What goes around comes around. A jingle for our times. A rapidly spreading virus and now another lockdown, the second that has stopped fishing. I’ve been getting my hands dirty and looked at fishermen’s reaction on Fakebook and some fishing forums. As a very rough estimate, I would say the number in favour of the lockdown is about 1 in 30. Could be an even smaller ratio.
The majority of responses are as predictable as they are thoughtless. Anglers fish on their own mostly, the argument goes, so there is no reason why we shouldn’t be allowed out on the bank. This of course ignores the potential mixing in getting there, stops at fuel stations, possible accidents and so on. But mainly the reason we must not go fishing is because an exemption for anglers would be expected for many other activities, and before you know it everyone will be out and about again, passing on Covid and bringing the hospitals to a state of collapse. Then again, angling has its share of crackpots who believe the virus is a hoax. Some of them have died already.
So who is to blame for the pandemic state we’re in? Clearly the government has to carry a big share of the can. The general bumbling at the start of last year, ill preparedness and indecision have contributed in large part. Otherwise it’s just the way pandemics work. This coronavirus is one that spreads easily through the mobile population, and more mixing means more rapid spread. Some people like to scapegoat others. On the forum for cane fetishists and schoolboy bullies, Traditionalfisherman, there are several vociferous voices that blame those who don’t follow the rules. Who these might be is never made clear — just some others. The irresponsible youths who go to mass parties are only a tiny proportion of the population. Most spreading is done by people going about their lives. And that includes anglers, especially those who think someone else is to blame. Such arrogance likely means they don’t follow the rules too closely themselves.
Those anglers who think they’re above the rules and intend to carry on fishing might like to consider the fines for transgression, from £200 up to £6400. Since most fishing is done on club waters, they may also want to think about their future club membership. For those sensible enough to comply, there is the prospect of vaccination before too long. Then the pandemic will finally start to recede.
Unfortunately there is no vaccine for stupidity.
The government is now allowing angling, provided that it is local, which is strictly defined as within the town or village or part of the city where you live. We can expect this to be withdrawn if anglers make longer journeys.