Fishing License? Or Fishing Tax?
So I finally got my first experience of fishing in Maine this past weekend. Of course, before I could make my first cast, I had to buy a fishing license. Which got me thinking. Why is it called a “fishing license?” Unlike a “drivers license,” I did not have to take any kind of test. We all have to know our driving laws before getting our driving license, but apparently knowledge of Maine’s fishing laws is not a criteria for getting a fishing license. All I had to do was give some identification, which was copied onto my “fishing license,” and $21. I did not even have to have my picture taken!
My final conclusion: the whole licensing thing is a ruse to cover up the truth. The truth is that this is a tax–a “fishing tax.” Someone in Augusta probably thinks that calling it a “license” makes it less offensive than calling it a “tax.” They are probably right . . . but if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is a duck. And to make sure those “from away” pay more than their fair share, a non-resident one-year fishing license costs $52 while a resident one-year license costs $21. Heck, even a 3-day fishing license costs $23–who do you think buys those?