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Fishing is a safe way to get out of the house

Guy Stegall knows how important social distancing and self-isolation is as people around the world try to fight the spread of COVID-19.

The situation leaves families spending more time together at home, but over time an itch to get outside has to be scratched and that’s where fishing comes in.

“The weather is really great and when you keep people inside the house they get cabin fever. You have to do something to keep from going crazy,” Stegall said.

Stegall and other fishing enthusiasts are no longer taking part in tournaments as a safety precaution due to the pandemic.

However, that doesn’t mean he’s stopped fishing.

All over the county anglers have been setting up shop with increasing numbers.

Stegall said it gives families the opportunity to spend quality time together during this pandemic with fishing as the main vessel of conversation.

“You’re going to see a lot of families get closer together and have more time together. They’re getting to visit with kids and it’s just bringing people together,” Stegall said.

The accessibility of fishing is another aspect that can draw in new anglers.

A cheap rod isn’t hard to come by and there are plenty of bodies of water accessible even to those who don’t own a boat.

Stegall said the ease in which people can start fishing, or pick it back up again, is what’s leading to so many community members going fishing.

“Anybody can do it, it’s not (restricted) to just an athlete. Even if you don’t catch anything it doesn’t matter, just being out there is the biggest part of it,” Stegall said.

There are several lessons to be learned from fishing, whether competitively or as a hobby.

Anglers are able to grow and progress while fishing, which Stegall said is appealing.

Stegall would take part in fishing tournaments for young anglers and would use that time as a way to start meaningful conversations.

No matter the situation fishing can provide insight into other people’s lives.

“Even when we were all fishing together and doing tournaments, I was fishing with two kids and I was with them for eight hours. Life lessons can be taught in eight hours,” Stegall said.

Stegall said it’s possible to connect with other anglers while still maintaining safe health practices.

Group fishing has essentially ended, but Stegall said parents should use this opportunity to spend time with their children. “You can talk about all kinds of things. When you gain a kid’s confidence they’re liable to come out and tell you stuff you really do need to know. It’s a great tool to get into peoples’ heads,” Stegall said.