Good morning to all college anglers, and anyone else who may read this. The past few days have been a whirlwind for many people across the country. A lot of you have stocked up on groceries, spent more time around the house, and caught up with friends and family on the phone making sure everyone is doing okay. It has definitely been a shock to our normal way of life and competitive fishing adventures. Since I follow many of you on social media I see a lot of you still on the water and I’ve enjoyed seeing the catches you’ve been posting.
One of the biggest changes to everyday life right now is social distancing. I will be the first to admit that I like interacting with people; whether that’s talking fishing, sharing images of that big buck on the trail cam, or just catching up about the game last night. But the harsh reality of this vicious virus is that it spreads at a rapid rate. From direct contact to droplets in the air, this is a very hardy virus that lingers for some time unless combatted with disinfectants and sprays, meaning that limiting contact with others is a very important step in slowing the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
One of the biggest items I want to address through all of this is fishing. Late last week we had to make the difficult call to postpone the Big Bass Bash at Kentucky Lake. This was done in accordance with decisions made by numerous colleges to not allow anglers to fish while representing their school, the NCCA canceling winter and spring sports, as well as other major organizations making the decision to cancel events for the next several weeks so as to avoid gatherings.
My decision to postpone the event was made out of the best interest of the student anglers on-site and anyone they would come in contact with afterward. Along with that, many schools and institutions were beginning to impose travel restrictions on university-related activities and travel therefore many anglers would no longer be able to compete. It is now one week later and many schools have canceled classes through this week and beyond, with a good majority of them resorting to online-only classes for the rest of the semester. Along with that, many collegiate fishing events have been canceled as well. While this is very frustrating in the short term, we hope it will all make sense in the long run.
As we look forward to our next major event the BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops at Pickwick Lake in late May, know that we’ll be expanding the field and allowing more teams and schools to come and compete. Be looking for updates on that and we’ll see all of you on the water soon competing and representing your schools! But for now, be smart, be safe, practice social distancing and finally do what your parents told you when you were young…WASH YOUR HANDS.
See you on the water soon!
Wade Middleton, Director of the Association of Collegiate Anglers