PFBC Changes for 2014
Inside the Outdoors, February
28, 2014

Each year when the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission publishes its new Summary of Fishing Regulations and Laws booklet, the first place I turn is an area devoted to “What’s New for 2014.”

And rightfully so for this is the place where anglers will be educated as to changes that may favor their angling. So what did I find most exciting as an addict fisherman?

Since I sometimes fish with hooks baited with waxworms, I was taken aback a little bit when I read one new stipulation what will improve my knowledge just where the fish are hovering in the depth of the water basin.

Under the heading of Tackle and Equipment on page 34, beside the subtitle of “Rods, Lines and Hooks,” three sentences read, “An angler may use a maximum of three lines fished either by rod or hand when fishing for gamefish, baitfish or both. There is no restriction on the number of hooks used on each fishing line. All rods, lines and hooks shall be under the immediate control of the person using them.”

For spin, lure or fly fishers, it is easy to understand why, for example, they may not be aware of the past ruling. Now we have a new law that will be a big influence as to how sportsmen and women will fish in the future.

A number of years ago, the Alabama umbrella rigs were introduced. These have three to five or more hooks or lures attached to them trolled behind a boat. Panther Martin distributes one of these. When they first hit the market, they were a hit in the south, but restricted in certain states such as Pennsylvania. Abiding by the law here, only three hooks could be used on such a device.

I checked with Tom Qualters, regional manager at the Southwest Division of the PFBC in Somerset, just why and how this change was made and he said, “We were receiving a lot of complaints as to restricted hook use and so we decided to look to see what other states were doing and concluded that unlimited hook use would be perfectly permissible.”

With the introduction of multiple hooks per line, a trot line came to mind. For those who don’t know what this is, it is a heavy fishing line with baited hooks attached at intervals by means of branch lines called snoods. These are attached to a main line using clips or swivels.

Here again, I checked with the PFBC and was told it is perfectly permissible to fish for trout with a trot line. One could catch his limit with one toss of the line if he knows where they are schooling. Of course, this is going to require maybe braided or heavy monofilament or fluorocarbon pound-test lines.

I called my long-time friend, Latrobe’s Carp master, Frank Miedel, known for catching 95 carp in one summer, and asked him how he felt about the ruling. “Two or three is all one needs,” he said. “There is definitely no need for more.” It all comes down as to what type of fishing one does and the type of presentation one makes. I can’t imagine my fellow senior pulling in more than three carp at one time, particularly since most of what he catches averages 24-plus inches using one hook on one line.

The 2014 Mentored Youth Trout Days will take place regionally (southeastern counties) March 22 and statewide April 5. The PFBC invites mentors and youth to take part in the Commission’s Mentored Youth Days. Youngsters under the age of 16 can join a mentor angler 16 years old or older (adults) who has a current fishing license and trout permit to fish on April 5 statewide in all approved trout waters. The hours are 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The Mentored Youth Permit is free, and the Voluntary Youth License is $2.70. The Youth License provides an extended return for both Pennsylvania’s youth and the Commission. For every license purchased, the PFBC receives $5 back in funding as a federal reimbursement. The funds received from the sales are dedicated toward the investment in youth outreach and education programs – helping to ensure the future of fishing.

One can buy these Mentored Youth Fishing Permits and/or Voluntary Youth Fishing Licenses via the Internet at or at any of the more than 900 licensing agents across the states.

- Paul J. Volkmann
Contact me by email

To buy my book, Off the Wall Favorites, call me at 724-539-8850.