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It would be putting it mildly to say that the coronavirus has had a nationwide impact! Beyond its negative effect on jobs and the economy, it’s also adversely impacting Americans’ summer vacation and travel plans. The Bad News: In particular, while Europe is opening up to Europeans, as of July 1, the European Union has banned visitors from the U.S. Here in the U.S. – in the last two weeks, in Florida, Texas, and Arizona have reported unprecedented levels of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths.
Disappointingly (as Bloomberg reported on July 13) other states that suffered in the first wave of the virus (including California, Louisiana, Michigan and Washington state) are “seeing case counts climb again after months of declines.”
Given ongoing pandemic concerns, governors and legislators in states across the country, are reversing plans to ‘open up,’ and asking that visitors from other states voluntarily quarantine themselves for 14 days following their arrival.
After the most populous state recorded 8,358 new cases in a 24-hour period, California’s Governor Gavin Newsom mandated all counties to close their restaurants, movie theaters, family entertainment centers, wineries, zoos and bars for indoor service.
What’s this mean to the typical American family who had hoped to fly off to a big city for a fun summer vacation replete with dining in restaurants, and visits to theaters, museums, or professional sports stadiums?
Put simply: It ain’t happening during the summer of 2020!
The Good News: Fortunately, while traditional summer holiday activities that involve crowded gatherings are not prudent – there’s a great alternative to consider:
Here are Seven Reasons why recreational fishing close to home can make for a great alternative to flying or driving to another state or country this summer:
1) You can fish safely in all 50 states, DC, and Puerto Rico With most parks, beaches, and waterways now open, states are proactively encouraging fishing as a safe form of recreation this summer. To know exactly what you can currently do in your state or elsewhere, go to Guidesly.com to see our interactive listing of State Agency COVID-19 Responses and Updates. Just click on the map to choose your state of interest to find up-to-date information from authorities around part enclosures, restrictions, and more, to keep everyone’s safety in mind before making a trip to a favorite fishing spot.
2) Fishing is a great way to practice physical distancing Whether casting by a stream, in a boat on the bay or in a lake, or on a saltwater charter inshore or ocean deep water– small groups can gather on the water to have fun.
Take Texas as an example.
With so many bayous, lakes, streams, rivers, and tidal waters teeming with aquatic life, you can fish just about anywhere in the Lone Star State. Given the diversity of its ecosystems, Texas offers a wide range of fish to catch. If freshwater fishing is your preference, Texan waterways are home to bass, catfish, bullhead, crappie, sunfish, carp, gar, and suckers. Alternately, the Texas Gulf Coast offers a veritable aquarium of saltwater species (including black and red drum, flounder, red snapper, seatrout, and sea robins).
You won’t need a fishing license at any of Texas’s 80 State Parks, there’s plenty of choices of places to go swimming, boating, camping. Entrance and camping fees are very affordable, and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department website makes it easy to ensure availability, make reservations, check for closures and the latest restrictions and regulations. Beyond state parks in Texas, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration tracks regulations for recreational fishing in Federal waters.
3) Fishing = Family Fun In a July 7, 2020 Washington Post article titled “Casting about for a pandemic-friendly pastime?” author Heather Balogh Rochfort describes fishing as a wonderful bonding activity, writing “Families are getting on the water more than ever before. Many families quarantined together, so they feel comfortable taking fly-fishing lessons together, too.”
Citing Tim West, owner of Breckenridge Outfitters (Breckenridge, Colorado), his fly-fishing guide service is seeing an increase in parents and kids wanting to get on the water. "Trout don't live in ugly places," he says. "So why not enjoy the beautiful scenery as a family?"
4) Fishing keeps you healthy From reducing stress to improving brain and lung health,10 out of 10 physicians prescribe fishing as a wonderful activity that’s good for your health. See Guidesly’s article “Eight Ways Fishing Keeps You Healthy” for more detail.
5) Fishing is popular In 2018, nearly 50 million Americans went fishing, more than 300,000 than in the prior year. That’s 16.4 percent of citizens over the age of six. In fact, according to the Outdoor Industry Association - more Americans participate in recreational fishing than play golf, tennis, basketball, softball, ski, or bowl!
6) Fishing guides & charter captains provide #ResponsibleRecreation With an estimated 20,000 guides to choose from across the U.S., you can find trusted experts to take you fishing wherever you want. They know the best places to fish, provide boats and gear, and can help land the whopper you’re looking to catch.
For a quality guided experience, Guidesly’s online fishing platform (and mobile apps for smartphones) give anglers a first-of-its kind new way to easily find, review, and book guides.
Additionally, beyond facilitating a fun and safe staycation -- hiring a local guide is a patriotic way for you to help rebuild the economy, locally and nationally!
According to a 2016 report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, charter fishing businesses on the west coast of Florida alone made up nearly $500 million in sales and employed 4,200 people. Booking fishing trips in your state will directly contribute to the bottom line of local fishing guides and support affiliated local businesses (marinas, outfitters, retailers, and others).
7) Fed up with politics? Fishing is nonpartisan While politicians in Washington may be bitterly divided on a host of issues, as the old saying goes “conservation knows no party.” As a recent blog post from the American Saltwater Guides Association points out, fortunately our collective love of the outdoors “is one of the few things that brings us together.”
Strong evidence of this is bi-partisan support for “The Great American Outdoors Act.” Passed by the U.S. Senate on June 17, 2020, the Great American Outdoors Act (S. 3422) which will permanently finance the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), as well address the maintenance backlog of federal environmental agencies including the National Park Service, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service.
If, as anticipated, the U.S. House of Representatives passes the bill, and President Trump signs it into law -- the Act would ultimately earmark billions of dollars to every year to protect federally managed forests, inland waterways, parks and other public lands.
Beyond providing ongoing access to the outdoors for all Americans, the American Saltwater Guides Association believes the Act will ignite the economy and create lots of new green jobs.
This is Guidesly’s initial ‘take’ of seven reasons why fishing makes for a great staycation. Many of you have already/or are planning to go fishing this summer.
Let us know about YOUR personal experiences, and please send us any additional reasons to for our “fishing staycation” list.
We’d love to hear your fish tales!