Greetings FishTalk readers, I hope each and every one of you is moving through our unexpectedly changed COVID-19 world thinking about rods in your hands and fish in the fryers… somehow or other. Yeah, there’s been a lot of depressing news out there, but the good news is that fishing remains an excellent way for us all to stay sane – now more than ever. Another bright spot: as we’ve been searching for ways to fish in this brave new world, people have made some very cool angling discoveries. Here at FishTalk we’ve received a number of emails from readers who innovated their way to unexpected fishing opportunities and in some cases full coolers, which we figured would be great to share with the wider angling world.

anglers with catfish caught during covid-19 emergency
Cheddar cheese, anyone? Turns out it's an excellent bait for COVID-19 fishing.
  • Prior to any stay-at-home orders one FishTalk reader named Paul wanted to take his kids out for some action, but didn’t want to expose himself to a store for supplies. Instead, the family did some old-school bait collection (in other words they dug up some worms in the backyard), and grabbed an old bag of FishBites out of the closet. The innovation came when, casting from the shores of the Patuxent, the worms and the Fishbites went ignored. They decided to place a chunk of cheddar cheese on a hook, and lo and behold, a catfish grabbed the cheese. Then another, and another, and another. Turns out, cheddar cheese is an excellent catfish bait. In fact, they caught a half-dozen-plus nice cats on the cheese while the other baits went ignored. Cheddar cheese… who knew?
  • Our intrepid contributor Eric Packard spent several days in mid-March snakehead fishing in the ponds at Calvert Cliffs. After numerous tangles and break-offs, he was due for gear resupply. But rather than take the road usually travelled he donned his chest waders, and walked out into the water where he could inspect the tree stumps and weed clumps within casting distance of the shore. After a little hunting and gathering, he re-stocked his tacklebox with a take of four frogs (three greenies and a white) plus two bobbers. Shortly thereafter, he nabbed a 23.5-inch snake with one of his “new” lures.
  • Through much of March a number of people living in Annapolis opted to socially distance by kayak fishing. But with the economy taking a nosedive, long trips to different fishing haunts didn’t seem in order. The solution? Try fishing right in the Severn, in the shadow of the city, which few people would normally attempt during this month. The results? Some that we can confirm include two 40-plus-inch and three 30-ish inch stripers, caught and gently released back into the river from whence they came.
angler collected lures
Intrepid angler Eric Packard restocked his tacklebox by donning his waders, then caught this nice snakehead.

On top of stories like these, we’ve heard from countless folks who have their fishing boats on a trailer at home, and jumped into major renovation and/or boat improvement projects that they just never seemed to have the time for. We’ve heard from anglers who broke out that long-unused vise, and tied up a year’s supply of flies or bucktails. And we’ve heard from people who took advantage of the extra time by reading all the back issues of FishTalk online, where each and every page we’ve ever printed can be viewed in the “Flipbook” format. (Just click on the current cover, and then scroll down to see previous editions).

We think it’s safe to say that everyone out there agrees that this situation we’ve suddenly found our communal selves in stinks. It stinks to high heck in about 1000 different ways. And we know it’s both impossible and inappropriate to put on a happy face about it. But when things happen that are completely beyond our control, all any of us can do is try to roll with the punches. So whatever the future may bring, at least we can face it with some new fishing tactics, a rejuvenated fishing boat, or a fresh crop of homemade lures. Because come what may, one thing is for sure: we will never stop fishing. Period.