With 2020 finally in the rear-view window, we’re looking ahead to try and get an idea of what challenges are in our immediate future, what bummers we can move past, and what we know for sure will or will not be a part of our outdoor picture in the upcoming year.
Here are a couple key items we do know:
Per the San Diego Anglers (club), the annual 2021 Open Bay Bass Tournament will not be held in 2021 due to Covid restrictions. Typically held in January, the popular event is perfectly timed during an overall-sluggish time to be on the water – especially during the rockfish closure – and it serves as a solid kickoff to each new year outdoors and shortening the wait for show season. It’s been canceled several times in recent years both for conditions and delays in completing the remodel of key launch ramps, so when it returns (hopefully in 2022) it will be a great one.
Speaking of show season, while every effort is being made, no 2021 Fred Hall Shows shows are scheduled at this time. In 2020, the Long Beach Show was able to go off as planned just before things shut down, but Del Mar ultimately had to be canceled. The City of Long Beach is not issuing permits for such events right now, and Mike Lum, General Manager of the Fred Hall Shows for nearly two decades has resigned from the company while the remaining Fred Hall Show staff consisting of Bart Hall, Katie Hall and Tim Baker have all been furloughed.
As of right now, Day at the Docks is slated for April 18 from 9 to 5 at the sportfishing landings in Point Loma. This free waterfront festival featuring tackle, demos, seminars, entertainment, boat rides, kids fishing and contests has been going on for over four decades, and along with the Fred Hall Shows has always stood as a kickoff to SoCal’s salt season.
WON actually added more events in 2020 and 2021 to its schedule, and we have an advantage this time around with the ability to get out ahead of safety issues well ahead of time. Proactive in 2021 instead of reactive like 2020. The WON charter schedule is also already well populated with locked-in trips and plenty of room to add more. Those are both check out-able at WONews.com.
As for the question marks, there may be too many to list here, but to touch on a couple…
It doesn’t seem as if West Coast sport boats are going to be forcibly tied to the docks at a level even close to what went down last spring, so that’s good. Anglers and crew alike are absolutely continuing to wear masks, practice social distancing on deck and follow Covid protocol. While the boats can at least run while practicing those safety measures, the bigger concern is how long will they have to operate with such light loads. Forced limited loads across the board might be a short-term benefit for a passenger, but the fleet as a whole needs to get back to being able to sell more tickets.
The Eastern Sierra general trout opener lands on the last Saturday of April, but it was pushed back in 2020 and there’s no guarantee it will go off without a hitch in 2021. It certainly wouldn’t happen on time if things are then they way they are now, but just with just under five months between now and then, we’re going to go out on a limb and act as if it will open as scheduled.
Yes, there are still a lot of question marks on deck, but we’re going to go out on a limb and say 2021 will absolutely be better.