(April 23, 2020) We understand that many of you will be using this time during the Covid-19 pandemic to get outside. One of the few positives to stem from this pandemic is the quality time it has allowed us to spend with our loved ones — finally having a spare moment to teach your daughter how to use a baitcaster, spending a little more time on the water with your spouse, or simply enjoying some solitude on the boat with your pup.
When outdoors, we believe there is a way to practice #ResponsibleRecreation. To help you navigate the situation in front of us, we’re sharing our top 6 tips to help you stay responsible on and off the water.
1. Be Aware of Local Laws
As a company, AFTCO stands behind the American Sportfishing Association (ASA) in conjunction with Keep America Fishing on their efforts to keep us all informed of the latest COVID-19 fishing closures. Especially helpful is the TakeMeFishing.org interactive map by state, which allows easy access to the latest regulations throughout the country.
2. Postpone, Don’t Cancel
Many people are out of work or working reduced hours right now. This is especially true for those who make a living on the water. If you have a trip scheduled to fish with a guide or on a sportboat, consider postponing rather than cancelling.
3. Stay Local
If you find that you are able to make it out, we recommend staying local. Don’t take any long trips or overnighters outside of your area in search of different water. Stick to your local lake and when heading out, minimize contact at all facilities you encounter along the way (boat ramps, bathrooms, gas stations).
4. Wear a Face Mask
The CDC recommends always wearing a mask in all public settings. The ideal option is a heavy weight, tight weave cotton mask. There are many great resources on this topic, but we’ve found the CDC’s DIY guide to making your own cloth face covering to be a helpful starting place.
5. Social Distance While Fishing
When on the water, it is important that you do not encroach on fellow fisherman practicing #ResponsibleRecreation. This is especially important if you are bank fishing. Avoid walking close to another bank fisherman and explore a new part of the lake or walk the opposite way. It’s a little easier to maintain your distance when fishing from a boat, but the same idea applies. Keep to boating and fishing etiquette and there should not be any issues. Do be extremely mindful at the boat ramps, taking the time to practice social distancing while launching and retrieving your boat. Completely avoid public fish cleaning spaces or any other high contact areas.
6. Pack In, Pack Out
Our final tip is something that should be practiced regardless of the current situation and it is referred to as Pack In, Pack Out. Whatever comes with you, should leave with you. That includes any food, trash, fishing line, or used baits. We want to leave the lake better off than it was when we got there. This way, we can preserve the resources that we all love for future generations. We encourage this philosophy through the AFTCO Bank Bag Incentive.
Utilize these tips in the era of social distancing to help protect yourself and others around you from coronavirus. Let’s work together to beat this disease and get back on the water soon.