A benefit of Covid; By John Martino

A benefit of Covid By: John Martino Winter was in its waning stage and spring was only weeks away. People were ready to begin enjoying summer activities. Then a bomb was dropped. The whole world came to a stop by something only visible under a microscope. Thousands became sick and many died. Some became prisoners in their own home. But, believe it or not, there was a benefit of covid. It forced many to enjoy outdoor activities that under normal circumstances, may not have. One of the biggest increases was in the traditional activity of fishing and paddling our area’s streams and rivers. “Business was outstanding during the pandemic,” said Jason Kiser, one of the owners of Kokomo’s Soremouth Tackle. “We had many people come in who had never been fishing before.” John and Tina Foust, owners of Woody’s Camp and Bait, located at the Mississinewa Spillway, echoed those same sentiments. “We saw so many new faces come in during the pandemic it was unreal,” said Tina. “We experienced one of our busiest times since we opened the store back in 1992. There were so many people coming in buying fishing equipment and asking for advice.” More people took up the sport as a way to get outdoors while everything else was closed or shuttered. After what seemed like becoming prisoners in their homes, they realized it was a way to take in beautiful scenery, enjoying a wholesome activity while still maintaining proper social distancing. Sarah and Matt Majesky along with their two teenage children took up kayaking for the first time. “We just couldn’t take it anymore and knew we needed to take up a different activity for everyone’s benefit,” said Sarah. The Majesky’s originally thought about camping, “but we couldn’t even do that because all the campgrounds were closed,” Sarah added. “So we ended up buying two kayaks and borrowed a couple more from some friends.” The family began floating local streams at least once a week, starting with the Wildcat then moving on to the White and Eel Rivers. “I can’t tell you the fun we had,” added Matt. “To be honest I kept kicking myself for not doing this earlier in life.” Another family who took up outdoor activities was Jenna and Paul Hunt and their two children. Although Paul had fished as a child, it had been years since he felt a rod and reel in his hands. Like others, it was the important responsibilities created by life that took him away from our angling opportunities. “Priorities in life, like making a career, keeping up with our house and raising children consumed our time,” he explained. After spending weeks on end in or around the house the Hunts felt themselves becoming stagnant. “The kids were becoming increasingly restless and bored,” Jenna explained. “And irritable,” chided Paul.” That’s when he rummaged through their attic finding several old rods and reels. He cleaned them up, purchased a couple more along with a small amount of terminal tackle and live bait. “The first time we went out we all caught several small bluegills and one catfish,” he explained. “I’d have to say that was the best days we’ve have had as a family, not just during the pandemic, but since the kids were born.” The sales of Indiana fishing licenses prove many took up fishing. Indiana saw nearly a 13 percent increase in license sales. That’s pretty impressive considering under normal circumstances licenses expire March 31 but due to the pandemic they were extended until the end of June. There is no doubt the corona virus will change our lives forever, much like 911 did. But remember no matter what life throws at us, even though stores, sporting events and other activities may be cancelled our natural resources are always open for business! Kokomo Reservoir Monday evening tourney Eric Kinney and Chance Taskey reeled in first place at last Monday evening’s Kokomo Reservoir open team bass tourney, with five fish totaling 8.65 pounds. John Sabatini and Aaron Hochstedler snagged second and “big bass” honors with five fish weighing 8.24 pounds. Their largest tipped the scales at 3.74 pounds. Brad Parsons and Ken Waisner rounded out third place with five fish dropping the scales at 8.09 pounds. Delphi-Delco Mike and Shane Harrison came away with first place at last Tuesday’s Delphi-Delco team bass tourney, staged on Mississinewa Reservoir, with two fish totaling two pounds, 14 ounces. Second place went to Paul Crow with one fish tipping the scales at one pound, seven ounces.