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Comments By Kim: COVID cancels fishing

Angry anglers react

The latest response to increased worry about coronavirus in England resulted in adding fishing to the list of prohibited activities. I’m serious. England banned recreational fishing. No casting. No watching a bobber. No trolling. NO FISHING!

Fishermen throughout that country were taken by surprise by the recent edict. As you might suspect, the reaction from anglers everywhere in the realm was one of complete disbelief. Rather swiftly the government of that country came under fire from fishermen from all corners of the country who had come to find relief from earlier coronavirus restrictions by getting outside. Fishing rod in hand and tackle bag at their side. They weren’t about to let a new strain of coronavirus keep them indoors.

Thankfully, an organization called the Angling Trust carried the guidon for English anglers. Their persuasive argument in favor of fishing, even during a pandemic, tipped the scales in favor of furious fishermen.

“We have promoted the huge benefits of fishing on individual health and well-being and have been able to present a case to which the Government have listened,” said the Angling Trust in response to the demands of the country’s fishermen. “On this basis I am pleased to announce that fishing will be permitted during the third national lockdown in England.”

So back to the banks they go, or have already. I would hope so.

England’s Head of Sports Participation said, “fishing is allowed as exercise so long as participants adhere to the rules on staying local, gathering limits, social distancing and limiting the time spent outdoors.”

I’m not certain how much exercise a person gets while fishing, very little I would think, but fresh air and social distancing is guaranteed. Good thing those clever folks at Sports Participation were able to rule that fishing “can be considered an exercise and hence permitted.”

Odd. But whatever works.

The Anglers Trust noted that “with infection rates and death tolls rising we must stick to the Government’s rules and ensure that angling remains part of the solution and does not cause problems.”

Fair enough.

Those guidelines include “local” fishing only which is “seen as exercise, which is expressly permitted under the lockdown rules, although outdoor recreation is not.”

Outdoor recreation is not? Doesn’t quite sound right. I don’t even want to know what’s in that group. But, England’s fishermen can at least do their thing. Well, sort of anyway.

There’s no match or tournament fishing, no overnight fishing, a one fishing trip a day limit and fishing is allowed only “within the district where you live.” In other words, if you don’t have a local fishing hole, I assume one that’s quite close to home, you can’t go fishing.

Jamie Cook, the chief executive officer of Angling Trust, says the Trust “worked tirelessly to achieve this outcome.”

I can’t envision a ban on fishing here, but I think I can clearly see what the response would be even if it is considered. It’s not a pretty sight.

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