By Carrie Wilson
California Outdoors Q&A columnist
California Dept. of Fish and Game
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My brother and I have two burning questions we have been wondering about. Is it legal to use licorice to fish with as bait? Also, we observed a man with a syringe injecting air into his bait worms so they would float off the bottom. Is this legal? (Marcus O.)
Processed food, such as licorice, are legal under bait regulations for inland waters found beginning in section 4.00 CCR, Title 14. It is also legal to inject air into a fishing worm and many such kits are found at sporting goods outlets. This method can be a very effective way to keep a worm off the bottom of lakes with heavy bottom vegetation.
When my kids were learning how to fish, I would often cast the rod and set the hook for them but then allow them to fight the fish and bring it in. My question is, in the DFG’s eyes, how much “help” is too much when you’re fishing with another angler? I can see how some dads might let this get out of hand by using their kids as an excuse to fish four or more rods (and to take home extra limits) when actually they are the only one doing the fishing.
One more question: Although kids don’t need a fishing license, is it possible to purchase a two rod stamp for them so they can fish with two rods like I do? My son is now 14 and would like to be able to fish with two rods, too. We enjoy your column! (Vern M.)
We always encourage parents to teach their kids to fish, but what we often see are parents doing all of the fishing while their kids are preoccupied and playing in the background. You are allowed to help your child, but given the scenario you mentioned above, if a game warden believes that you are the one doing the fishing, you may be cited. You can help your kids with the casting and all fishing activity, as long as your child is actively involved with the activity. They must be holding the rod and learning how to cast and reel. The child also must be closely attending the line. Just having a child in the area does not entitle any adult to fish without a license.
Anglers under 16 are not required to purchase a California sport fishing license and are allowed to fish with two rods in inland waters without the stamp, as long as they are fishing in an area where it is legal to use two rods.