Payson pro angler Clifford Pirch was eager to get back into competition after he failed to qualify for the final day in the Bassmaster Classic in Alabama on March 6-8.
He planned to participate in the Bassmaster Elite at Chickamauga Lake in Tennessee this past week. However, like pretty much every other sport across the country and world, that tournament was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m disappointed that we don’t get to go to Chickamauga during prime time spring fishing but I understand the call,” Pirch said. “It’s just not reasonable for 86 competitors to be away from their families right now with all this going on.
“The nice thing about our sport is that fishing is still a great thing to be doing right now but with all it involves with restaurants, motels and traveling it’s just not a good time to be on the road.”
Many people must change their habits with the recommendation to stay at least six feet from others, wash your hands often and disinfect surfaces, among other things. But it isn’t anything new for Pirch.
“I’m a germaphobe to begin with because I get sick so severely when I catch things,” he said. “So getting gas using hand sanitizer, Clorox wiping motel rooms or rental houses and keeping a safe distance is pretty normal for me. It’s the folks that don’t normally pay attention to that stuff that are having to do things a little differently.”
Many believe the crisis will wane in the warmer months, although experts predict it could return again in the fall.
“Hopefully this will pass soon as the weather warms but it’s really going to have a big impact on all kinds of folks and the way they make their living,” Pirch said. “We’ll all feel the impact in some way and at some point unfortunately.
“The up side is that folks are getting a chance to slow down and remember the things that are important. But this is no doubt a real serious situation with serious consequences.”
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