NORTH MYRTLE BEACH — Some fishermen in North Myrtle Beach are worried about possible regulations being discussed in the city that would limit the hours for tossing lines into the surf.
North Myrtle Beach city council met in a workshop before the regular council meeting Monday night to discuss and draft an ordinance for surf fishing. The council expects to discuss the issue further when the proposed ordinance hits a council agenda during the offseason. Before any laws are changed, however, the council would need to pass the ordinance twice.
The possible ordinance comes after several complaints were filed, primarily in July, over safety concerns with the hooks and lines in the ocean, said city spokesman Pat Dowling.
Wayne Hill, who has lived in the city for decades, said it’s not an issue that requires strict legislation like the proposal Monday that would ban surf fishing on public beaches from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Hill was one of 13 people who attended the meeting. He said there could be dangers for beachgoers related to surf fishing, but there’s a level of danger in anything on the beach. An ordinance just isn’t the answer, he said.
Pete Pieri was concerned about the time limits. He said tourists likely want to fish during the hours that would be prohibited. And if he has to work at night, he too, likely won’t be able to fish on the beach.
Currently, the city has no regulations for surf fishing, but does prohibit fishing for sharks.
Larkin Broughton owns a vacation property in North Myrtle Beach and said he tries to fish away from people, but constantly has kids approaching his line.
“Some mornings I have to move five times to get away from people,” he said. “I can’t stop the parents from bringing that kid up to the fishing pole. It’s not me. I can’t get away from them.”
Council made a few changes to a draft of the ordinance, primarily shifting issues around so the ordinance first says a surf fishing license must be issued by the state before anyone can legally sink a hook. The council also agreed the draft ordinance should address the immediate release of fish or other animals that could pose a danger to beachgoers, sun bathers, swimmers and anyone else where the catch is made.
And, similar to other jurisdictions like Horry County and Myrtle Beach, the ordinance would say fishing in a manner that presents unsafe conditions to others is prohibited.
Council deleted a line in the draft ordinance that would bar fishing within 100 yards of beachgoers laying, sitting and walking on the sand.
Mayor Marilyn Hatley said that wouldn’t work.
“Well you’d never fish,” she said. “Somebody’s going to be walking, somebody’s going to come and sit down. I have a problem with that whole thing.”
Diana Pieri said if safety is at stake fishing in the surf could be restricted like surfing is by limiting it to 100 yards on either side of a pier.
Hatley said she’s certain a compromise will be found on the issue and said the council is in no hurry to enact changes because the city has the entire winter to figure the issue out.
Contact AMANDA KELLEY at 626-0381.