Don’t Blow This for the Rest of Us: How We Keep Hunting and Fishing During the Pandemic


Joe Cermele from The Meateater explains how guides and other anglers who are still dopey enough to push for folks fishing on boats together and traveling afar are now risking outdoor opportunities for everyone… check it out.

By Joe Cermele – Meateater

The last week of March Raritan Bay really caught fire. This 70,000-acre piece of water, part of the New York bight, is flanked by North Jersey and Staten Island. The Manhattan skyline at the mouth of the Hudson River paints the bay’s northern backdrop. Every spring, Raritan gives cabin fever-racked salty anglers their first crack at big striped bass. The fish pile into this shallow, confined bay in April to stage for the spawn, and targeting them on a weekend can give a whole new meaning to “combat fishing.”

This year, Raritan isn’t just the nucleus of early-season striper action; it also sits in the epicenter of some of the hottest COVID-19 zones in the country. Neither nation-high infection numbers nor stay-at-home orders from both New Jersey and New York seem to be discouraging many anglers from crowding onto boats or lining up at ramps.

For clarity, I’m not suggesting we stop fishing—quite the opposite. I want us to be able to keep fishing. Getting on the water, albeit less frequently than before the pandemic, is one of the few things I can do that still feels normal. Unfortunately, after yesterday’s closure of all state and county parks in New Jersey, I now have far fewer options where I can feed my fishing fix.

What disappointed me most during the Raritan Bay striper eruption was the number of “high-profile” captains and anglers posting videos and photos from the bay with boats full of buddies. It’s simply impossible to maintain 6 feet of distance on a boat. Many states (including NY and NJ) strongly recommend that if you’re going to fish on a boat, go alone or with only members of your immediate household. That’s what I’m doing.

While I want everyone in those photos and social media posts to remain healthy, let’s not forgot that people are dying, and slowing the spread of this disease is what matters first. But the point here is bigger and well, more selfish. I want to be able to …continue reading on meateater


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