Thursday, January 22, 2015

Undercover DEC?

Have you ever been spear fishing? It's fun, it's exciting and takes alot of skill. It also lets you fish with your bow. If you have a boat the fun is endless. Here on New York you can only spear carp but believe me there's no fun lost. And when I was a teenager it's one thing that I loved to do.
     The morning sun was just coming up as I was boarding the boat with my friend Adam. He and I both had the day off and thought spear fishing the channel and lock area of Cayuga lake (which is one of the largest and best fisheries of the finger lakes) would make for a great day. We began by heading slightly upstream to an area where a hydro dam and the lock channel meet in a  "Y" shape. We fished it for probably an hour reeling in four or five fish all together.
     We were having a blast when a man began to approach us in a small sailboat without a sail. I thought he looked a little odd but thought nothing of it. Then just kind of watched us for a few minutes. Until we shot a fish.
     Once the fish was in the boat the man said "Hey boy's, what's going on here?". We thought we were well within our legal right to spear fish. So I said "we're fishing, and your scaring all the fish away!"
Well apparently that was the trigger for this guy because he started yelling at us about some things I really didn't care to listen to. So I drew my bow and was just about to fire again when this man produced an NYS DEC badge, ID, and what looked to me like a police issue side arm, all from his tackle box. So I said to myself "hmm maybe this guy has something to say." Turns out he did, but still nothing I wanted hear. He said "You guys just thought I was a f**kin scum bag but I'm undercover stopping illegal fishing." So I said "Then go find someone who's illegally fishing." At this point the man became a little more frustrated than he was already, the cause of me blowing him off the first time. Adam, being the voice of reason in all this said "No one is doing anything illegal, I'll show you my license." But the man carried on and told us the laws had changed as of that year and you now need a special spearing license. To say the least I was baffled by this, totally disarmed and stumped. And I really didn't have a leg to stand on because I had used the previous year's guide book to check the regulations.
     What do you do at this point? Well there wasn't an awful lot I could do. This man had a real badge and a real ID. But it's ok, he "cut us a deal" he said " Boys I'm gonna help ya out here, I'm only going to take on bow, all the arrows and a single fishing pole." So in my normal tactful style I responded with "That doesn't help at all!" (I used to be kind of a smart ass). He proceeded to tell us he could take the boat, everything in it, and take us to jail. He then took what he said he was going to take and it seemed he picked the newest and nicest of it. He told us we could pay the fine and pick up our equipment at the Seneca falls office at the police station. Needless to say I wasn't impressed by any of this.
     About 2 hours later we went to the police station in downtown Seneca falls. They told us that they don't deal with the DEC our their matters. They were able to direct us to a DEC substation in the area. As it turns out neither place had any information on the case and had no idea what we were talking about and said we were not breaking the law spear fishing.
     After this wild goose chase we decided to go to the police... The real police. When we did we got a series of what I thought were hopes and dreams written down on paper. But I happen to remember the odd boat he was in and they managed to catch him a few days later. The DEC was able to return everything we lost that day except the arrows. Later on I found out that everything this guy had was stolen, including the boat he rode in on.