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As difficult as it might be, do not fish with anyone who is not confined to your home with you.
By Fred Golofaro  |  April 20, 2020
Launch ramps and marinas around the Island were reopened on Sunday. Photo by Donna Golofaro.

Boat owners in the Long Island, Metro NY area and around the state got some welcome news this past weekend when Governor Cuomo signed off on the opening of public and private marinas and launch ramps. Many anglers have been frustrated by their inability to access their boats in private marinas, and not being able to launch their trailered boats. Also, the closure of public marinas seriously impacted local fishing access for shore bound anglers. Many folks, including lots of stressed out first responders and hospital workers, saw their boats and fishing as a way to relieve the stress brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, both State Parks and DEC have been encouraging outdoor recreation as a means of coping with the stress associated with the disease, while emphasizing the mental health benefits and how activities like fishing can help boost our immune system.

The opening is also well-timed for the opening of fluke season less than two weeks from now on May 4, when many anglers will be itching to go fishing. Until then, there is plenty of incentive to fish thanks to an abundance of school size stripers along both shores of the Island, a surprisingly good showing of blackfish in inshore areas following last April’s debacle, and the early arrival of porgies in Peconic Bay.

If you are planning to fish, whether in your boat or from shore, it is critically important that we all continue to strictly adhere to social distancing guidelines. The CDC says six feet. I say if six feet is good, than 10 feet is better. Make sure you have a mask or face covering on you if there is the potential of being around other people and that especially includes places like marinas and launch ramps. Neck gaiters like those used for sun protection are a great option for anyone on or near the water who has difficulty finding a mask or finds them too uncomfortable. They can be worn around your neck and then you can quickly cover your face when approaching other people. Be patient at ramps and keep your distance from others who are launching their boats. Most town ramps are manned by security staff and I’m hopeful these folks will be directing the flow of boats being launched and retrieved.

As difficult as it might be, do not fish with anyone who is not confined to your home with you. That is especially true where boats are concerned. Tell your buddies you’ll make it up to them once the all clear is given. Instead, look at this as a great opportunity to spend quality time with your children, wife, husband, especially after being mostly confined to the walls of your home. We must remain vigilant – we don’t want to go backwards and the word is already out there that if there are abuses of the CDC guidelines and social distancing especially, marinas and ramps will be closed again. If that happens, it will be even more painful given the height of the fishing season and good weather. Continue to be smart and stay safe.