Fishing During Covid-19 - The Fisherman

Fishing During Covid-19

Dealing with the impacts that covid-19 is having on daily life is taking its toll on many individuals in the form of fear, uncertainty and mental stress. There are concerns over finances, health and job security among other things. Many of us are basically confined to our homes and deprived of social interaction except for immediate family, and the activities that normally make up a large part of our lives have been erased. While the non-essential workforce in New York State has been reduced by 100 percent, and social distancing is a way of life, the benefits of outdoor recreation have been lauded by some very influential people and agencies such as President Trump’s son, Donald Jr., Governor Cuomo and New York’s DEC.

Don Jr. posted this on Instagram back on March 18: “If you have to self-isolate and practice social distancing with only close friends and family, you might as well go fishing. Get your kids and take them to your local pond, river, lake or ocean. Seems like a perfect time to get outdoors and away from everyone else. If you are looking to do something to pass the time, fishing is as good an experience I can think of for family time.”

A recent bulletin from NYDEC titled NEW YORK’S OUTDOORS ARE OPEN included the following: During the current COVID-19 public health crisis, getting outdoors and connecting with nature is a way to help maintain our mental and physical health. Scientific studies show that time outside in nature significantly reduces stress and anxiety, lowers blood pressure, improves mood, energy, and sleep, and boosts the immune system.

Furthermore, Governor Cuomo has waived all state park entrance fees during the coronavirus crisis and has repeatedly noted during his press conference the benefits of getting outdoors, providing proper precautions such as social distancing are practiced. Also of note, spring trout stockings have been carried out according to schedule here on Long Island, providing anglers with an excellent opportunity to bend a rod during these stressful times.

Saltwater opportunities are also expanding as the number of schoolie stripers continues to build over the next few weeks in places like Pelham Bay, Little Neck and Manhasset bays, Hempstead Harbor and Cold Spring Harbor and eventually through the North Fork. The South Shore from Jamaica Bay to Ditch Plains in Montauk will also see an influx of school bass through April. Striper season in the Marine District opens on April 15 but catch & release fishing is permitted during the closed season. This month should also provide some shorebound opportunities for flounder and blackfish, as well as for those who have their own boat. The seasons for both species opened on April 1.

As I write this, the status of tackle shops being open or closed is not clear given the most recent mandate of 100 percent employee reduction. If they are open and you need to purchase bait, I would suggest wearing gloves and a face mask if you have them, or arrange with the shop owner to do your transaction at the door. If shops are closed, some supermarkets carry clams and mussels in their fish departments. If you are targeting blackfish, frozen or fresh store bought shrimp make an excellent bait. And then there is also the option of digging your own garden worms or nightcrawlers which will cover trout, white perch and flounder. Digging your own worms could also be a fun activity for any kids in your home.

What better way to reduce stress and anxiety, and improve your mood than to get out and fish? As long as you practice social distancing, you will likely be doing your state of mind a lot of good, and make living through this crisis much more tolerable. Be smart and stay safe.

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