“Get out and fish” seems to be the call to action these days. I’ve said it in print and in my weekly videos, I’ve seen it being said online, I’ve heard it being said in person and many of this week’s fishing reports had the sentiment peppered in more often than not. But there are also those saying it might not be the best option right now, and some towns, counties and states are even prohibiting their angling public from participating in outdoor activities. Washington State, for example, “…announced its decision to temporarily close recreational fishing and shellfishing statewide in the wake of Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s order directing Washingtonians to stay home and stay healthy to limit the spread of coronavirus/COVID-19.”
I’m not going to get into the merit of such extreme action, but in a time where things are changing by the minute, and caution is the ultimate name of the game, let’s look at some at-home options you can do to pass the time while still doing something fishing related, and while maintaining a safe distance from your fellow angler.
Read a Book
For as much time as I spend reading about fishing on a daily basis, I still greatly enjoy fishing books. For the most part my fascination is with long-out-of-print books as I dissect the old tactics looking for that forgotten secret to help me catch more fish today, but I read modern publications as well. I have a rather large collection of saltwater fishing books in my library, and I found myself going through them in recent days. Rather than logging onto Facebook or Instagram, I randomly selected a title from the bookshelf each evening and dove into stories of fish long ago.
First it was Salt Water Fishing is Easy, by Jerry Sylvester, followed by Striperman by Sherwood Lincoln. These are two of my favorites as there is just SO MUCH information in them that at times it almost feels like overload. Surfcasting Around the Block by Dennis Zambrotta also falls into this category, and they are all good selections to grab when you just want to read a chapter or two and see where it leads you. I always learn something no matter how many times I’ve read them. After that I struck upon a copy of Reading the Water by Robert Post. I’ve only fished Martha’s Vineyard one time (technically I was there for four days), but the stories contained within this classic are enjoyable whether you’re a lifelong angler on the island or you’ve never set foot on its shore. Of course I hit a few selections from Frank Daignault, with 20 Years on the Cape an annual read, but then I grabbed some more technical titles like Bait Tail Fishing by Al Reinfelder and Bass From the Beach by Tim Coleman. There are many more titles still to come, and as the days of social distancing turn into weeks and possibly months I’ll be sure to read most if not all of them once again.
Boat/Kayak Repairs and Upgrades
As I’m sure you have seen in our Kayak Rigging video series, I’ve been working on tricking out my Old Town Predator PDL kayak for the upcoming season with new electronics and accessories, and I have a third video on adding lights to the kayak which drops very shortly. Just this weekend I added a new Humminbird Helix 9 on my Old Town AutoPilot 136, and with the battery scheduled the same day as I type this, I plan to splash it in search of trout by week’s end.
Not a kayak fisherman? No problem, why not consider a trolling motor on your saltwater boat? New Jersey editor Jim Hutchinson, Jr. added one on his 204 Angler Pro center console last fall, and he put together a very good video outlining the steps needed to complete the project. Maybe you’re not in a place to add a big purchase like a new trolling motor or electronics, then in the very least it’s a good time to do some safety checks to both boat and trailer, as well as inspection of any electronics or wiring systems on the boat. A few minutes of work today, while you’re stuck at home any way, will ensure more productive time when you do finally splash the boat in a few weeks!