This Covid 19 (which is a great name for a highend reel) has and will change our lives for a while unfortunantly. We have involuntarily become a nation of mask wearing germaphobes; scared of anyone we don’t know personally. We avoiding touching anything that may have been fondled by “that guy” and we tuck and roll away from anyone that clears their throat. The funny part is, I am totally good with it. I’ve never been a fan of close talkers, who are overly enthusiastic conversationalist that spit their words. I am also pleased that I have a free-pass on not having to fist bump people I don’t want to or even worse, bro hug. This is newest, freshest kind of expected antisocial behavior I’ve been longing for, it’s fantastic! A harsh POV, I know, but pretty apt.
So, you may be asking yourselves, what does this have to do with anything remotely resembling the topic of fly fishing?
Let me answer that with one simple fly fishermen’s reality and a value we all, by design, share, we “social distance” as sport. We actually like being by ourselves. Think of your last road trip to the river? Admit it, even if you and your 3 best buds arrived to the river in one car, you bolted to your own spot “just down there around the bend, find me if you need me” kind of spot (and liked it).
Historically, fly fishing is the best activity, the best way, the most quietly independent, soulful thing to do to let the world wash by us. It allows you to forget that the world is burning, it allows you to deeply care only about the 50′ stretch of flat water with sippers right in front of you. My reality of social distancing is that if I can cast a decent line and hit the eddy you are creating, you are entirely too close.
This pandemic has taken us all by surprise, but I’m not all that shocked. As a whole, we as a society have taken pretty much everything for granted, we maintain the mindset, ”Naw, that won’t happen here or to me, I’m not at all worried,” Well are you worried now?
This “new normal” is a much needed learning experience, a reality check of sort.
I would love to give you some real life examples that may not have directly touched you, but in fact, created massive losses of a different sort of life.
Remember whirling disease? Myxospolus Celebralis? The parasite that killed all the juvenile rainbow trout? It was devastating. It was spread to different rivers carried in damp felt soled waders or unchecked hatchery stocking procedures and/or other human driven methods. It wiped out countless fish. The solution was equally tragic, hatcheries had to dispose (kill) of all the fingerlings to curtail the spread of the disease. (Sounds all to familiar except for the culling of the population)
Just for fun,
I was also reminded of another variation and threat that affects our waters that was in today’s newspaper. Wait for it…..The introduction of invasive fresh water muscles! When introduced it becomes a destructive, almost impossible plight in fresh water lakes. Remember, none of this is not done by malicious intentions, it all happened because of just not knowing better or not taking precautions until it’s too late. But we have the power to make good choices.
On a side note, I am a little disappointed that I haven’t had to deal with any “Killer Hornets” I wanted to be part of that!
In short, all of this should not be a deterrent to getting out and enjoying the fabulous out of doors and chasing trout. We simply have to be a bit more aware and diligent.
I know there are doubters out there and some who believe it’s a hoax, Just say’n, it’s not. All that needs to happen is just a few things that I think might make this all more bearable and hopefully curtail some risks;
- If you are chatting somewhere or you want to talk on the river or the shop, stay a good 9’6 fly rod distance away. Don’t be shy and put this method to the test, poke at them at will.
- As far as masks are concerned…Wear your BUFF, They are always badass, they look cool and you wear it anyway. Remember, keep it pulled up in full-on guide fashion and keep it there, Especially if you are closer than a rod length of somebody.
- Wash your hand in the river if you have any intention of touching people. The added benefit is that when cars pass by, the occupants will think your just released a fish, it’s a win-win!
- Be nice out there. We are all involved in this, some others may or may not be freaking out. That’s ok, but if it bugs you, move 2 or 3 rod lengths away and act like the river flow is too loud to hear them. This method has work for me for years.
- Keep sanitizer in the car. Really, it’s no big deal, also I believe that straight-up vodka works, but don’t hold me to it.
Lastly, before I step off of my soapbox aka my YETI cooler, I have forgotten to mention something important, I am not an expert in Emerging Infectious Diseases nor am I Doctor, but I do believe in precautions, preparation and being aware if risks, no matter how big or small they might be.
As a reminder, it is in everyones best interest that if you don’t buy into all this covid stuff and claim that you know better because you got the information off of social media or from that guy at the gun-shop or a talking-head newscasters/radio personality, stay quiet. Unless your sources have a ton of letters after their name, what you are spouting it just unproven hearsay.
Let all do our best to be good people and better sportsmen and sportswomen and most importantly, Don’t hate!
Guide Glenn Smith