net, and Eel Pot licenses are limited to one license of each type per licensee per calendar year. Sale or barter of catch prohibited"

"Sold in cooperation with Virginia Marine Resources Commission"

So that means as  I understand it, One 300 Ft trotline license per year and you can not buy several licenses and run multiple 300 ft trotlines

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Darrell
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« Reply #8 on: August 05, 2017, 11:23:15 PM »

>In Virginia, I think commercial crabbers are still allowed to place crab pots in tidal rivers and creeks? That is illegal in Maryland.

I have not seen the crab line buoys in Virginia waters.

 Its a maze of rules in Virginia. At least in Maryland they have it all under one agency the Maryland Natural Resources Police. In Virginia I have seen so many different officers. DGIF, VMC, Game Wardens, Park Wardens, Conservation Police. I wish they would be all under 1 authority . They can all enforce any Virginia Laws on the waters or roads or anywhere, All Laws as any sworn police officer in Virginia can.  Its just that there's too many agencies to try get any answers from on the rules and regs under the laws , and some of the rules are not found under the Code Of Virginia as the different agency's have the regulating powers granted to that agency for their mission from the Virginia General Assembly AKA "The Commonwealth of Virginia" I would like to see Virginia consolidate all these officers and others I don't know about and form a "Virginia Department of Natural Resources"  Like Maryland.
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« Reply #9 on: August 06, 2017, 07:28:27 AM »

The statement I made above was provided to me by Jack Travelseed.  Jack was the commissioner the VMRC (retired).  I don't have a source at the VMRC anymore.

Here is the law that is on the book.   

4VAC20-670-20. Recreational gear licenses.

A. Any person desiring to take or catch finfish or shellfish for recreational purposes in the tidal waters of Virginia using commercial gear authorized under 28.2 226.1 of the Code of Virginia shall first obtain the license for the appropriate gear.

B. Any license to use fishing gear for recreational purposes shall be issued to an individual for his exclusive use and shall not be transferable.

C. No person shall be issued more than one recreational gill net license, more than one recreational crab pot license, more than one crab trap license, nor more than one recreational eel pot license.

D. No license shall be required of any person taking minnows, menhaden, or mullet with a cast net for personal use as bait which is not to be sold, traded, or bartered.
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Darrell
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« Reply #10 on: August 06, 2017, 12:46:24 PM »

Heres a copy of the license with crab trotline on it.  I got a Va 300 ft license 2 years ago from Kens, did not use it. It was from the VMRC  This one is DGIF Maybe they don't have it right. Its sold in cooperation with the VMRC.

 Ill try to get another 10 dollar license next time I'm out there to Kens and see what's up unless some one has recently got 2 to run 600 ft and post. But if I could buy 300ft for each 10 dollars for 40.00 Id be able to run 1200 ft and that would be seen as undercutting commercials ,  a loophole in a sense without having to buy the 190 commercial watermans card and there not available but from existing watermen to sell their licenses as they retire.  Now If I had another person on the boat who had a 10 dollar rec Va. trotline license that would be possible, I don't know if they allow that however, another thing to check.

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Crabbin Fever
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« Reply #11 on: August 06, 2017, 01:45:13 PM »

Jack,
You forgot to tell them....THERE ARE NO CABS IN VIRGINIA!  laugh laugh laugh laugh laugh
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Darrell
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« Reply #12 on: August 09, 2017, 11:03:17 PM »

Went to Kens Rt 3 Oak Grove to get a second 300ft rec Virginia Trotline License. Kens wife went to the DGIF site and it would not issue me a second license. she then went to the VRMC site and after 15 minutes and many trys as the site would not respond she printed me out a 2nd 300 Ft Rec Va trotline license 10 dollars.Bless her heart, she stuck with it. Kens has been selling Commercial and other VMRC licenses as a agent since the early 1960's  .So many years they would write them out of the books .Now the Computers and they don't work.! And you still have to carry the printed license. So Yes as Jack 1747 said you can still get more then 1 300 ft Va trotline rec license, but Now I have 2 Licenses from 2 different agencies, the question is Why did Virginia get the DGIF in the act. One hand of the state does not know what the others doing! VMRC is the saltwater arm of Virginia crabbing rules and licenses.

As Jack said also you can't join the lines together, you must run 2 sets of lines so 4 buoys 4 sets of anchor lines 4 weights.

More confusion as its not on the Va. Law Books as to exactly what is a what is a "Trotline" under Va Code or VMRC. Maryland spells it out as 1200 feet of baited trotline. Virginia does not. Nor is there any mention in the Code of Virginia or the VMRC of 300 ft between buoys or distance between anchors, or distance of the baited line. Just reference to a "300 ft Ordinary Trotline"  for recs. Im waiting for a official explanation from VMRC, I emailed them about this and its now been 10 days with no answer.

I went to Colonial Beach, threw out 2 real crab pots for the first time , set a 300 ft trotline , 290 ft baited, and caught 4 crabs, two baby male, a jumbo male with a soft shell under him, her shell hardening up ,and I gave them a reprieve and they too went back to the deep , right over a commercials crab pot buoy! I had too many things going on today and did not get into the water till 530 pm and left a bit after sunset as the regs say rec crabbers don't have to go by commercial times . Just wanted to give some new  lighter 30 pound anchors and the new pots a try out. Live and learn and I'm now learning Va rules and regs after many years of Maryland crabbing. Ive got all 3 rec licenses now Maryland Crab Boat PRFC Crab Boat and 2 Va Trotlines. Now to get it all together and catch some crabs! And Va only allows you 1 bushel for recs no matter what gear or licenses or people on the boat. And that's why Va does not care if you use 5 pots with a rec 5 pot license , or unlimited pull up traps and handlines , multiple separate 300 ft trotlines,  or 2 pots by yourself,  4 pots 2 each for 2 people, 6 pots with 3 people, 8 pots with 4 people all with no licenses, and everyone aboard must fish their own pots on the boat and be of course on the boat as you can only take a bushel in Virginia as a rec crabber    Right ??  LOL!



« Last Edit: August 09, 2017, 11:31:26 PM by Darrell » Logged

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