How to fish safely during COVID-19

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B.A.S.S.

Editor’s note: Bassmaster has a new section called Fish Smart, with social hashtags #fishsmart and #livesmart. We’re embracing our roots in these uncertain times — focusing on family and fishing wisely. Click here for more related stories and videos. 

The lake one day this week was no more crowded than it usually is on a warm Saturday morning in spring — except this wasn’t Saturday. It was midweek during the COVID-19 pandemic emergency. The boat ramp was jammed, and you had to take a number to fish a community hole.

The rapid, unprecedented spread of the coronavirus has forced the closure of schools, businesses, events and any other nonessential gathering of people in our country and across the world. For many of us, being off work or out of school means an opportunity to go bass fishing.

But should we?

“Probably the safest place to be is on the lake right now,” said Dr. Neil Schaffner of Opelika, Ala., an avid bass angler and 40-year veteran of the medical profession. “Everybody knows you’re supposed to practice ‘social distancing’ by staying at least 6 feet away from other people. You can do that when you’re out in the middle of nowhere, in open spaces and open air."

That doesn’t mean anglers should be oblivious to the dangers of contracting what for some can be a deadly virus, however.