Good bye 2020:

Or Is It?

Happy New Year everyone!! It is time to get rid of the old and embrace the new. But what happens to the old and do we really get rid of it? How much do we want to rid ourselves of and how much do we want to keep? The slate for 2021 is clean in some ways, but 2020 wants to keep sneaking in still.

Last year was a crazy year. We started off on a high note with the fishing shows and expos and B.A.S.S. kicked off their season. Then the word Covid became something being talked about everywhere. By the time the Classic rolled around, it had started to really become reality. Some of the companies, especially those overseas, decided to not come here for the Classic. Things were changing fast. By the time the Classic was over, we were heading home and the anglers to the next event, the world really took a hit. Covid was real and fishing wasn’t immune to it. Events were canceled because of it. And then everything changed at home. Masks, stay at home, stores closed, shortages of cleaning supplies and toilet paper, all things that took on new meaning. Life as we knew it was now all in turmoil.
Things got worse, but slowly we started to get past the worst. Fishing tournaments started back up, but no crowds. Local tournaments went on, but you couldn’t stand together like normal. Some stores opened again, some restaurants opened and we could go sit down under guidelines, and slowly some things began to come back in stock at the stores. But life as we knew it was changed.

Fishing was one sport that seemed to be partially immune to the Covid. People could get outdoors, they could do family activities, go hiking and exploring, and they could fish together. The fishing supplies were flying off the shelves almost as fast as toilet paper. The sales of kayaks took off and so did small boats. The sporting goods stores could open as essential as they supplied goods to help feed people. But the guidelines limited how many could be in the store. Unless you were Walmart, they let everyone in. And lakes and ponds saw more families there. The Covid actually helped bring families closer.

But it also meant that fishing became difficult for some. I know it made it more difficult to fish with Snookie, as we both were looking out for our parents and didn’t want to bring it home to them. Trips that were planned had to be canceled. And because of it, I did get to talk with other anglers that were new to the ponds I visited. And the kids especially. I didn’t get to do special events that helped get kids outdoors, like Free Kids Fishing Days, but I did it one kid at a time. And with more free time, I was able to work on some special things, like making a fishing video for the Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge Wilna Unit. Hopefully it will help get families and kids fishing.

Fall came and some schools opened, some went virtual, and some did a mixture of both. We were told that a vaccine was coming, and also that the flu season was going to mean a jump in Covid related cases, and deaths. Sure enough, we started to rise in the number of cases and back we went to mandated masks and a curfew. And with it some events for 2021 took a hit.

The first was the BPT Redcrest Event. First, it was going to take place in the same place, but no Expo. Then it changed again to Texas. The fishing shows and Expos started to fall by the roadside as well. No Richmond Show, none in North Carolina, and The East Tennessee Show, all gone. The Bassmaster Classic was the latest to become victim of Covid. B.A.S.S. moved the Classic to the June Elite event and the June Elite Event to the March dates of the Classic.

Fall also meant cooler weather and with cooler weather, it meant I could get my brother to go fishing more. I got to do a lot of short trips and some longer ones with him to local ponds in my area. The cooler weather also meant Snookie was able to get out more too. Life seemed great at times, but it was still so different too. Sporting Goods started to arrive, but were gone just as quick. And while some areas got a good supply in, around me, the shelves still looked bare. I longed for this to end and life to be normal.
What am I glad for in 2020 that I am happy to bring into 2021? The fishing industry had a booming year, and I hope that the boom continues far into 2021. As I struggled with the loss of activities, I took the time to work on techniques that I struggled with or had never tried. What I learned from it is something I am happy to bring with me.

And some things I can’t wait to see in 2021. The return of smiles. Now some you still see, but usually they are hidden behind a mask. Lips are another thing. I wanna see who is giving me a raspberry. And so many friends, it’s difficult to get a group of them together. Some things we may have to wait until 2022 for, like fishing shows. I don’t see any way to have them sooner. I also can’t wait to see kids being able to go back to school. Virtual may work for some things, but education for K-12 is not one of them. Teachers may see that the student is logged in, but they may not see them (can’t require them to be on video) or know if they are actually listening. They could be watching TV or playing a game. It also doesn’t give the younger kids the interaction that helps them develop properly. Nor does virtual give us school plays so we can see the kids performing. I miss that part.

So here we are, just into 2021 and getting rid of the old and embracing the new. But what about 2020? Has it really left, or is it hanging on like a bad memory? What did you learn in 2020 that you will bring into the new year? And what are you looking forward to the most? Scroll down and leave me a reply, I want to hear them.


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