Saturday, April 4, 2020

It Will Not be Business as Usual

The stripers should be along the RI south shore in a couple of weeks, but will the fishermen be there? At this point, things are not looking good.  Most of the oceanfront is shut down and locked up.  Every state park, every state campground, every state beach parking lot, some town beaches and a lot of on street parking has been closed down.  Here is just a partial list from the state DEM of the closed areas.  The list keeps growing by the day.  You can technically walk in and fish the oceanfront, but you have to keep the social distances.  But, at this point, nearly all the parking is shut down.  If you do want to fish, you will have to get creative on how to get into certain spots. And, surely if a lot of fishermen congregate in certain areas, those places will be shut down.
Keep in mind, too, the state of RI has been very aggressive toward out-of-staters. I know a lot of fishermen come from out of state to fish the RI oceanfront in the spring. By order of the Governor, any out-of-staters should quarantine for 14 days upon entering RI.  Just this week, three golfers from MA came into RI to play golf and were stopped by the police and cited. There have been other instances where local police and the national Guard have been checking out of state cars parked in south county and knocking on doors to check on occupants. It's not good.
Much of the Bay is affected just like the oceanfront so no better there. As for boaters who might want to try the Bay, a lot of the state ramps that are in state parks are also closed.  I have no idea about private ramps and marinas.
As you all know, these are unusual and difficult times, and most of us see fishing as a means to relax and put the problems of the world behind us. I'm not sure we will have that option in many places.  Certainly, this spring will not be business as usual.