From Alaska to the East Coast and down to the Keys, anglers are being denied access to public waters by the federal government shutdown. And as they are punished, so too are the businesses and communities that depend on tournament and recreational fishing for income.
“People are very, very angry at our government and I’m right there with them. I have never been so angry with a president and our government in my entire life until now,” said Georgia guide Mike Bucca.
“Anglers are pissed off. It’s just nuts,” said Carl Wengenroth, owner of The Angler’s Lodge on Lake Amistad, where all public access has been shut down by the National Park Service (NPS) and businesses in and around Del Rio are losing millions of dollars each weekend.
Wengenroth said that he is losing $9,000 a weekend from the hotel and tackle shop portions of his business. “Our café on single weekend morning will lose more than $3,000 by itself. We have kept the doors open and the employees working, but that won’t last much longer if this persists.”
Not surprisingly, Wengenroth and some of those angry Texas anglers are planning a response to the shutdown for Oct. 18 and 19 at Amistad.
“But we want to make it a political media event, and not a confrontation,” Wengenroth emphasized. “We want 500 to 1,000 boats lined up along the highway to be filmed and we want city officers and local businessmen to be interviewed by the media about the harm this is doing.”
Tim Cook, conservation director for the Texas B.A.S.S. Nation, added, “We want to put heads in beds for two nights to help local businesses and we want to raise exposure about how this shutdown is hurting people. We’re asking people to come down and spend the weekend, just as if they were coming to fish a two-day tournament.”
Cook also emphasized that “our problem is with Congress and the President. The park superintendent has been very supportive of the angling community. He’s just doing what he is told to do.”