Fishing is one sport not canceled

By Sam Piatt

Looks like we’ll never know which men’s college basketball team would have been crowned National Champion for 2020.

“Cancellation” was the word the NCAA used in calling off the three-week tournament dubbed March Madness. The reason, of course, was because of the rapid spread of the coronavirus to nearly every corner of the globe. One way to contain it, officials say, is to avoid bringing together large crowds in tight places.

Fans of the Kentucky Wildcats and the Dayton Flyers, both of which appeared good enough to challenge the likes of Kansas, Gonzaga and Baylor for the title, were left to dream.

Aa well as followers of the Ohio State Buckeyes, at one point ranked near the top in the weekly AP poll and who were good enough to hang a loss on Kentucky in the early going.

The Buckeyes faltered, dropped out of the top 25, but appeared to be peaking as they worked their way back up to 19th place.

Other sports events canceled were in hokey, soccer, tennis, car racing, golf …

“Postponed” was the word used for the Major League baseball schedule, and for the Masters in Augusta, where the blooms on the azaleas will have dropped to the ground by the time defending champ Tiger Woods gets to tee off.


Ah, but the one sport – while praying for those who are stricken with the virus or might come down with it – that can help us to forget all our problems has been neither canceled nor postponed.

You know the one we’re talking about – the one of which the English writer, Izaak Walton (1593-1683) in his book, “The Complete Angler,” wrote:

“We may say of angling as Dr. Boteler said of strawberries: ‘Doubtless God could have made a better berry, but doubtless God never did’; and so, if I might be judge, God never did make a more calm, quiet, innocent recreation than angling.”

Fishing is not a spectator sport. Just you and the water and the sky and he wooded shoreline.

Unless, of course, we’re looking at the events held by the pro bass anglers. A crowd usually gathers in the stands for the weigh-ins of the tournaments sponsored by B.A.S.S. (Bassmasters) at some of the big venues around the nation – such as Lake St. Claire, Santee Cooper, the St. John’s River, Guntersville, Eufaula and Chickamauga lakes.

The first tourney – the Bassmasters Elite – is scheduled for April 2 on Lake Eufaula. There is no mention of cancelation of any of the qualifying tournaments leading up to the three-day Bassmasters Classic in June. Perhaps the organization is just lax in updating its web site. And maybe the events will go on with no fans in the stands.


Mr. Walton never mastered the art of fly rodding. He was more of a live bait fisherman. One of his favorite baits for taking a lunker was the frog. He included instructions:

“ Thus use your frog…Put your hook through his mouth, and out at his gills;…and then with a fine needle and silk sew the upper part of his leg, with only one stitch, to the arming-wire of your hook; or tie the frog’s leg, above the upper joint, to the armed-wire; and in so doing use him as though you loved him.”


Perhaps, with no games to go to and no TV sports coverage, we might witness an up swing in such family outdoor sports as hiking and tent and motorhome camping.

One good thing is that gasoline prices are low enough to make travel not a problem. Those falling gas prices may wind up a concern of a fallen economy.

But the economy, in President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency, takes second place to a sickness called coronavirus.

By Sam Piatt

Reach G. Sam Piatt at [email protected] or (606) 932-3619.

Reach G. Sam Piatt at [email protected] or (606) 932-3619.