People, prepare your pitchforks and torches — I propose a new extra tax on anglers. Now, some of you may think that you already pay enough in taxes but clearly this is not the case because some very important guvmint work is not getting done. For years we’ve been asking for an app similar to the FACTS program charter boats use to record their striped bass catches, which recreational anglers could use for the same purpose and generate a solid count on harvest levels. Those who want to beat up on recreational anglers often use the lack of hard data on our catches as a reason for which we should be penalized. And we’ve forever been told that the health of the fishery could be far more accurately monitored with such a system.

rockfish on a ruler
Measure a fish and take a picture? We can do this, people...

But we’ve also been told by state representatives from Maryland that creating such an app would be complex, time consuming, and difficult. Which likely translates into “we don’t have the budget.” Never mind that they managed to create such a system in short order when it was deemed necessary for the charter segment. What’s really depressing, though, is the fact that both Mississippi and Alabama have both created apps like this already, to account for red snapper harvest. Yes, you read that right, Mississippi and Alabama made it happen but Maryland says no can do. Logic dictates that this must be because taxes (and thus constituent services) are so much higher in those states, right?

No, wait a sec, it also could be because red snapper are simply more important than rockfish. Or, maybe because states in the deep south are more progressive and scientifically inclined than Maryland. I don’t know. However, as a native Marylander the need for more taxes to solve this problem seems obvious to me.

Now that we all agree on the need to raise an extra angler tax, we just need the state folks to tell us how much this would really cost. We know this is a massive undertaking, so we expect it to be a hefty fee. Yes, building an app so comprehensive that an angler could register catching a fish, its size, and whether it was kept or not would be immensely complex. We could even consider incorporating the ability to include a cell phone picture of the fish on a ruler, but that would probably be asking too much from modern technology — even if we had the billions of dollars it would take to hire IBM or Haliburton and get this moon-shot off the ground.

The sky-high cost of app-making is why to date only about 5.1 million apps have been created. And why none of them relate to tracking the catches of anglers. Well, except for those apps they made for the red snapper, and they obviously had an unlimited budget when those were created because money is free in Mississippi and Alabama (that’s why no one who lives there complains about the sky-high taxes).

In reality, of course, we anglers do already pay extra taxes. Every time we buy and register things like boats, fishing tackle, and dock fuel we pay up, because they have specific taxes levied on them to support the angling infrastructure. So, y’all can put down those pitchforks. As for the torches, let’s keep them burning. You never know, one day maybe the people who strive to serve their constituants will actually see the light.