The coronavirus pandemic has affected all of the United States, taking lives and causing the need to shut down a number of different types of business, including those related to the outdoors. For example, I just canceled my spring turkey hunt in Texas because I would have to self-quarantine there and the logistics wouldn't work — a very minor inconvenience compared to the gravity of what many are facing because of this disease. Yet the outdoors recreation businesses fall into the non-essential category and outfitters will be among the small business owners impacted in the coming weeks.
Locally, I checked in with a couple of area striper guides to see how they are adapting. Captain Richard Booth is seeing a big effect this season. "I am not taking any clients this striper season unless there is a major change in the virus," Booth said, "which at this time does not look positive." Captain Booth's Reel Happy Fishing Charters is typically very busy during the striper run.
Captain Chris Leach of Predator Striped Bass Sportfishing is also facing an uncertain season. "I'm sure everyone has a solid case of cabin fever," Leach said. "Hopefully that's all that is causing the fever." Leach is anticipating that his guided trips will get off to a later start this season.
In fact, charters and guides have been specifically advised that they are part of the New York Pause directive that closed all non-essential businesses and gatherings starting at 8 p.m. on Sunday, March 22.
Guides and outfitters throughout New York will be sitting out at least a portion of what is typically a busy time for them.
"My schedule for the spring charter fishing business is usually booked solid by this time every year," Leach said, "but this year is different. Depending on how long this virus is among us, a late spring start is evident."
Fortunately he guides for stripers through the summer and fall on the Connecticut River and Long Island Sound and should be busy during those months.
Typically, the striper fishing gets going in April, with the herring arriving at some point during the month. Last spring's season got off to a cold start, plus there were several rainstorms that muddied the Hudson River, impacting the fishing. The river did produce some big fish, and according to Leach, his clients boated a beautiful 46-pound female striper, his personal best.
Our area striper run ends once the river heats up with warmer weather and the big bass drop back to the ocean, which varies due to weather conditions.
Captain Leach does have hope, though.
"Perhaps when it is all over we won't take as much for granted," Leach said, "and hopefully respect and treat each other with more kindness within our communities."
While charter fishing is temporarily not available, recreational angling still is. Anglers should practice the same safety rules that everyone has been asked to observe in terms of social distancing. For fishermen it is easy: stay a fishing rod's length away from everyone and don't shake hands if someone catches a big striper.
So let's make the best of the situation and fish to the extent we can while following the guidelines to keep ourselves and those we come in contact with safe through this crisis.
Reach outdoors columnist Rob Streeter at rstreeter@体彩app官方网站nycap.rr.com or by mail at 691 Stoner Trail Road, Fonda, NY 12068.