Corona virus leaves nothing untouched – even bass tournaments

Following the Bassmaster Classic tournament last week in Alabama, my wife Shelby and I headed east to South Carolina to spend a couple of days at Santee Copper Reservoir where I have a tournament scheduled for later in April. We have three Bassmaster Elite Series events booked over the next five weeks so my plan was to stay down south to fish the tournaments, do some fun fishing and take in a few tourist activities in between before heading home.
This past weekend we received word that our tournament this week at Lake Chickamauga in Tennessee would be postponed for the second time due the emerging Corona virus crisis. Shelby and I were at a remote lake in northern Georgia when we got the word so we enjoyed the rest of our day on the water and decided we would start heading home the following morning.
I spoke to several of my pals that I fish against on the Elite Series and we are all disappointed that we don’t get to fish but we get it. There isn’t much we can do. While we are on the water for the most part fishing, there are hundreds of people involved in making our events happen, from Bassmaster staff, to media people following the events, camera people who document our fishing, families of the staff and anglers and then there are large numbers of fans that come out for the events, to see the anglers and the weigh-ins. It’s not worth it for anybody to get sick because they want to be in a fishing tournament.
We have no idea what our schedule is going to look like in the coming weeks and even months. Our next event is supposed to happen in three weeks in Alabama but I think it’s safe to say that things are probably not going to get a lot better in that amount of time. It’s not convenient because we are likely going to have to make these events up later in the year so there are travel considerations. For me, if I’m not fishing tournaments which are my main source of income, I feel that as well.
At Chickamauga I was planning to stay at fellow Elite Series angler Carl Jocumsen’s place so I was not out anything on a cancelled reservation but for the next couple of tournaments we have houses rented for the week of the event. Sometimes these people will refund the payments, sometimes they don’t. If events are rescheduled, it will almost certainly mess with my schedule over the summer where I have plans to fish some tournaments and host some guide trips around home.
Across the fishing industry, many of the boat shows and fishing shows that are popular this time of year are being cancelled. I had a seminar event cancelled that I was supposed to do in Toronto later in March. Basically any event that intends to attract a crowd of people is being cancelled.
As I write this, I’m on my way home to Canada, avoiding any stops unless necessary. I can’t wait to get back to Kenora and hide out. Hopefully as a society we find an answer to this crisis and get it under control soon. In the meantime you’ll probably find me out on the ice over the next couple of weeks so I’m looking forward to that. Stay safe everybody.