Tim Wirtz Junior looked at two large rainbow trout swimming near land. He cast his fishing line into the water. No luck. The fish swam right past, not even stopping for a look.
Wirtz did not seem to mind his failure at fishing. At a time when millions of Americans are following stay-at-home orders, he was out enjoying the weather — all while obeying guidelines for social distancing. He made sure not to get within two meters of other people.
Wirtz’s father Tim approved of his son’s activity. “It’s a good way to get out in the fresh air and he can still distance pretty easily,” he said.
The coronavirus health crisis has pressed many Americans into their homes. For some, the only escapes are trips to buy food, visits to the doctor’s office and trips to open spaces for physical exercise.
A visit to the neighborhood lake with a fishing pole in hand has become a popular get-out-of-the-house activity.
Across the United States, many bodies of water are closed to the general public. But many community lakes are open and have fish.
Steve Gurtin is community fishing program manager for Arizona Game and Fish.
Gurtin says that although he did not have exact information, “we’ve definitely seen a lot of anglers out...we’re seeing a lot more people trying to get outdoors.”
Anglers are a kind of fisherman. They use a fishing line and rod to catch fish, not a net.
The appeal of fishing is clear. Fishing is mostly an activity for one person or a small number of people.
And what about those social-distancing guidelines? They are already in place.
Stephanie Vatalaro is with the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation.
“You don’t want to be close,” she said. “You’re going to tangle your lines, get your equipment mixed up. Fishing is a sport that lends itself to social distancing for sure.”
The Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation was created to increase Americans’ interest in boating and fishing. The group’s website, takemefishing.org, has seen a 15% increase in traffic over the past month.
Online searches for fishing and how-to fish information have increased by over 300%, notes The Associated Press.
Searches for fishing licenses are at the highest point in four years. A recent Harris Poll showed 24% of people with children under 18 were thinking about fishing more during the coronavirus pandemic.
Vatalaro said that fishing helps people in many ways.
“It’s great for mental health, stress relief, connecting with your family, creating memories, but health and safety is No. 1.”
I’m John Russell.
John Marshall reported on this story for The Associated Press. John Russell adapted it for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor.
Words in This Story
cast – v. to throw (a fishing line or hook) into the water by using a fishing pole
manager – n. a supervisor or director
tangle – v. to become or cause (something) to become tied together
license – n. an official document, card, etc., that gives you permission to do, use, or have something
poll – n. short for opinion poll, a public opinion study
relief – n. an easing of pressure; calmness