Man, the sooner this year passes into the history books, the better. There hasn’t been a lot to enjoy, but there is a little good news on the home front. It’s National Fishing Week across Canada (July 4 to 12), and we have much to celebrate. Our COVID-19 case loads are down dramatically compared to many regions, demonstrating once again that when the chips are down, Canadians put aside petty politics, look out for each other and pull together. It has always been this way. But that doesn’t mean we can let down our collective guard. And what we’re going through has strained our mental well-being. So here is what The Doc prescribes: Go fishing!
“The Canadian National Sportfishing Foundation (CNSF) is encouraging Canadians to practise social distancing this summer by going fishing,” says my good friend Mike Melnik, Managing Director of the CNSF. “Fishing is a celebration of our tradition, an annual summertime event that is designed to help Canadians experience the thrill of this centuries-old pastime.”
Oh, boy, did Melnik hit the nail on the head with that one. And with almost one-quarter of all the freshwater found on earth, Canada has more lakes, rivers, streams and kilometres of ocean shoreline than almost anywhere else. So, fishing is the perfect outdoor activity in which to participate, and at the same time, practise social distancing.
“It has been proven that fishing has a positive impact on our mental wellness, which is crucial during this pandemic,” says Melnik. “Taken responsibly, fish are also an important local food source for countless Canadians. For these reasons, fishing is an essential pastime that we need to promote, foster and celebrate.”
Because we enjoy such an embarrassment of riches in Canada, Melnik points out that it’s easy for anglers to adhere to travel advisories and self-isolation requirements, especially when we fish close to home.
Only fish with members of your household or by yourself, says Melnik, and adhere to restrictions on the number of people who can gather at any one time. Since outdoor businesses have also suffered during the pandemic, Melnik says you should also consider supporting your favourite outdoor retailer, tour company or tackle shop by purchasing a gift card, or ordering tackle online.
And on that note, do I have a deal for you!
To help celebrate National Fishing Week, I’m going to give away three gorgeous Shakespeare rod/reel/line combos to three lucky folks reading this blog. Here’s what I want you to do to enter: Because most of us haven’t had a chance to get a haircut yet, you can enter by posting your favourite image of you, or a family member, fishing with “quarantine hair.”
Alternatively, like all Canadians, I’ve been nothing but amazed by the work of our first responders and essential service workers. So if you know someone, perhaps a family member, friend or neighbour who has put his or her life on the line for the rest of us, tell me why they are deserving of one of the rod/reel/line combinations.
You can post your images and/or comments on my Facebook page, and you will be automatically entered into the draws that I will make on Monday, July 13. Good luck and good fishing!