Bright spots during dark times

For the past five months, we have to ask ourselves where we are going as a country.

Where are we going as a family? Where does all of this end up?

It’s concerning for sure, but I’m one of those guys whose glass is closer to half full.

I like focusing on the positive things, and fishing is one of those precious bright spots we can all celebrate.

I’ve spent a lot of time on the water through lockdowns and quarantines, whether it was fishing safely with family, close friends or my dad. What I’ve seen on the water is one heckuva lot of people embracing sportfishing.

I realize that the majority of you reading this are fishermen. We all know we’re going fishing no matter what. But what I’ve seen is so many new people getting out and fishing.

I’m talking about families, teenagers and children to the number that I’ve never seen on the water anytime in my life.

That is truly awesome! It’s good for them and good for our industry that fishing is booming this summer season. Granted, it’s hard for companies to meet the demand that’s been put on them the last four months, especially since many were shut down for a while.

I’ve talked to many different companies, from the marketing level all the way up to company presidents, and they’re all excited about the numbers of people coming into fishing.

If we can keep at least 10 or 20% of those youngsters involved in the sport, we’ll continue to see the kind of growth that will draw more sponsors and attention to competitive fishing.

Another real positive is how our Bassmaster Elite tournaments are being aired live on ESPN2. The network picked up the Bassmaster LIVE broadcasts at the Eufaula event and the St. Lawrence River and Lake Champlain Elites as well.

I’ll admit I tend to get really nervous about going live for 20 hours on TV. Yet, I know that bass fishing being live on a major sports network for four days at several events is huge for this sport.

It’s not only good for the sport but good for the public that thirsts for live events.

Be it through participation on their local waters or by watching Elite tournaments live, I can’t help but think that – in some small way – fishing is helping everyone get through these dark times.

I’m certainly not insensitive to what’s going on in the world. But I prefer to dwell on the good things like the fact that sportfishing is growing and more people have embraced fishing as a means to enjoy life when times are tough.