Planning on heading to the lake this weekend for a relaxing fishing trip with your well-meaning but troubled cousin Luke? Thinking that you might get some nice Instagram shots of all of the 15-inch whoppers you catch in between crushing cans of watery nonsense beer on your head? Think again, friend. Think again.
In case you don't know how the internet works yet, it turns out that nothing you put on social media is truly erasable after being exposed to the prying eyes of the World Wide Web and its creepy eight-legged inhabitants. Just ask the anti-gay Michigan pastor who was recently put on blast with full-blown screenshots of his Grindr messages circulating all over the 'net—your privacy is no longer privacy when you've self-incriminated on a social network.
Although it's not quite the same thing as being outed as a hypocritical "top," there's a crackdown underway in the fishing world—and its new turf is Facebook. The Department of Environmental Conservation is on the loose, having learned how to use social media from their 14-year-old children, and if they see you posting fish that you caught out of season, they're gonna get ya.
According to Syracuse.com and the Watertown Daily Times, even just photographing yourself with out-of-season fish and posting it on your Twitter or what-have-you is now a ticketable offense, punishable with fines of up to $250 or even 15 days in the clink. Catch and release is permitted, but the whole "release" part can get muddled by the need to land the perfect shot for your Instagram.
"It's all because of the social media thing and people posing with the fish for pictures," DEC spokeswoman Lori Severino told Syracuse.com. "They often spend too much time dilly-dallying and don't return the fish immediately to the water."
If you catch a bass, wall-eye, or sturgeon when you're not supposed to, forget about bragging to your cyber followers. Throw that sucker back in the pond.
It's like a tree fell in the woods and no one was around to hear it. If you caught a big fish and there was no Facebook pic to prove it, did it ever really happen? Not if you want to hold on to your wallet.
This new regulation could be establishing the true price of internet bragging rights.